Using Ad Blockers - Brought to you by a Podcast Lover

If you talk to me often, you know you'll hear this at some point during a discussion:  I was listening to this podcast and they were talking about how...

I'm taking this (possibly) annoying habit one step further and, am opening up a podcast discussion here in Nautie Mermate Land.  

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Yesterday, I was getting caught up on a podcast I love called Note To Self.  They were talking about how Apple gives the option to Ad Block with their most recent update.  You should really, really give it a listen.

Seems pretty straight forward right?  We hate it when we get pop ups.  Or when we have to stop to watch an ad before we can read an article.  Except, it's not that simple.  Publishers rely heavily on advertising revenue to stay afloat.  What do we do when these publishers go out of business?

We have to be prepared for small publishers to go out of business and large companies like Apple and Facebook swooping in to save the day.  We'll hear them saying, 'oh don't worry that your news isn't free anymore because Ads stopped paying the bills and Mr. Small Publisher had to close up shop - just head over to our News Service'.  Apple News.  Facebook News.

I realize this makes me sound like a conspiracy theorist but, I think anytime a free flow of information is jeopardized as a society we need to be worried.  We need to consider who is controlling the flow of information.  We need to consider the long term consequences of not being able to hear alternate view points.  

Last week I listened to a podcast by Planet Money - an ultimate favorite podcast.  It was about the concept of 'Free'.  How people rebel when things that used to be considered free now have a price attached.  The example they gave was how Veterans feel about the Red Cross.  Super Interesting!  Give it a listen!  NY Times online articles are another great example of this - you get ten articles a month for free and then they require a subscription - except we're used to getting news for free!

Where am I going with this?  The internet has always been 'free' - except it hasn't - it's been paid for by advertising.  How does Google make money?  Google is an advertising agency.  As per Wikipedia 96% of Google's revenue is from advertising.  

This poses an interesting ethical dilemma.  Should we stop allowing large companies to track our every move with cookies and bombard us with advertisements?  Even if it means death to the indie publication and the start-up?

Some of the App Developers who have created Ad Blockers have removed them from the App Store after having second thoughts.

I encourage you to read the original article by Casey Johnston which Manoush references on Note to Self.  

Most of you know that I love the internet.  I love it.  Being a sailor it has allowed me to stay connected in a way that has never before been an option.  When I was a cadet we lined up at payphone's (wait, what are those?!) on the dock.  I received snail mail!  Later, we had email that went through the Captain.  He'd print it out and put it on your door.  My last vessel had wifi.  I could iMessage!  Download podcasts!  Instagram!

I won't be installing Ad Blockers.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!