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In days gone by, Javascript was the bane of the Internet, along with flashing GIF’s.

Blocking Javascript used to make sense from both a safety standpoint (most browser vulnerabilities came through Javascript), and a usability perspective (Javascript was initially only used for silly effects and annoying tricks and popups).

Ghostery maintains a glossary of all the known tracking scripts and the companies they belong to – it’s comprehensive, and I applaud it.

But educating people and blocking them are different, and given that the majority of users simply leave it blocking everything, the end result is the exact same as No Script or Adblock – users enjoying our content, without creating revenue.

The thing is – those ads pay my salary, as well as the other full time editors, professionals writers, and dedicated server costs that make Make Use Of what it is.

We believe strongly in a free content model – whereby we provide free, high quality, full content to you with no restrictions – in exchange for showing you advertising.

The latter are any cookies from ad networks, analytics platforms, and user behavioural trackers.

On the one hand, I think it’s important that users are educated about what’s going on behind the scenes on a site.

If company X puts a cookie on the New York Times and MSNBC site, and you browse to both those and Wikipedia, it only knows about the two upon on which it was placed.

Basically though, it comes down to this – we provide thousands of articles, free book guides, and a community-driven technical support service – in return for which, we ask that you don’t block adverts.

Now I realise of course that I’ve only presented one side of the argument here.

Apologies if you think my definition of free is defective, but you’re arguing over semantics and kind of missing the point.

What makes me angry about the Ad Block plugin is that the author – while happy to destroy our revenue stream – is also profiteering from the very same free content model by asking for Pay Pal donations when the plugin is installed. I understand that some adverts can be annoying – and we do try to remove any that auto-play a video or make noise on page load as soon as we identify them (contrary to popular belief, site owners do not choose the ads that get displayed, but we can kill them off if we find inappropriate or annoying ones, and we have requested that no such video ads be displayed as a general rule) – but the free content model is entirely what keeps the online world afloat.

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