Ethics

Posted by Kiran

Back in 1991, on my 9th grade school trip, we had an incentive to look forward to. We were all going to be allowed access to some money to buy stuff of our choice from the shops during one of our breaks. For a 14 year old who did not normally get access to cash, this was a big deal. That opportunity - to handle cash, bargain with shopkeepers and buy stuff of our choice - was something that each one of the about 100 students in my batch looked forward to.

As it so happened, some of the boys in our group decided to step out of line and as a method of disciplining them, the teachers accompanying us decided to withhold that shopping privilege from them. Not to be out-done, they soon got in touch with their friends with requests to buy stuff on their behalf. I too got one such request from one such defaulter. Hoping to be of some help to my friend, I agreed.

Posted by Kiran
I am an active user and advocate of Mozilla Firefox. I also am a fan of its Ad-blocking extension - AdBlock Plus. I have considered AdBlock Plus a very useful extension that allowed me to get rid of all annoying and pesky pop-ups and banner ads that otherwise clutter my browsing experience.

However, a recent blog by Vaibhav Gadodia titled "When will people stop stealing content" raised a very interesting point; it gave me food for thought. In his blog Vaibhav argues that since the advertising pays for the content, blocking those ads deprives the site owner the revenues that he would have earned had those ads been visible. Vaibhav goes on to compare the online content monetized by ads to an "honor system" of selling goods, wherein the users are free to pick up the goods as long as they drop the recommended amount into the jar.

Equating ad-blocking to stealing, in my opinion, is a radical generalization and I disagree with it. Here's why.