Recently Ars Technica did an experiment regarding web ads. The results were that ads are what keep web sites alive, and blocking the ads will destroy the sites.
Soon after, several Mozilla developers did posts on why they block ads. The universal reason is that the ads suck. The purpose of an ad is to make you want what they’re selling. Most ads on the web fail at that.
Near the front of every National Geographic Magazine is a full page ad for Canon cameras. I look for it every month. Not just look at it, actively hunt it down and READ it. It’s called Life As Canon Sees It, and it’s a photo of an animal, and it lists nerdy trivia about the animal and where it lives. I also know that Canon is cool, and I’m tell you about it. That ad works.
What if web ads were the same way? What if the ads were really cool? Stuff I wanted to see and read. I’m not sure what that stuff is, but someday someone’s going to find it, and become rich.
I was thinking just now about it, and I’d be interested in reading well done infomercials, or paid reviews. For example, if there were a restaurant I didn’t know much about, but wanted to, I’d read a full page review about it, even if that review started out with “this is a paid advertisement”. If the article doesn’t suck, I’m in.
Ars says ads are the only way for the web to survive. I’m saying that ads as they exist today are killing the web. Better ads are the only way for ads to survive.