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Comment: Re:Out of curiosity (Score 1) 321 321

I tried the donation route; twice, actually. The first time (when it was still very small) it worked very well, but when I tried again years later, towards the end, it did not. I know you're suggesting that the site wasn't 'useful enough', but it wasn't that the users didn't enjoy/appreciate the site, it's just a similar mentality to the vocal folks on every story on ./ about advertising: "I don't want to pay, in any form".

The only 'affiliate link' requests I got were from shady folks. I tried to be good to my users. There really weren't many relevant affiliates I could have. I wanted to get Amazon links up, so I could eventually link to games/peripherals and make a few cents on purchases, but just didn't get an opportunity to do so. It's hard to maintain a 5-million-user website when you have to have a day job to fund it.

I still believe advertising is a valid method of monetization; but we have to start educating end-users on whitelisting. The set-and-forget nature/mentality is dangerous.

Comment: Re:Out of curiosity (Score 1) 321 321

I just don't think it should be up to AdBlock to define what's 'acceptable'. What if they change their tune one day and consider 'Punch the Monkey' as acceptable? I'm all for setting standards (though my definition will greatly differ from yours, as I don't think gifs/movies are blanket-unacceptable, given the proper context/audience), but just be careful who you allow as the gatekeeper.

To answer your second question, limiting the site was not really an option. It had become a cornerstone of the community it served, which is without borders. Locking people out would have killed the site faster than it happened naturally.

Comment: Re:Out of curiosity (Score 1) 321 321

Had you asked me a few years ago, I would have shown you my own site (but is now defunct due to adblock + the economy at the time). I ran a gaming website that started out as a small hobby, but ended up being incredibly popular within its audience.

The primary/initial function of this site was to serve up dynamic images that depicted a user's activity on the gaming platform it catered to, for use on Forums, blogs, and social networks. I went on to serve other data-based content, such as extensive leaderboards (globally, as well as searchable by game, by country, or both), user stat profiles, and other platform-specific info.

In return for access to the platform's data to make this all possible, I had a legal agreement with that company that said that I could not directly charge for access to the features of my community site. Advertising was the only viable solution for maintaining it. While there were a few missteps on advertising (Yahoo (for its short-lived ad platform) sometimes pushed adult-oriented ads), I was generally good to my users in that regard, eventually becoming popular enough to serve relevant ads from gaming companies and related lifestyle products (they won't talk to you unless you have x number of users/page impressions).

My costs were infrastructure. I had several servers creating/serving those remote images, handling static site images, storing and organizing user/gaming history in the databases ... I had to hire consultants when the site outgrew my limited-at-the-time knowledge of data modeling and querying. Advertising helped me scale both up and out, and I ran it for nearly 6 years. By necessity, I gained a LOT of skills during that time.

About 5 years in, Adblock had started to become popular beyond the technical crowd. It's always been a set-and-forget thing, and we didn't have a lot of the fancy detection tricks we do now, so there was little I could really do. I was breaking even for my hosting (several hundred dollars a month for nearly a dozen servers; and that's WITHOUT bandwidth costs, because I had a great relationship with my hosting provider)... but couple that with the economy crash, where the advertising that WAS getting through wasn't paying much, and I ended up paying out of pocket for nearly a year before it was just too much.

What started as a small project in which I expected just a couple of people to use ended up with 5 million users, and small notoriety within that gaming circle (including several magazine stories). Advertising directly enabled me to scale. I was unemployed when I had first started it, and had to hop a number of inexpensive hosts (which weren't inexpensive when you have no income) because I'd outgrow their limits in a week or two. Sometimes, advertising is simply the best/only option available.

Advertising is not inherently evil; people have been paying to get their message out for hundreds of years. Actively boycott the sites/networks taking advantage of its users, but don't damn the entire system.

Comment: Re:Out of curiosity (Score 1) 321 321

Except no - your internet service is not paying for [my] hardware, hosting, and bandwidth. That'd be a fantastic thing, if your ISP subsidized all of the infrastructure needed to serve the content you're requesting... but I'm sure you could work out the likelihood of that ever happening.

It's really nothing like the VZ/Netflix issue at all.

Comment: Re:Out of curiosity (Score 1) 321 321

I'm quite interested in your thoughts of a better way.. certainly you must have put thought into this, given your blanket opinions on advertising.

If you were going to create a website that you knew would incur non-trivial costs, how would you pay the bills? Assume you are not a corporation and that you are not using the site to sell a product - in other words, the site itself is the product/service.

Comment: Re:Out of curiosity (Score 1) 321 321

Because information ought to be freely distributed. Just because you have the possibility of making money one something does not mean you have the guarantee of it.

I often hear 'information [ought|wants] to be free', but not 'ought to be freely distributed'. These are two very different concepts. I can't agree with your wording simply because datacenters, servers, and bandwidth just aren't free. I'm not arguing that someone's political rant blog, or chronicles of their cat herding should/shouldn't be plastered with ads - that's a semi trivial operation (though I would say that labor shouldn't be free - and at least to me, writing regularly and coherently is labor).

But not every website is like that. I once ran a service that had hosting costs close to $1K/month, simply because it became popular. It was useful to the people who used it. But I was unable to introduce a subscription at the time (reasoning irrelevant), and even if I could, it's not always practical for the audience I had. Advertising was literally my only way to try to break even. I wasn't trying to live a lavish lifestyle, I was just trying to make sure the lights stayed on. But they didn't, due to the set-and-forget nature of Adblock extensions (and admittedly the economy at the time, which had just crashed, taking along much of the ad revenue that was still being generated). I was willing to give my time away for free, but there were still costs to distribute the information that my site provided - bandwidth, hosting/co-lo, and scalability (e.g. consulting, hardware) during many of the site's growth spurts.

I'm completely on board for a utopian TNG society where we freely do things for fun and the betterment of our society/species, and all of our basic wants and needs are generally taken care of. But until then, people who - for whatever reason - have infrastructure costs shouldn't be condemned for using advertising as a way to accomplish that. I agree wholeheartedly that there are a lot of things that need to be done within the ad industry (security, aggressiveness) to improve its reputation, but it actually is a reasonable business model, despite your (and others') ill-reasoned crusade to eradicate them.

Comment: Re:What if I want the ad fueled web to die? (Score 1) 618 618

Are you aware there are more types of websites than the random rants of someone on a Wordpress blog? Right now, as you read this, there are hundreds of thousands of websites out there that are neither backed by corporate interests (who can write off their expenses as a cost of doing business), nor small enough to be hosted within the confines of "$5" platforms.

It's a big world out there. One size does not fit all.

Comment: Re:What if I want the ad fueled web to die? (Score 1) 618 618

The focus of the discussion is on the website/content provider you're visiting. From that point of view, the difference between you not allowing the Pepsi ad (via adblock) and you allowing it and not responding to it is HUGE.

Pepsi - and the vast majority of advertisers -are simply paying to get their message out. By allowing the ad, you allow the website to count that as an ad impression, which collectively fulfills whatever business agreement they have with Pepsi (or their ad broker).

Since your responses seem to favor the small picture: Once the ad impression happens, your 'obligations' (for lack of a better term) as the visitor to the website are done. Whether you care about Pepsi's side of things is completely up to you. Most website owners would, to a small degree (ensuring that the ads are effective enough for them to keep paying out), but anyone that requires resources beyond a simple shared-hosting Wordpress blog just want to ensure their monthly hosting bills can be paid (not to mention any contributors, depending on the nature of the website).

The concept is really, really easy to understand once you let go of the notion that you're the center of the universe.

Comment: Re:Isn't 25 km a bit excessive? (Score 2) 165 165

It's definitely excessive. Just like the actual NOTAM that this is supposedly based off of is actually 30 miles (which extends just shy of the Baltimore city border).

One of DJI's own dealers is within this 15 mi radius, too. Will definitely be interested in seeing if it affects that side of the business, and/or how much they promote DJI's products.

Comment: Re:Can someone explainn (Score 2) 165 165

How big is your brick? While there are hexa- and octocopters that can carry a couple of pounds (which are big and conspicuous spider-looking things), the payload of the DJI Phantom line is measured in low-double-digit grams.
Maybe it can deliver a targeted chemical payload (so can RC planes), but I think explosives would be a little difficult.

Comment: Re:Can someone explainn (Score 3, Informative) 165 165

"Drones are better than high power telescopes because you don't need line of sight"
I think you're severely overestimating the capabilities of these commercial, civilian quads. The camera in the Phantom 2 Vision+ is a 12MP, 1080p fisheye lens, very similar to a GoPro 3. You're not getting the optics of a high-power telescope.

DJI's new line, the Inspire One, has a 4K camera, which I guess allows for better quality, but you're still not zooming in. These things are loud, you're not using them for invading someone's privacy without them knowing.

Comment: Re:How will it work? (Score 1) 165 165

If you try to fly within an NFZ, it will prevent takeoff. There's a companion app that works on your smartphone as you're flying, and it will alert you that you're in a no-fly zone.

If you're already in the air, and bump against the NFZ, it will simply stop and refuse to continue in that direction.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin