AN AD-FREE WEB

advertisement-old timeMany people pay for ad-free TV, but will they pay for an ad-free web? Google is testing that idea with a service called “Contributor.”

Pay $1 to $3 a month and you’ll see the Internet without ads. Right now, it’s by invitation only but you can get on the waiting list at google.com/contributor. Of course, the other alternative is to use free add-ons like “Ad Blocker.” The trouble with both approaches is sometimes we find the ads interesting.

Here’s an interesting sidelight to that problem: ads, it turns out, are information.  During World War II, Marshall Field, the Chicago department store owner, started an evening newspaper called “PM” in New York. Because of the war, he thought it was inappropriate to run ads in such serious times. The readers objected vigorously and he soon had to start covering sales at Macy’s as news stories.

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