Let’s be honest: online advertisements already are and will continue to get more personalized in the future, whether we like it or not.
While certain smaller internet search engine players – such as DuckDuckGo – claim that their business model can rely purely on non-targeted ads, Google’s and Bing’s overwhelming financial success clearly outlines the direction of the market. The reason is simple: highly targeted advertising yields better results.
Google is happy and businesses are happy. However, individuals and governments are getting increasingly weary of extensive data collection and data mining practices. The GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), which came into effect in May of this year attempts at least giving the EU citizens some choice. However, one could claim this as a homeopathic remedy, as the problem cannot be solved by a simple lack of consent to personal data collection.
Instead, the real problem lies in adequate compensation for quality content found online.
As the end-users, this is where we find ourselves at the crossroads:
|No Compensation to
|Compensation to Content
The ‘no compensation to the Content Providers’ route is simple and very temporary. Whether we utilize open-source ad blockers such as uBlock Origin or ad-blocking browsers, such as Brave or Opera, the problem still persists: the Content Providers would like to be compensated for their efforts. If majority of Internet users were to switch to complete ad-blocking solutions, the businesses naturally will strive to survive – either by finding clever ways of circumventing ad blockers, pressing for legislative changes, or through pay-walling their content.
The ‘compensation to the Content Providers’ avenue gives the users and the businesses some room to work with. While not every Internet user can afford (or is willing) to fat-out pay for the content online, there is a middle ground for compromise.
- The Brave Browser came out in 2016 and since its first release it offers the possibility for the user to compensate the Content Provider through Brave Payments. The user adds some funds to their Wallet and Brave uses an anonymous ledger system to send some contributions to the Content Providers which you specify. Of course, everything is anonymous and controlled by the user. Details: https://brave.com/faq-payments/
- AdBlock Plus is an ad-blocker, as the name implies. However, AdBlock Plus allows some ads to be shown to the user, as long as the ads meet certain quality and privacy criteria. Details: https://adblockplus.org/acceptable-ads
- Donating through BitCoin (or any other crypto-currency) or allowing the Content Provider to utilize the user’s computer to mine for BitCoin while the user enjoys the content is also a possibility.
The last option might not be the most common, however, it’s something worth considering as a compromise: BitCoin mining with a user’s consent. The inner workings are simple: certain scripts can be automatically executed within the user’s browser upon entering a website. These scripts can act as BitCoin miners and generate some minor crypto-currency revenue for the Content Provider while the user enjoys the content.
Out of the two avenues – ‘no compensation to Content Providers’ and ‘compensation to Content Providers’, the ladder definitely appears more sustainable. Whether the market embraces the second route, is essentially for us to decide.
There are several technologies and solutions mentioned in this text.
- uBlock Origin – the open-source, community-sourced and highly customizable ad blocker. At the moment, the goal of the project is to block all ads. Available as an extension for Chrome, Chromium, Firefox, SeaMonkey, PaleMoon and other browsers. Website: https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock#installation
- AdBlock Plus – general ad blocker and very similar to uBlock Origin, however, it allows certain ads to be displayed, as long as the ads meet a certain quality and privacy criteria. Available as an extension for Chrome, Chromium, Firefox and other browsers. Website: https://adblockplus.org
- Brave Browser – based on Chromium with additional features. Allows the user to compensate Content Providers through Brave Payments. Works on Windows, Mac, Linux and Android. Website: https://brave.com/
- Opera Browser – one of the oldest browsers still in development. Numerous features built-in and one of the first browsers to offer ad blocking built-in. Website: https://opera.com/
This text mentions browser-based BitCoin mining with the user’s consent. However, if you are concerned about your computer being utilized for BitCoin mining without your consent, consider the NoCoin extension, available for Chrome, Chromium, Firefox, Opera and other modern browsers. Website: https://github.com/keraf/NoCoin