[BlogEntry] Are you stingy with your clicks?


The Internet has become such a gift to humanity, but I wonder how aware of this we actually are.

  • My wife got the oil changed in her car, but they put in 10W30 instead of the recommended 5W30. She wanted to know the difference, so she went to Google. How would she have researched this before the web? Go to the library. Try to find a mechanic willing to answer her question.
  • As a developer, I am blown away by the quantity and quality of all the free software out there for the taking. From bottom to top, there is just so much it boggles the mind. Linux, Java, Apache, Tomcat, Eclipse, Spring, Struts, Hibernate, Log4j, JUnit, etc. Look at all the free blogging software! (Thanks, Simon!) As a friend of mine says, we are living in the Golden Age of Software. (It's a GAS, GAS, GAS! <-- That corny part is mine, not his. 🙂
  • Virtually any question that comes up nowadays, I immediately turn to the web, and primarily to Google.

However, I've become aware of the fact that I have been stingy about clicking on links that would benefit the people and sites that make this treasure trove available.

Have you ever avoided buying something on someone's site, because it was through their affiliate link? I have noticed I have a resistance to that.

Do you ignore or avoid Google Ads on peoples' sites? I have.

Now, admittedly, we're all as busy as we can be, writing our own free software or putting our own free information on the web. But it makes sense for us to support all that we benefit from by taking a moment to encourage and reward the effort.

Where would we all be without Google? I rely on Google hundreds of times a week, if not a day. I make use of tutorials and software I find through Google every day of my working life. And while Google is doing quite well in the process, they offer their service to me for free any time I want, as much as I want. When you think about it, that's an unbelievable gift! Sure, they're in it for themselves, but they genuinely enrich my life. (I could go off on a tangent here, singing the praises of capitalism, but I will restrain myself. You're welcome. 🙂

I just went to codehaus.org to download Groovy when I noticed that they have Google Ads on their site. I immediately looked away, as if it has become a reflex to block out all rectangular, revenue-generating portions of a web site — a web site that it giving away a powerful development tool and even the source code for me to use in any way that I please!

This just doesn't make any sense. It costs me virtually nothing to click on a link intended to be relevant to the page I'm on. That click also benefits the owner of the site making something valuable available to me for free. It also benefits Google, and it potentially benefits the advertiser, if I buy what they are selling. And what they are selling may benefit me! Why would it be so automatic for me to ignore or avoid it?

I'm turning over a new leaf. I'm going to start giving back to the sites that give so much to me. I'm going to be more generous with my clicks, in an effort to say thank you for open-sourcing your hard work, thank you for enriching the world wide web, thank you for your generosity.

The more we reward people and companies for providing what we want, the more they'll offer us. (Another nod to capitalism.) I intend to say thank you with my clicks, in order to enrich my own online world. Care to add your clicks to mine?

If you would like to join me in this resolution, please just remember that it is unfair to overdo it. If people start heedlessly clicking on Google Ads or banner ads, it could hurt the advertisers, which would ultimately hurt the providers such as Google. So please be supportive, not abusive.

Here are some of the many sites or products I benefit from daily that ask nothing of me in return for their service:

At the time of this writing, I have no Google Ads or any other revenue-producing banners on this blog. But I reserve the right to add them. 🙂

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