Am I saying you should refrain from using an ad blocker? No. But consider offsetting your act of disobedience with an act of affirmative support. Vote with your wallet. Put some money behind the writing you like—whether it’s a website or a magazine or a newspaper. “But such-and-such website won’t let me pay for it.” Then discover something new.
Alternatives to ad-supported websites, software, and publications.
- No Meat Athlete – Plant-based diets and fitness.
- The Borrowed Abode – DIY and interior design for renters.
- The Minimalists – Living a meaningful life with less.
- Zen Habits – Practical advice for developing positive habits.
- FastMail – Reliable business email with no data lock-in.
- Jami – Telephone, teleconferencing, and media sharing through a distributed service.
- Jitsi Meet – Secure video conferencing and desktop sharing using WebRTC.
- ProtonMail – Free encrypted email.
- Signal – Private messaging and calling for desktop, Android, and iOS.
- Telegram – Cloud-based mobile and desktop messaging app with a focus on security and speed.
- Tox – Encrypted and distributed messaging platform with voice, video, and screen sharing.
- Wire – Text, audio, and video communication with end-to-end encryption.
- Write.as – Blogging platform that allows you to publish ideas without distraction.
- Mega – 50 GB of secure free storage. Files are encrypted client-side.
- qBittorrent – Free and open source BitTorrent client.
- Amaze File Manager – Open source, Material Design file explorer for Android devices.
- Bible – Bible reader with many versions and languages to choose from.
- Simple Mobile Tools – Open source Android utilities: gallery, contacts, calendar, and more.
- Libre.fm – Stream, download, remix, and share music for free.
- mStream – Suite of software for syncing and streaming music across multiple devices.
- Disroot – Collection of ethical alternatives to email, cloud storage, collaborative document editing, and more.
- Adbusters – Magazine about the takeover of psychological, physical, and cultural environments by commercial forces.
- Aeon – Digital magazine that publishes original thinking on science, philosophy, society, and the arts.
- Armstrong Economics – Educational blog about markets and the global economy.
- Common Dreams – Progressive news website.
- Consumerist – Independent source of consumer news and information.
- Ello – Media platform for creators and artists that does not sell user data.
- Popular Resistance – Independent, nonviolent, and diverse movements to end the power of concentrated wealth and put human needs before corporate greed.
- RealSport – Fans write articles on football, basketball, cricket, e-sports, motorsports, and most other sports out there. This site is committed to maintaining an experience free of pop-ups, fake news, click-bait, and ads.
- The Conversation – High quality, authenticated, explanatory journalism funded by universities.
- OpenStreetMap – Map of the world created by users and released under an open license.
- Wikipedia – Encyclopedia that anyone can edit.
- Wiktionary – Dictionary that anyone can edit.
- Weather.gov – Weather reports for places in the United States.
- Are.na – Visual platform to help you think about and organize online content.
- diaspora* – Feeds, likes, profiles, and tags; you are in control of your data.
- GNUsocial.no – Allows users to connect and share with each other; expenses are covered by donations.
- Libranet – Popular site running friendica, a federated Facebook-style social network.
- Lobsters – Simple link aggregation site with explanations required to downvote.
- Manyverse – Off the grid social network.
- Mastodon – Decentralized microblogging platform similar to Twitter.
- PixelFed – Essentially Instagram without ads, trackers, or modified timelines.
- Etherpad – Collaborative document editing in real-time.
- ProtectedText – Online encrypted notepad with storage and no sign up.
- Add-Art – Replaces ads with art.
- uBlock Origin – General-purpose blocker that removes ads and privacy-invading trackers by default.
Note: Avoid Adblock Plus because corporations pay to have their ads whitelisted and uBlock (unrelated to the project above) because it solicits excessive donations and has what could be considered “ads” on its own site.
- A Call for Revolt: Advertising is the Anti-Minimalism – Opt-out of the advertising game.
- Can We Have an Honest Conversation About Advertisements?
- Clean City Law: Secrets of São Paulo Uncovered by Outdoor Advertising Ban
- Conscious Success – Explores the idea of conscious success rather than accidental success, using ads as an example.
- Criticism of Advertising on Wikipedia – Overview of common criticisms of advertising.
- Human Ad Block: A Tutorial – Creative ways to block ads in public.
- Public Spaces – Artist imagines what it would be like if we could have a real life ad blocker.
- Saying Goodbye to $100K Per Year in Easy Income – Story of a blogger who chose a better way to make a living.
- Vote With Your Wallet, Not Your Ad Blocker – Paying for ad-free services casts a bigger vote.
- What If There Were No Ads – Daily life described in an ad-free world.
- Why no advertising? – Through the perspective of the perfect-world ideal.
These business don’t advertise yet are successful.
- Gandi – Domain registrar with a No Bullshit policy.
- Kakulas Legal – Law firm that you won’t find in the yellow pages.
- Polyface Farms – Environmentally-friendly farm that relies on word of mouth to reach customers.
- Anti-Advertising Agency – Calls into question the purpose and effects of advertising in public space.
- Brandalism – International street art collective that subverts advertising in urban space.
- Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight – Defending the urban landscape of Los Angeles from a proliferation of billboards.
- Digital Public Library Project – Promotes a Digital Public Library system that can replace advertising funded media.
- Résistance à l’Agression Publicitaire – French organization fighting the advertising system and its negative effects.
Make Money Without Ads
- Flattr – Browser add-on that distributes a monthly budget to websites you engage with the most.
- Liberapay – Open source recurring donations platform.
- OpenCollective – Enables groups to set up a collective, raise funds, and manage them transparently.
- Patreon – Recurring funding for artists and creators on either a monthly basis or per creation.
No longer maintained
- No More Ads – Practical advice for an ad-free internet. (Wayback Machine archive)
- Voltra – DRM-free music listening and discovery software that supports artists directly.
- Art Not Ads – Artists creating change in the urban landscape, but not by going after the ads themselves. (Wayback Machine archive)
- Goblin Refuge – Video and image sharing service powered by MediaGoblin. (Wayback Machine archive)