Advertising Is not Evil, but the Way We Do It Might Be. Sometimes.

Advertising on the web is generally regarded as being a terrible and immoral thing. With some caveats - I disagree with that. I think advertising, in it’s many forms, was a logical step in the monetization on the web. Advertising is an ever-present part of modern life. The idea that it would be ported to the internet is totally normal.

So that’s established: I think advertising online makes sense.

Here’s the caveat: The ongoing pursuit of ad revenue can become the north star of a company, either implicitly or explicitly, and when that happens advertising becomes terrible and - at times - immoral.

In the same way that money in and of itself is not the root of all evil (the pursuit of money is the root of all evil) advertising itself is not the problem. When we stop Designing products for people and start designing them for revenue - that is the problem. We create experiences that are actively hostile and then are confused and surprised as to why churn rates rise.

If no one’s using your products, your products can’t make money.


Little Thoughts is a series of half formed thoughts and musings. Take them with a salt lick.
Keaton Taylor is a designer and front-end developer moving through the world asking lots of questions and being wrong about no less than 50% of his ideas at any given time. He is an IC at Apartment Therapy Media and all his thoughts and ideas are his own.