Another confirmation that our idea of the internet has devolved in the hands of entrepeneurs.
I'm with you. Some people seem to have had it drilled into their heads that they've got some moral duty to download and expose themselves to corporate propaganda ((i.e., advertizements) and the malware* that frequently accompanies it), lest the Internet shrivel up and die. They forget that aside from spam, the Internet started out nearly ad-free, and that ads were scarce for a while in the beginning of the 1990s web-boom.
I don't think it'd necessarily be a bad thing if ad-dependent content disappeared; what would remain would be material that's important enough that someone's willing to ask for donations, pay out of their own pocket — or both — in order to make it freely available. Wikipedia (for instance) seems to work fine using this model, and is better for it, I think, than if it kowtowed to corporate-huckster "benefactors."
* I consider the ads themselves a form of malware — mental malware meant to manipulate peoples' purchase decisions (as manipulation is the intent behind propaganda of any type).