My biggest problem is with the pervasiveness of advertising.
I'll gladly pay for something I use in order to avoid being pestered with ads. What I really object to is a growing desire to get people to accepts ads as "just one of those unavoidable things" that make up what we call human existence. I say this because I'm starting to see (mostly in media and software products) where it's reaching the point where you get ads no matter what.
Public television is a good example. They're non-commercial
- whatever that means. It doesn't mean they're commercal free. There are ads. And you're pestered with constant "pledge drives" (i.e. demands for ransom money) when you want to watch a show.
Time was when you'd only be subjected to PBS's unique brand of self-righteous plead/demands for viewer support once - and later twice - per year. Now you get "mini-drives" and "special pledge week" appeals that occur with increasing regularity. I don't know if this is the norm for the rest of the country, but where I am we average about one beg-a-thon
per month. That alone would be annoying enough. Especially once you have made a contribution like I (up until this
year) always have.
But now, our local
PBS affiliate staggers it's fundraising efforts with the national franchise such that it's more like every other week somebody from public television is passing the hat for something.
Same thing happened with cable. You paid to get uninterrupted ad-free program viewing. (Yeah right!) That was the whole selling point of "pay-TV" as it used to be called. We soon got ads between
shows. And although there are still many shows that run programming "uninterrupted" we now get to live with friggin' animated banner bars and character walk-ons in the lower third of the screen advertising upcoming shows or contests. And lately that seems to be changing courtesy of Conde Nast who has been placing some "related product" ads in those spaces on some of its shows. I'm guessing if there isn't sufficient viewer backlash they'll expand the practice shortly.
A lot of software is now doing the same thing. When you buy a registration code, you don't get a sanitized installer
that requires a registration code in order to run. You get the same trialware edition which you can unlock with the code - but not before you get to navigate the trick logic screens that try to get you to install additional toolbars, tracking software, and crapware. Some also try to get you to change your default homepage for good measure.
My favorite offender is FL Studio. Even when you buy it directly from them, you're still given the time limited demo software to install. This can later be 'unlocked' with the registration code they send you. But not before Open Candy gets loaded
and does its (IMO sneaky) thing as part of the install. I'm sure companies that do this will cite the efficiencies and necessity of only having one product installer to maintain - to which I reply "Bullshit!" If it's difficult to maintain an installer, it's even more effort to have to integrate it with an adware wrapper.
Gerry Weinberg observed how some restaurants attempt to make a virtue out of the lack of efficiency in their kitchens by printing things on the menu like: Please be patient. Good food takes time to prepare.
Unfortunately, that argument doesn't hold completely true when you consider that while it may well take time to prepare a good meal - it takes even longer to burn the sauce. So please don't tell us it's too difficult to provide a "paid-for" installation package to customers that's separate from the one that gets put up on the web for free download. You're speaking to adults here.
It will only be a matter of time before ad banners become the norm on all media products (including the ones we've paid for up front) if we don't object enough.
Just my 2¢