Nobody on the internet likes to pay for anything. I know, super-hot take right? But I have a point, bear with me. The fact that nobody likes to pay for things – including things they need or actively make things better for them, or even the news – means that internet services are utterly reliant on ads. I know this. I am not overly fond of it, but I don’t really have a say in how things work.

And even so, I use an ad-blocker.

There are ways in which the ad-blocker makes my life better; I get fewer ads and almost no pop-ups. These things, however, are not why I use an ad-blocker. Things like this are; the ad framework used by a massively popular Android app in its free version started spreading malware, spreading it to unsuspecting users everywhere. I started using an ad-blocker after the third time I got the same virus from a reputable website. I think the last time it came from The Washington Post or something.

And this is a huge problem. Each internet service creating its own ad solution, selling their own ad-space at the prices that are standard for internet ads is not feasible either. So places that produce content or apps need to rely on concentrated services to provide ads. And those, in turn, don’t need to care about who they sell the ad-space to or what those ads contain. And the biggest problem with that is that the type of content superficially looks exactly like the type of content that the legit advertisers feel they need. Javascript, loading content through links in external locations. These are very common things on the net. They’re also very basic and often used tactics for spreading viruses. And so legit ad-networks wind up spreading viruses.

This is another one of those “I have no solution”. Basically, ad networks would need to stop accepting ads that refer to outside resources. But that would mean that they would have to put money in server space somewhere to be able to provide all that ad-content. That costs money, especially with the amount of traffic those ads would get. They would also need a human to vet all the ads. A lot of humans, to be honest. Which, again, costs money. Any move to fix the problems of virus ads leads to smaller margins. And that can’t happen under capitalism. So I’m going to keep using my ad-blocker. And try to throw money at the services I use for free.