We take it for granted today, we sit down, fire up a browser on our computer, tablet or phone, load up our favourite news site, tech blog, webcomic or whatever and for most of these we don’t have to have ever entered any credit card details – unlike buying a magazine or newspaper.
And then many people complain about adverts and install ad blockers without considering one important thing; without the ads the website wouldn’t be there, or you’d have to pay for it yourself. The other problem with this expectation of no-cost browsing is that sites like Wikipedia which don’t have ads still have to pay for servers, offices and the staff who look after the site despite having an army of volunteers but don’t receive enough donations to keep going.
This blog is provided ostensibly free of charge via WordPress but has adverts (visible to non WordPress.com users) which I have never seen myself but have been reliably informed are there, I couldn’t justify paying for the ad-free version at the moment. I personally only block adverts on other sites I visit that cause problems with my browser as I appreciate that ads are a necessary part of our free and open internet, just as regular users of donation-based sites aught to donate.
Someone once said there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and for the moment this one’s no exception.