Merlin Mann on the problem with the cool kids

The cool kids can always be trusted to be for the other cool kids.

And against everybody else.

Dan Benjamin: The way that I see it is, and I think we have a different perspective because we’ve run sites and we do run sites and those sites at least in some portion make money from ad revenue. So I feel like it’s a completely ok thing in my book to have ads on a site. I agree with you that there are a lot of ads that will go overboard and that’ll make some sites completely unusable and I’m sympathetic to the people who want to use the ad-blockers on those sites. But I can tell you that for the sites I like, anytime that I go to a site and I say, “I like this site,” and I visit it and I plan on going back to it, I will always whitelist it as a general rule. I’ll whitelist it so that every single time I go there I’m gonna see whatever the ads are. Now, once in a while if they have one of those ads that unfolds, y’know somewhere I understand that a puppy has died and it’s a horrible thing. But, y’know even if that happens, I’m willing to do it to see, y’know, I know how this ad business works.

Merlin Mann: Yeah, but how often do you patronize them? Google ads will not make money unless people click on them, by and large. So how often do you click on ads and then buy something?

Dan: Y’know, not probably that much. I do it.

Merlin: Well, then that’s like subscribing to somebody’s paper and not reading it. I mean, you’re helping out superficially, but if your only way of making revenue from a site is having your friends leave ads on then you have a problem with your business model.

Dan: Well, I don’t, that’s a good point, you’re right. You’re right. I mean, I think.

Merlin: I mean, really you’re just relying on sympathy more than having a business that’s valuable to people, right? Is that mean to say? Y’know what I mean?

Dan: No, I don’t think it’s mean to say. I think it’s, I think at least I have the opportunity that maybe if I see something I like I have the opportunity to click it. I definitely am going to see it. I’ll look at it, I’ll consider it. Maybe I click it, maybe I don’t click it. But if you’re turning off those ads altogether, then it’s like I think you’re saying I’m not even giving them a chance to earn anything, in a way. Is that weird?

Merlin: No. Do you have a Tivo?

Dan: No, I would like to get one of the new ones, though.

Merlin: Yeah, I do. I mean, I really like 30 Rock, but I don’t watch the commercials.

Dan: Yeah, we do have a DVR, we don’t have a Tivo. You probably meant a DVR. But I thought the Tivo has a thing that lets you skip commercials automatically. Or is that gone?

Merlin: You can set that up. I like using the, I like the tab. I think you can set up the tab to do that, but. I don’t know. I’m just being kind of a devil’s advocate because I think when you say we have a special perspective on this you’re right. And that special perspective is we like our ads and not other people’s. We pretend to like other people’s ads, but the truth is it’s a really easy way to make money.


The apples are shit, Ollie. They’re shit.