How to have Less ads (and fund the Internet).

Adverts suck.

They make every user experience on the Internet worse. They’re also a vector for virus injection.

Users already hate them, as illustrated by the popular rise of ad blockers.

So — here’s a modest proposal for a new funding model for the web:

User’s opt in to an ad-free internet service, that costs X per month. Let’s say $20.

Websites that support that service remove ads when users of that service use their site. In return, they receive a slice of that X per month.

Website providers get micro transactions per view; User’s get Ad-free websites.

Win/win, right?

Like the idea? Google are already trialling the concept here, for some sites running Google Ads.

Truth is, though — it’s bigger than Google. It could be used for funding websites, anywhere — including those that aren’t traditionally ad supported — such as Wikipedia, and even your auntie’s blog.

My spin on the concept? Use it to encourage quality content.

Reward stickiness. Rather than make it hit based, which encourages bad UX — make it into a time-spent based thing, instead.

Also, weight the payments by individual user rating — from 1/2 a star through to 5 star, so the users can reward perceived high quality sites and incentivize lower quality sites to improve.

There would need to be some significant buzz to get websites on board. Proposing HTML tags for Adverts (and opting out of them) might do it:

<advert optout=’adfree.com/authenticate’><img src=’./allthethings.jpg’></advert>

Get the browser to check to see if the user is authenticated for one of the current optout services (returns true or false). If so, remove the advert from the Dom, and send the optout service time spent info and the user’s current rating for the site on page exit.

And then, sites can choose to opt in to the no advert service, and serve ads for those they don’t support.

Alternatively — create a monolithic non-profit organization to run a single central optout service, staffed by volunteers from the major tech companies. The best single company to attempt this at the moment, imo, is probably Paypal, who already have the ability to debit money from bank balances and distribute that money to other Paypal accounts at (presumably) extremely low cost.

And once we’ve got adverts sorted — maybe we can do the same thing with subscription services, such as Netflix, Pandora et al. A pot of money shared between them all, based on their usage and rating.