Alternatives to Ads and Why They Wouldn't Work

Alternatives to Ads and Why They Wouldn't Work

9 Jan, 2016. | By: AceLewis

I wrote a blog post on “The Ethics of Adblock” stating that online Advertisements are a necessity to have free content however in this post I will explore the alternatives and explain my thoughts on why they will not work to monetize content on many websites.

Some people justify the use of Adblock my stating that it is an outdated business model and that websites should use other models to monetize their content, although other monetization techniques exist and can be used some websites they are not viable for most internet content. Here are a few of the biggest ideas to have an advertisement free internet.

The Extra Fee

I have heard from many people that an add free internet by having an extra fee to your ISP you pay on top of your usual internet, this may make sense at first as you already pay for a connection to the internet so you could just pay some more to remove the ads and then content creators also get paid by your extra fee, however it would never work. Firstly what should people be paid for? Page views? Content? Percentage of data traffic? Watch time? and how will your ISP know how much to give each person / company. Would your ISP have to track every website you visit (that’s if they don’t already) if so how would they know the origin of the traffic? Websites can be embedded on webpages in iFrames without you knowing and you can load that website. Not to mention how your ISP is going to pay everyone around the world. Every company, blog, from big to small would try to fight over who gets a cut and how much of a cut they should get, and to add to that you have to trust your ISP to hand out the money at all and not take bribes to give some people bigger cuts. Also it is expected that an internet user in the UK generate £140 in ad revenue a year so the fee would have to be over £10 a month.

Crowd Source/Tip Jar

One method that is a little more viable than the “Extra Fee” method is the use of crowd sourcing and electronic tip jars. Crowd sourcing is becoming more common on YouTube many content creators are using Patreon a service that allows people to pay their favorite channels either per video or per month, in exchange the user can get extra perks ranging from getting the videos a week early which is very common to having the YouTuber’s phone number so you can call them. Many big YouTube channels use it SciShow, Veritasium, In a Nutshell – Kurzgesagt, Threat Wire (by Hak5) and loads more. It allows niche fanbases to support their content creators and does work out very well for some channels that use it, it tends to work best for channels where the content creator and the content viewer have a connection and does not work well for channels that are disconnected from their fan base.

The problem with this being the replacement to advertising is it would be the only form of monetization available, this form of monetization is not as good for channels that are disconnected from their fanbase and does not work well for channels that don’t have fanbases. Although some channels don’t have fans that does not mean they should not exist or monetize their content, helpful videos showing how to fix your specific laptop are brilliant however you would not subscribe to the channel as only that video is relevant for you and other ones would not be, the main point is not all content can be monetized in this way.


The other option is to paywall the content for example sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, and iTunes. This option it not ideal as people would be paying a considerable amount when you add up all the websites you use from news and sports to blogs and small websites. Paywalls are only good currently for media we are used to paying for like TV, Movies and Music. Nearly all websites can’t work with paywalls as it would be hard to get customers without advertising… and without online advertisements the only option would be costly TV ads. Many websites like newspapers and magazines fail when they implement paywalls, from big papers like The Sun to small papers like the Toronto Star.


Online advertisements may be the only viable way for many websites to monetize their content, and as I discussed in “The Ethics of Adblock” Adblock is rising to the point where it could be a big problem to the internet. I would like to know of any other ways we could have an advertisement free internet so if you have any ideas message me on Twitter, Reddit or leave a comment on this post.


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I am interested in Physics, Maths, Programming and also play a few games in my spare time. I have an interest in data and have made webscrapers to gather and process information, I am currently looking into nice ways to display information easily in infographics using Python. I can code in Matlab, Python and have also made a Steam trading bot in Node.JS.

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