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Advertising The Almighty Buck The Internet United Kingdom

Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year 611

Several readers sent word of research into the cost of internet content without ads. They looked at the amount of money spent on internet advertising last year in the U.K., and compared it to the number of U.K. internet users. On average, each user would have to pay about £140 ($230) to make up for the lost revenue of an ad-free internet. In a survey, 98% of consumers said they wouldn't be willing to pay that much for the ability to browse without advertisements. However, while most consumers regard ads as a necessary trade-off to keep the internet free, they will go to great lengths to avoid advertising they do not wish to see. Of those surveyed, 63 per cent said they skip online video ads 'as quickly as possible' – a figure that rises to 75 per cent for 16-24 year olds. Over a quarter of all respondents said they mute their sound and one in five scroll away from the video. 16 per cent use ad blocking software and 16 per cent open a new browser window or tab.
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Study: Ad-Free Internet Would Cost Everyone $230-a-Year

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  • That's it? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by peragrin ( 659227 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:33AM (#47719771)

    Considering that cable modems are $50 a month for capped services. Another 30% higher is nothing.

    Considering that more viruses are transmitted by ads now than on their own it gets even scarier. Adblock and no script do more to keep viruses out of your stuff than antivirus.

  • missing the point (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:35AM (#47719801)

    A large portion of that ad revenue is going to sites that don't really provide any kind of value, but are spammy SEO deals. The best part of an internet with no advertising revenue (or at least a lot less of it) would be precisely that all these content farms would not be able to replace that revenue, and would hopefully go away.

  • by Dorianny ( 1847922 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:41AM (#47719879) Journal
    Perhaps the internet reverting to a state where there were less grumpy cat videos, or viral ice bucket challenges, wouldn't be such a terrible thing.
  • Re:$230 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim the Gecko ( 745081 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:44AM (#47719895)

    ...OK...where do I sign up?

    You can sign up for our flat rate Gold Plan at $1000, or the Silver Plan where we will nickel and dime you until you pay $2010 per year, or the Bronze Plan where you will get some carefully selected ads in return for a lower fee of $500.

    This service brought to you by your trustworthy ISP.

    Notes: (1) You may occasionally see ads, (2) Ads you don't see will still count against your bandwidth cap, (3) We hate you.

  • by JustinOpinion ( 1246824 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:49AM (#47719933)
    Actually, I would be entirely happy to pay $230/year for ad-free Internet; meaning that I would continue to have access to all the sites that I want, but those sites would be directly supported by my yearly subscription, and so they wouldn't need to display ads or be otherwise beholden to advertisers. I'm sure a great many people would be willing to do so.

    The problem is that such a state of affairs is impossible. If people actually started paying for subscriptions, the ads would disappear only temporarily. Eventually companies would realize "Sure, they're paying subscription fees, but if I just put a little unobtrusive link to 'related products' in the sidebar, no on will complain. And, yeah, sure, I'll get a little extra money on the side for displaying links to specific (paying) partners..." Soon enough, the ads are back (in some form or other), and we're now paying for the content twice. (We've seen this happen many times before; e.g. subscription cable-TV was supposed to be ad-free. More recently I've noticed that digital downloads from iTunes or Google Play have ads for other shows added to the beginning.) Moreover, oftentimes 'ad-free' really just means the ads are less obvious but more insidious (product placement, 'trusted' reviewers being bribed to give positive reviews, etc.).

    The simple fact is that we cannot ever trust companies to actually honor the social contract of subscription models. Since they cannot stick to the rules, the only option is for end-users endure the constant ads, since at least in this case we don't have to pay subscription costs.
  • Stealing attention (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SirDrinksAlot ( 226001 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:51AM (#47719953) Journal

    My biggest problem with ads is they are designed to steal your attention from the content. I've mentioned this numerous times whenever a website starts crying about Adblocking. If you want me to read your content, don't put full motion video ads on the side right next to the content I'm trying to read. Don't make 2/3rds of the page giant clickable area to redirect me to your sponsor. I'm not visiting your site to see the ads, I'm there for the content that you put so much work into. Ads are typically designed to steal your attention and be obtrusive. Slashdot's ads are pretty much safe, even though I even have the option to disable ads here.

    I don't recall who it was but one big site posted a editorial on why they think Adblock is bullshit. It was the same day they had full page sponsorship and basically clicking anywhere that had empty space would direct you to that sponsor and they had every kind of obnoxious ad possible on the site at the same time. If everybody was sensible about ads then I wouldn't use an adblock, I do have the option enabled to allow unobtrusive ads so at least I'm not that big of a dirtbag.

    Basically the internet is turning into Idiocracy more and more every day. Animated ads all around and some times with in the content you're trying to read. NOW GO AWAY IM BAITIN.

  • I'd pay it but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmh@gma i l .com> on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:51AM (#47719957) Journal

    Even if you had the option to pay this, there would still be ads, because greed cannot be satisfied. See: cable TV.

  • Re:That's it? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudson@gmai l . c om> on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:58AM (#47720035) Journal
    Even worse, how is the money distributed? Who determines the "worth" of a web site or other online resource, and then allocates them their cut?

    The current free-market system with sites supported by ads isn't perfect, but it's like democracy - Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."

  • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:58AM (#47720041) Homepage
    Quite. Also, even when a site is using ads there are usually alternatives that provide similar content for free. If we were able to wave a wand and magically remove all advertising companies from the Internet (or better still, existance in general), I suspect most ad-funded sites would try and transition to Tip Jars or subscriptions, the browsing public would re-distribute to different sites, and a number of sites would ultimately fold, including most of the ad-laden SEO landing pages. No actual content of value would be lost (although some might only continue to exist in the Wayback Machine) and life would go on, only without the ads and malware attack vectors that piggyback on it.

    Where do I sign up?
  • Ads not needed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmyers ( 208878 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @09:58AM (#47720043)

    People already pay for their internet connection, bandwith, web hosting, etc. Maybe the Telegraph could not exist on the web without ads, but that does not mean the internet could not exist. This person seems to belive that the internet exists only because of commercial content producers.

  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @10:01AM (#47720069)

    it's the surveillance I don't like. In theory this surveillance is supposed to get me relevant ads but it just creeps me out with it's persistence. I don't really need relevant ads ever. What I actually like is being exposed to lots of different ads. It gives me a sense of what the world is up to in a way. SO I don't mind the ads. It's not like TV ads that I have to wait through. they are just off to the side. What I don't want therefore is the surveillance. it has negative value to me. I don't want targeted ads.

    If I could be sure I could be surveillance free I'd pay $230. But I don't see how that is possible. How would I know? where does one draw the line-- things like cookies for sessions and autologin on returning to a site and resuming my netflix movie where I left off are useful. What about amazon auto suggest? I once bought a book on amazon about sexual practices in different cultures and for months I had autosuggests for dildos and some amazingly raunchy bondage movies that I had no idea amazon carried. My sense of embarrassment prevented me from using amazon when other people were in the room. I think however this is not really the surveillance I am worried about. I can easily not use amazon and certainly in the future I always now check the "people who bought this also bought..." before I purchase some item that will trigger things I don't want it suggesting to me. SO that's containable.

    But that experience makes me wonder what that little search did for my google profile. Am I now pegged as a dog fucker on google because the key terms I used for a scholarly search had other meanings? I know that google pricks up it's ears when a search leads down a path to a purchase.

    You might ask why do I care. I just do, and that's normal. were trained in caring about appearances when were on the playground.

  • by freak0fnature ( 1838248 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @10:13AM (#47720205)
    I remember when Cable TV was ad free because I paid extra for 25-30% of a shows time is dedicated to advertisements, and I get to pay to watch them.
  • sure it would (Score:4, Insightful)

    by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @10:18AM (#47720249)

    Yea, all of the spam would just go away. And I wouldn't have any more spam show up in my email, right?

    And all of that drive-by malware installing stuff would just go away and people would start being ice to each other, right?

    Of course, all of our interactivity would still be there. And we could still have e-comerce on the web, we could still use sites like Amazon rather than having to drive miles to get to a limited selection and pay higher prices at a local "friendly" bookstore. But somehow there would be no advertising. And people would just automatically know where all of the new e-comerce sites were. And there would be no one who wanted to steal your identity and your credit card info and drain your bank account. And best of all, no one would ever see a bunch of fools saying "ad free Internet for $230 a year sounds good to me, where do I sign up?" and try to take advantage of that.

    We don't even have ad-free PBS television any more, but some people want to believe they could get ad-free Internet so much that they would OK an additional yearly charge?


    You're not going to get ad-free Internet. But if you really care about it at all you can get greatly ad-reduced Internet. And it doesn't involve a yearly fee, just a small expenditure of effort. Block the major ad sources in your Hosts file (or, even better for the more advanced user, set up a network wide block in your router). But be aware, this has the side effect of making your browsing a lot faster, since you cut out a lot of unwanted traffic.

  • Bring it on (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Thursday August 21, 2014 @10:27AM (#47720357) Homepage Journal

    Advertising is pissing on your brain through your eye sockets.

    Bring on the advertising-free web. The signal-to-noise ratio will improve tremendously.

  • Re:$230 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @10:34AM (#47720447)

    Its not the big bad ISPs who generally do the ads (though they do sometimes participate on the side with DNS shenanigans). Its the people making the content you like.

    Got a youtube channel you like with annoying ads? Dont blame the nasty corporations, blame the channel operator who chose what types of ads you received.

  • Re:$230 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GeekWithAKnife ( 2717871 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @11:19AM (#47720829)

    Are you kidding? $1000? $230??

    I just installed Adblock Edge. Fuck ads.

    I'll be willing to pay Adblock $5 a year for a 99% adfree experience & screw the lot of them.
  • Re:$230 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qpqp ( 1969898 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @11:29AM (#47720927)
    There's also []. Despite the name, it's actually quite decent, and the "related" non-boolean search lands on top.
  • Re:$230 (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 21, 2014 @11:29AM (#47720931)

    Every thing should be free for me! Fuck people wanting to make money for the content I use!

  • Re:$230 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moof123 ( 1292134 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @12:06PM (#47721239)

    How much stuff have you bought due to ads? Zero here. I usually get ads for places I just shopped at, which is really closing the barn door after the cows have left, and often results in me thinking twice about going there again.

    I'm convinced that ad based funding is a bubble waiting to pop. I would be very interested to see the analytics supporting the notion that people were clicking enough ads (or influenced by the ads) in Flappy Birds to support the 50k/day payout the author was getting (and that was just his cut).

    I pay for Hulu, and I wish there was a slightly higher cost ad free option.

    I'd also be open to paying $20/month for a completely ad free internet where the ISP's and content providers figured out some miraculous revenue sharing agreement (good luck with that).

    My problem with the current pay-wall route is that too many places have just a few articles I want to read occasionally, nut they want to do yearly subscriptions, which is a no-go for the amount of stuff I want.

    As a result I do ad-block, and also avoid a lot of sites. Mandatory video ads almost always makes me leave. I almost never watch anything on youtube anymore.

  • Re:$230 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gsslay ( 807818 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @12:16PM (#47721331)

    Why is your computer on and browsing, with the speakers on, in the middle of the night when you're not using it?

    If you're going to do this, you deserve all you get. Along with what it does to your bandwidth and electricity bill.

  • Re:$230 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nukenerd ( 172703 ) on Thursday August 21, 2014 @03:28PM (#47723155)

    I would be very interested to see the analytics supporting the notion that people were clicking enough ads

    Its trivial to track for a webmaster ... You can waste money on ads, but figuring out ... how well they are working and how much money you are making as a result of ad clickthroughs has been a solved problem

    I think that the GP in his post as a whole was talking about the wider picture, not just whether a Webmaster was making money by click-throughs. The wider picture is whether people actually buy stuff even if they do click through.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats