An Open Letter to Sites "Requesting" Me to Disable AdBlocker

An Open Letter to Sites
Sinobear Jul 19, 2015 16:34

An Open Letter to Sites “Requesting” that I Disable AdBlocker.

Dear Site that I visit infrequently, and more so with good reason (yes, Threat Level {a sub-site of} I’m talking about you!):

Why shall I not, not ever, disable/uninstall my AdBlocker? Here’s why:

I look for information on the Internet. Courtesy of the Great Firewall, I can barely access one quarter of what’s out there (and by blocking TOR bridges, you could say that 99.999% of everything is blocked).

I don’t mind banner ads (which I ignore and have never, since having my first dial-up account in 1996, have never clicked a single one – even by accident) nor do I mind ads to the left or right of the content that I was looking for (again, never clicked a single ad, nor will I ever).

I do mind pop-ups, pop-unders, and the ubiquitous “follow-the-pointer” ads (which, I would definitely, under pain-of-death certainly NEVER click on.)

I’m not making millions, nor could I possibly provide your site with millions in advertising revenue. Why? I don’t pay attention to advertising! Never have, never will. Sure, adverts may be funny, dramatic, eye-catching or interesting, but I simply don’t buy online based on advertising. I use Taobao – which allows me to search for what I want, when I want, and I can choose whether or not I believe the asking price is affordable. Simplicity itself.

There’s a bigger reason why I won’t disable my AdBlocker – you site sucks! It seems that ever since everything that could be monetarized online has been, that the quality of absolutely everything has gone to hell. Take “free” email providers as an example. I signed up for Hotmail when it was still under Sabeer Bhatia back in 1996. At that time, Hotmail promoted itself as “Always free and always will be.” Oops! Sold out to Microsoft then any real usefulness became a matter of paying for it. More storage? Pay for it! Want to do anything remotely useful? Pay for it! Hotmail had to suck it up big time when Gmail appeared on the scene and once again, all was good and free in the world.

Am I a tightwad who is not willing to (gasp!) pay for a service? Hell no. I paid for my dial-up service which came with an unlimited email account. It was because Hotmail was supposed to be accessible anywhere at any time and would be with me on my various relocations and travels.

Back to Threat Level: I used to peruse TL about once a week. There would be six or seven articles that I’d read and enjoy. They redesigned the site and…well, nothing. I look at the site maybe once a month now and there’s nothing worth reading…click on the ‘Home’ link and you’ll find that the homesite Wired doesn’t offer much more (except, of course, more whining {six ads} to subscribe to the print issue {in 2015, really?} and more whining {two whiny begging blocks}to disable my AdBlocker.

Another example of a different sort to add to my overall purpose in writing this: I used to love the Boston Globe’s ‘The Big Picture’ website. As its name implies, there were big pictures – photo essays – that were great for teaching. The former editor, Alan Taylor, has since moved to the ‘’ The Boston Globe site now proffers only five free articles (the standard +/- amongst local news providers) per month. The ‘Big Picture’ “sucks, more than anything has ever sucked before,” and nothing else on the parent site is worth reading.

Alan Taylor, on the Atlantic (still free and awesome – check this:, is still providing big pictures and superb content (check out James Fallows who has written many books and articles about China).

Here comes the argument over free = parasite and paid = super nice person. Into the abyss with another one of my famous tangents.

When CDAs came into play (pun intended) in the 90s, they were supposed to revolutionize the music industry because of the low cost of production (vs. vinyl records), higher quality (again, compared to vinyl) and most of all, the extremely low cost of production. My multimedia teacher, way back then, made an extremely naïve (yet logical) prediction that music CDs would be about $2.00 CDN to buy. Hahahahahahaha. Try $20.00 (when vinyl was selling at about $14.00 for a new release).

The increased storage meant that “albums” had to be longer and basically you’d be paying a premium for one ‘hit’, one ‘meh’ track and the rest was garbage (unless you purchased a Garbage CD and there was also one ‘hit’, one ‘meh’ track and the rest was Garbage, but I digress.)

In came Napster, then a plethora of P2P programs that allowed everyone to share that one hit, the one ‘meh’ and other tracks courtesy of a German invention – the MP3 (later FLAC, etc).

Of course, you know the history – the RIAA, the MPAA, and everyone else got on the bandwagon to decry this piracy. My point of view (after all, I am the one authoring this!)? Why should I pay for the mistakes of record labels (hiring no-name, untried and un-tested bands and paying them huge advances {although their contracts are more akin to indentured servants, but that’s another adventure on the riverbank}) just to get a single track worth listening to?

Thus, websites are now singing the same tune as the MPAA, RIAA. They’re boo-hoo-hooing about loss of revenue because ads are being blocked. Whoa! Let’s back up…previously, advertisers would pay a site based on how many people clicked on their ads. Now, they get paid based on how many ads are served (loaded on end-user stations). Who are the idiots who agreed to this? The site owners/publishers., by far the best torrent site next to TPB, tried to ban/block registered users who are running AdBlock. Most of their biggest and best uploaders abandoned the site in protest (kind of hypocrisy really, a copyright infringement site banning users who block illegal revenue streams).

The MPAA and RIAA use childish logic and third-grade scary language to describe those who use torrents and P2P. Who else is trying the same petulance? Go here:

It’s hilarious!

I will say this, however, there are some fantastic sites that I visit frequently (,,…and many others) who I’d love to kick some of my money to if only they had a payment system that I could use (almost always credit cards whereas I can only offer PayPal and UnionPay).

Perhaps EChinaCities will keep this in mind before they start asking me to disable my AdBlocker or to pay for my continued patronage of this site.

I almost forgot! Some of the ads that are presented on various sites are dubious at best: “I make $7659 a month working for Google part time!”, “Miracle diabetes cure – doctors are stunned!,” etc. Do I really need my intelligence insulted more by paying to watch a site lose its self-respect by dealing with Spam?  A site can easily (in their 4-point typeface disclaimer) disavow any harm that comes to my computer by clicking on any of their “sponsors”.   

Tags:Lifestyle Expat Rants & Advice General

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