It would be nice if AdBlock was a little more upfront and candid about how their white listing and "pay for exception" policy works. They didn't go out of their way to call attention to it.
When a product calls itself "AdBlock," naive little fools like me tend to assume (at least at first) that that
what it does. And that it does it globally
. When it doesn't - or the publisher switches horses in the middle of the stream - I think it's incumbent on them be more upfront and public about their policy change, "lest disappointment ensue" as a badly translated set of instructions once said.
Perhaps it's because I have a big problem with the whole "monetization" concept itself that I get so irritable about things like what AdBlock is doing. I think it far more honest and dignified that somebody who wants to make money from their works simply put them up for sale to the people who are using them - as opposed to putting in some sneaky semi-hidden revenue stream while hoping that most people won't notice or care about it.
But that's probably just me.
Note: another popular blocking product called Ghostery
now also has a hidden revenue stream. Ghostery was bought by Evidon in 2010. MIT's Technology Review covered that debate in an article that can be read here
From the MIT article:
That makes Evidon, which bought Ghostery in 2010, something of an anomaly in the complex world of online advertising. Whether in Congress or at the Web standards body W3C, debates over online privacy typically end up with the ad industry and privacy advocates facing off along clearly demarcated lines (see “High Stakes in Internet Tracking”).
Evidon straddles both sides of that debate. “This is not a scheme,” says Scott Meyer, Evidon’s cofounder and CEO and formerly a senior figure in the New York Times Company’s online operations, when asked about that dual role. He says there is no conflict in offering a tool that helps users hide from the ad industry while also helping that same industry.
“Anything that gives people more transparency and control is good for the industry,” says Meyer, who says it’s fine with him that most Ghostery users opt not to share data with Evidon. Meyer points out that those who want to block online advertising are unlikely to respond to it, making Ghostery use good for both sides. Meyer also says that Ghostery users are presented with clear disclosures about how the company uses their data if they opt in. However, MIT Technology Review found that it was possible for a user to opt in without seeing the disclosures.
Which is another problem with monetization
. It can be implemented at any time with scant notice, whether by the original developer (often), or by some company acquiring the product (always).
As time goes on, the truth in the saying "if you're not the customer - you're the product
" becomes more and more inescapable when it comes to closed-source software.