A web page was linked this evening from Snark. A web page that, for all intents and purposes is not only useless but absolutely bollocks. In fact, I would go so far as suggesting that it is the biggest load of shit I have read in a long time. I am not going to link to this web page, because by sending a few hundred hits its way it’s only giving it undeserved attention. However, I am hoping that I can give you the gist of it without even bothering.
Basically, this web page states that The Mozilla Foundation is supporting copyright theft by promoting the use of its popular extension, Ad Block. For those who don’t know, Ad Block does exactly that: it blocks advertisements. I don’t use it personally, but I do use NoScript which is quite effective in blocking adverts itself.
The argument is that by blocking the adverts which support the webmasters we are effectively creating a derivative, unlicensed work, and that the content is only available because of the adverts. This whining is then backed up by two other articles, one of which uses the example of television, where adverts are paid for to support the network.
Now, the problem I have with this logic is the fact that television is (apart from the obvious costs involved in purchasing the actual box) free. You do not pay to watch television supported by adverts, so therefore you don’t really have a great say on it. On the other hand, the BBC (certainly in the UK) is supported by an extortionate license fee which British citizens must pay. In exchange for this license fee we get advertisement-FREE viewing, and (supposedly) a greater input into the channels. Now, I pay for my Internet which is effectively like paying my license fee, so theoretically I should be entitled to choose not to see these ads.
By blocking the adverts, I am not removing the adverts from the pages in a permanent manner or stopping a webmaster from making a profit. In fact, my blocking of an advert is no different from me simply choosing not to click an advert… and the last time I checked this was still perfectly legal. In fact, I don’t ever click adverts, so it seems perfectly reasonable for me to simply block them as they are otherwise in my way.
The second article in the source is harping on about the lack of advertising damaging those who pay their bandwidth fees, bla bla bla, and yet is using the free Blogger software to power their blog. Apart from the minimal cost of a domain name what is their net outgoings? Probably zilch.
Anyway, back to the actual web page. The page states:
Demographics have shown that not only are FireFox users a somewhat small percentage of the internet, they actually are even smaller in terms of online spending, therefore blocking FireFox seems to have only minimal financial drawbacks, whereas ending resource theft has tremendous financial rewards for honest, hard-working website owners and developers..
While I will concede that Firefox does indeed have a smaller demographic, the supposed fact about Firefox users spending less (as well as not having any sources to back it up) is completely irrelevant to the matter at hand. What has spending got to do with advertisements? The chances are if I’m on a website to buy something, I’m going to be more concerned by making sure that my purchase is going through a secure server, that I’ve entered in my details correctly and so on.
Furthermore, I am a hard-working website owner and developer, and by blocking advertisements I am not affecting myself in the slightest. Nor is anyone else who chooses to block adverts and visit my website: because bandwidth is not that expensive and I don’t need to whore myself out for a bit of extra cash under the pretense of supporting my hobby. I can manage to continue developing my website and my free software (scripts) without any loss caused by the likes of Ad Block and I know I’m not alone. There are tons of people out there who offer software (both free and paid) that don’t have advertisements on their pages, and yet are still managing to support themselves. Mint (stats software), WordPress, etc. The way I see it is if you’re good enough to be out there, support will come from those who appreciate you most and not because of the advertising.
I’d be interested to know where this page stands in terms of libel and misleading accusations against the Mozilla Foundation/Corp. In the mean time I’ll continue to browse normally and if I come across sites redirecting me to this sad excuse of a web page, I certainly won’t be opening IE (which ironically comes with its own blocking tools/systems these days) to get around the block. If my business is not good enough for you in Firefox, my business is not good enough for you full stop.