Part of why I decided to get a Medium membership was so that I could access a selection of articles from paywalled publications like this one instead of having to pay for many individual subscriptions. (Though I do have an active subscription to The Guardian.) But mostly I subscribed because I strongly prefer reading in an ad-free environment.
I hate ads, especially ones that fly over what you’re trying to read. Yes, I know about ad blockers but I don’t use them; I respect that if a publication or other web site chooses to use advertising to fund their work, I should allow those ads to appear. But I’m much less likely to frequent a web site that displays ads in an obtrusive manner.
At 48 I’m old enough to remember life before widespread Internet access, when “sharing” meant photocopying a printed newspaper article to send to a relative, or making a mix tape of your favorite music for a friend, not copying and posting someone else’s creative work (often without giving credit) for millions of strangers to download. Many who are aghast at the idea of paying for online content do not have that perspective. But writers, photographers, musicians, and others creating digital content need and deserve to be paid, and advertising is clearly not doing the job.