My Solution to Obnoxious Online Advertising

I'm old enough to remember the days when there was absolutely no online advertising or selling of any kind. It was strictly forbidden and you could be blasted by the furnaces of a thousand suns if you ever tried selling anything in one of the online forums or message boards.

People would get angry — ANGRY! — if you dared to post that you were selling a replica Klingon Bat'leth.

"NO COMMERCIAL MESSAGES ALLOWED!" some troll would bleat, scratching furiously at his neckbeard with Cheetos-stained fingers.

Lord, I miss those days.

Nowadays, you can't look at a single web page without being pummeled by banner ads, popup ads, and auto-playing videos. There are entire news websites I can't even read on my phone because the ads are continually loading, videos that continue playing even after I hit stop, and pop-over ads that completely cover the page I'm trying to read.

As the ads load, the article keeps jumping back up to the top of the page, and I have to scroll back to my previous place again. I usually just give up after two or three jumps and delete that media outlet from my newsreader.

The ads, which are supposed to help the company "deliver the news that matters to me," are keeping me from actually reading that news.

I would think being able to read the news matters quite a bit, but as long as they deliver their ads to an audience who loathes them, they don't care.

Some news sites are so infested, there's literally one ad for every three paragraphs.

And if the author writes anything like I do, they're pretty short paragraphs.

To add insult to indignity, if you're reading on your phone without wifi, you're paying for the bandwidth to have these ads shoved down your throat.

It's enough to make the Dalai Lama slam his phone on the ground and jump on it.

This is why I don't have ads on most of my own websites, and will even pay a monthly fee to keep them off. (You're welcome.)

Depending on which web browser you use, there are plugins you can get that will block most ads on most websites. I have two that I use on my web browser right now.

Of course, some of the premier websites can tell if you're running an ad blocker, and they won't let you see their content unless you turn it off. Luckily, they're not as obnoxious with their advertising, so I'm usually happy to do that. After all, these media outlets rely on advertising to survive: Without advertising, they can't afford to annoy their readers.

Some of the more obnoxious parasites spend millions of dollars to try to reach as many people as they can. They barf their ads on millions of web pages. They use browser cookies to make ads follow us all over the Internet in the hopes that we'll just pretty please for a one teeny-weeny second, look at their advertisement and consider buying their product.

So I block as many of them as I can. Not because I want to return to the good old days of an ad-free Internet, but because I'm tired of the way the ads are swarming the Internet, like flies on a dog turd.

But I recognize that I can't turn back the clock, so I have a compromise instead: I am willing to watch a sales video or listen to a sales pitch if you pay me.

Advertisers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising, only to be blocked by ad-blocking technology. Those ads go unseen, those dollars are wasted. But I can help you avoid wasting money and I can guarantee that I'll watch your ad.

For $2 per minute, I will watch whatever commercial or video you want to put in front of me. Want me to watch a 5-minute video? That's $10. A 20-minute video is worth 40 bucks.

I'll watch it once, and then our relationship is done. You won't show me your ad again, and it will never cross my path again. And you can report back to your rapacious overlords that the ad was "delivered" and watched in full. They'll rub their clammy hands together in evil glee, and you can continue chipping away at your souls one click at a time.

If you want me to read something, the rate is $20 per 500 words, with a cap at 2,500 words or $100. It's also a $20 minimum; I'm not giving you a discount just because you wrote 300 words.

Then, if I want to buy your product, I'll buy it. You don't have to show it to me over and over, following me wherever I go on the Internet. I'll watch it once, carefully consider buying it, and then we're finished.

Of course, if you're willing to pay me to watch or read it again, I'll be happy to take your money.

Or you could just buy a bunch of copies of my book and I'll buy your product with the royalties. Let me email you the link.

Photo credit: Pascale PirateChicken (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available on Amazon. You can get the Kindle version here or the paperback version here.