Going ad-free is a more popular topic than one might think. In fact, when you search “Is it time to go ad-free?” on Google, you receive around 8, 070, 000, 000 results; yes, you read that right: over eight BILLION results. Have ads become that annoying? As is the case with most other issues that we face in today’s culture, people always expect another alternative to be offered. In the case of ads, paid subscriptions are the only saving grace.
Unfortunately, some people aren’t yet willing to pay for ad-free services. Blogger, Samantha Jacquest, is the perfect example. She is in the majority of Americans who want ad-free services, but understand that ads are what make the content she receives free. On her blog, she writes,
“I wish advertisements could be taken away, but at the same time, I do understand that advertisements are what allows[sic] me to read a lot of content for-free. As a college student, I don’t see news site subscriptions as a priority, I have many other bills to pay, so it is nice when ads can pick up some of my slack and give me some free content. But that does not mean that I have to like it.”
Samantha’s concerns aren’t uncommon. This begs the question: is there anything that the industry can do to both reduce ads and give consumers free access to the content that they love? Eh. Probably not. The problem with content is that it doesn’t just create itself. There are people behind the madness: people with homes, families, and bills that have to be paid. If you don’t fork over $4.99 a month for ad-free content, those people may be, in layman’s terms, screwed. Putting ads on a webpage, allows that particular company to pay for its daily operations. Once you get rid of those ads, you need to fill that hole where the money used to be. For some people, it’s worth the money. Avid Pandora users, Kindle readers, and Hulu watchers all praise these companies for offering them an ad-free option.
Could simply giving options be the best solution? Why offer just one or the other? Pandora allows people to come in for free and stream music, but they have to put up with the ads in between a certain number of songs. Giving people options works because it’s what people are used to. They’re used to being able to decide how they receive their information. Niche sites dedicated to certain industries, like HR.BLR.com, which caters to Human Resources professionals, offers up free content and provides more in-depth resources with a subscription.
It’s probably going to be a while before ad-free content becomes free, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be offered on a site that regularly hosts advertisements.
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