Yahoo isn't getting great press right now. A recent Forbes piece asserted that Yahoo's operations will be scrutinized more closely as time goes on, and that Marissa Mayer may suffer as a result. (Aside: before Yahoo dumps Mayer, is there anyone who can run the company better?)
And now a story comes out saying that Yahoo Mail is blocking some users from reading their own mail.
Which ones? Apparently, the ones who are using ad blockers.
This move of Yahoo, which may just be a limited test, is something that I completely support.
Since the 1940s, there have been a number of "free" services - over-the-air radio, over-the-air television, and Yahoo among them - for which the users of the service have not had to pay a penny. (At least in the United States.) How can these large corporations just give their stuff away? By having other people (advertisers) pay the corporations for the privilege of providing advertisements to the users.
As I have said in the past, tools are tools. Ad blockers in and of themselves are not immoral, but they can certainly be used in "immoral" ways.
Owen Williams argues that ad blockers can serve a purpose - when set correctly, they can block against malicious content delivered by selected ad networks. However, Williams believes that the ad blockers should allow users to see non-malicious ads. He provides an example:
I eventually went back to using an ad blocker, but instead using it thoughtfully and defensively, giving publishers my trust until they abuse it. I’m using uBlock right now, because it’s the easiest to set up this way.
All you need to do is grab uBlock and head to the “third-party filters” tab in the settings. Un-check everything, except the “malware domain list” and “malware domains” then enable the auto-update feature toward the top.
Well why not be really safe by blocking everything?
If you’re blocking every advertisement, you’re stealing from those who rely on them. You’re taking something for free and removing the only way to give back.
Let's say that you're a Yahoo Mail user, and you decide that AdZ sUx and that you don't want to see them. One of two things will happen:
In case number one, not only do you decide to block the ads, but all of the Yahoo Mail users decide to block the ads. Yahoo therefore does not get any revenue for its mail service, and shuts Yahoo Mail down (since Yahoo is required by U.S. securities law to make money).
In case number two, you decide to block the ads, but the unwashed masses don't. Win win, right? Yahoo still gets it money from the dolts, and you the intelligent one get an ad free experience.
Which won't do you any good when everyone in your neighborhood jumps on your wi-fi after getting your password. Wi-fi unblockers, after all, are just as moral as ad blockers -aren't they?
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