Deano’s answer to: “Couldn’t Facebook and Twitter charge users a very small annual fee to immediately generate massive cash flow?”

The question assumes that it’s an either-or situation. I think Gmail provides a great counterexample for how a paid Facebook might work.

I see it as entirely possible that, once Facebook growth starts to level off, they could “take a few more users off the table” by offering a paid, ad-free alternative for anyone still on the fence. In fact, they’d still be collecting massive amounts of information that could be exploited by advertisers off-site, simply suppressing display of ads to end users WHILE THEY ARE ON FACEBOOK.

Another option would be to simply charge users to opt out of sharing certain data – that is, to basically say that participation in the various information sharing aspects of Facebook is the core business and utility, and required for free use.

The real question is, what would be a fair price to opt-out in that case… Perhaps they could even use variable pricing, and allow users to effectively “buy out” their own display inventory based on how much said user is worth, and which features they wish to turn off? How cool would it be to see the “real cost” of blocking Farmville notifications from my stream? 😉

Either option (or one of several others one could imagine) would pose an opportunity to potential competitors to offer a truly “free” solution; but given that (a) most existing users would simply continue to use the ad-supported version, and (b) migrating from Facebook to another option would be time consuming and difficult, it is unlikely that even such a “mistake” would have a big impact on Facebook market share…

In fact, by offering both “free” and “paid” versions, it’s also possible that Facebook might be able to make inroads with individuals and organizations who currently ban the use of Facebook over privacy and security concerns.

Would I pay $50/year for an ad-less Facebook, as I currently do for Google Apps Premium? If it meant that advertisers no longer had automated access to my home address, then YES, I would happily do so

This answer originally appeared on Quora: Couldn’t Facebook and Twitter charge users a very small annual fee to immediately generate massive cash flow?

Deano’s answer to: “Is using an ad blocker in your browser unethical?”

From an internet user’s POV:

There was a time several years ago that I religiously installed adblockers and flash blockers at every machine I used. Ads themselves had gotten way out of control, and were very annoying to deal with. So I killed them all.

Then, maybe the last 2-4 years, ads normalized a bit, and seemed to “get” that they were getting too crazy, and pulled way back. Fewer annoying popups/popovers/popunders by legit advertisers. Perhaps native browser support for blocking being more widespread led to a sort of truce between browsers and advertisers? I got lazy with blocking, and just let things lie. I even, now and then, found ads I actually clicked on, as targeting has improved.

Anyway, within the last two years, full page skippable ads, float-in and mouseover ads are getting a lot more common again. They’re more relevant, they don’t slow my machine down as much as before, but they’re still interfering with my experience of some of the major websites out there… As a result, I tend to visit those sites a bit less, to filter them via rss feeds, or even just rely on friends and followers to surface interesting content via FB/Twitter.

If things progress any further the way they’re going, I’ll be back to blocking ads. Certainly, I’d at least like more random ads – retargeting tends to show me the same 4-5 ads on a given site over and over again. I may not look like much of a quilted lingerie wearer, but maybe I need a gift for grandma? Anything but more survival knives and weight loss advice. Please.

As a sometimes-advertiser, I honestly don’t see anything unethical about adblocking – it’s just another consumer signal, that basically says “I hate your ad!” It makes me get more creative, both to enthrall those who don’t block ads, and to come up with alternate, less-spammy means to reach the adblocked parts of my target market. How I do that is a story for another day, but suffice to say that by and large people are willing to give you time and attention, even when you’re selling things on the Internet, so long as you respect that time given, and in general the intelligence of such consumers. Those who do neither, deserve to get every last one of their annoying flash monstrosities blocked.

This answer originally appeared on Quora: Is using an ad blocker in your browser unethical?