Paying for The Internet

2019-08-06 - Louis-Philippe Véronneau

For a while now, I've been paying for The Internet. Not the internet connection provided by my ISP, mind you, but for the stuff I enjoy online and the services I find useful.

Most of the Internet as we currently know it is funded by ads. I hate ads and I take a vicious pride in blocking them with the help of great projects like uBlock Orign and NoScript. More fundamentally, I believe the web shouldn't be funded via ads:

  • they control your brain (that alone should be enough to ban ads)
  • they create morally wrong economic incentives towards consumerism
  • they create important security risks and make websites gather data on you

A sticker with a feminist anti-ads message

I could go on like this, but I feel those are pretty strong arguments. Feel free to disagree.

So I've started paying. Paying for my emails. Paying for the comics I enjoy online 1. Paying for the few YouTube channels I like. Paying for the newspapers I read.

At the moment, The Internet costs me around 260 USD per year. Luckily for me, I'm privileged enough that it doesn't have a significant impact on my finances. I also pay for a lot of the software I use and enjoy by making patches and spending time working on them. I feel that's a valid way to make The Internet a more sustainable place.

I don't think individual actions like this one have a very profound impact on how things work, but like riding your bike to work or eating locally produced organic food, it opens a window into a possible future. A better future.