Adblockers and the Moral Compass

I've been watching this very public reversal on the ad blocker Peace by my favorite podcast client author with great interest. Personally I am not sure where I stand on the whole ad blocking thing; while the best argument I've heard against them is from my partner Josh who likens ads to micropayments for content in this pithy tweet, they have also become next to unbearable on network constrained touch devices. Publishers gotta eat and all that but users are being punished for the fact that mobile ads still haven't been figured out.

What I find more interesting about the pulling of the ad blocker (which I bought) is the online reaction of people who feel that they are somehow being duped by Marco for buying something he pulled. While he could have shown a little bit more foresight in launching an ad blocker, it feels like most of the pundits forget the sheer pleasure an engineer gets from working with something new and figuring stuff out along the way. This is the intoxicating high often labeled as "hacking on something" and can often keep one from thinking things through.

However the moment he realized it didn't sit well with his moral compass, he pulled the app. Full stop. Not only is this his right but also something we should be applauding instead of criticizing. All too often we who live in the startup world have to content with people whose ethics bend towards the gravitational pull of self interest and this willingness to forego the fruits of his labor is a welcome respite from that.