Why We’re Anti Advertising (and how we make money as van-lifers)

Home » Why We’re Anti Advertising (and how we make money as van-lifers)

We want your visit to motorhomehobos.com to be as enjoyable as possible. For this reason you’ll never see an advert on our site – unlike most other websites (including travel and other van life blogs like ours).

No Google ads, no Mediavine, nothing.

On this page we’ll explain our (van) life philosophy and tell you why we are anti-advertising. And we’ll also disclose how we make money as van-lifers.

anti advertising: 'error 404 advert not found' on billboard
Image: Id-iom (good photo: shame about the apostrophe, though)

24/7 consumerism: who said we had to keep buying stuff?

Have you noticed how British TV has become more American over the last few years? On the commercial channels (i.e. every channel other than the BBC) adverts are occurring every 10 minutes or so. How did it get like this?

Just when you’re really getting into your reading/watching/listening trance your attention is hijacked…

There you are, enjoying an article, watching a video on YouTube, a programme on TV, or listening to a podcast, when a bloody advert pops up spoiling the ‘flow’ of your experience. We hate that!

Why are products constantly shoved in our faces every few minutes as if we can’t live without them?

Why do we need telling what we should buy?

Adverts as a moral infringement

But adverts don’t just spoil the flow of your experience…

They border on moral infringement…

What right do advertisers have to try to manipulate your attention in that way? What right do they have to play around with your emotions, firing up your desire and yearning to buy their products?

Do we really need telling/showing what car to buy, what shampoo to use, or the latest must-have £500 vacuum cleaner? (We paid £60 for our ‘hoover’ and it’s still going strong 5 years later).

What happened to the idea of working this out for ourselves? When did needs get confused with wants?

We’re like the little kids in the old German fairy tale, led astray by the Pied Piper of Hamelin, never to be seen again. We live in rabbit warrens of consumerism, held captive like the prisoners in Plato’s cave…

Apologies if this video starts with an ad but that’s Google for you!

Is there a way to turn off ads?

But maybe there is something you can do to avoid ads? Sure, you can pay for ‘premium’ subscription services but most of these are still “required to have 2 brief promotional interruptions.” (1)

You pay every month for these subscription channels and still see ads. Surely if you’re paying for a channel (like the BBC TV licence fee) you shouldn’t still be subjected to advertising?

When we see an ad on YouTube we immediately mute the audio then hit the ‘skip ads’ button asap. On TV we’ll switch channels when the ads come on, invariably heading over to the BBC news channel for 4 or 5 minutes then revert back to what we were watching.

Or we’ll record a programme and fast forward through the ads when we watch it back. Anything to avoid ads!

Of course, we could go the whole hog and get rid of the TV altogether or simply refuse to watch commercial channels. We could banish YouTube from our computer screens. We could refuse to surf the ‘net entirely and live a pre-web existence. Can you imagine?

This is one of the reasons us Hobos like the idea of being ‘Flaneurs‘, one step removed from the rat race and the ‘system’, observers of life, wanderers of the road. (2)

Stop your attention being stolen!

If you’re as anti-advertising as we are, you might like to check out the amazing book by Johann Hari, called Stolen Focus: why you can’t pay attention.

Hari argues that big media tech are brainwashing us all to keep buying, buying and then buying some more. Screens (especially so-called smartphones) are destroying our ability to focus and concentrate. We’re dumbing down, ready for the robots of AI to take over.

It’s an amazing book, backed by rigorous scientific research and makes for rather scary reading. The fact is that Big Brother has a profile on you and knows exactly what you like. An ad will be popping up on your screen real soon (but not while you’re on our site, thank goodness).

How we make money without advertising

So, having decided not to use advertising on this site, how do we make any money?

Indeed, if you run an online business or blog and hate ads as much as we do what are your ‘monetisation’ options if you’re not going to use Google or Mediavine adverts? How can you make money?

How we’ve created an ad-free income

So far, we’ve implemented these ‘income streams’…

buy us a coffee: motorhome hobos donation button

A word about affiliate marketing

Let’s just say a couple of things about affiliate links (and occasional banners) you’ll see on some of our pages…

Affiliate banners can look like ads but here’s the thing: all the affiliate links and banners you’ll see on this site are relevant to the content on the page (and not some random product like in a Google ad).

The affiliate products we promote are in some way related to the niche we are in. They are all connected to the reason why you’re visiting our site in the first place: to find out more about motorhomes, road trips, van-life and RV living on a budget.

So, no random ads. Ever!

We hope this goes someway to explaining our ad-free philosophy.

If you like our approach, please consider subscribing to our free monthly newsletter The Freedom Trail. It includes subscriber-only content and is naturally ad-free.

Notes and references:

(1) On the Paramount Plus channel: https://help.paramountplus.com/s/article/Why-am-I-still-seeing-ads-when-streaming-video-on-demand-with-the-Commercial-Free-plan

(2) For an explanation of what it means to be a flaneur visit the excellent (ad-free) website https://www.flaneurlife.com/flaneur-meaning/

(3) For more about The Anti-Advertising Agency please visit https://antiadvertisingagency.com/project/bus-stop-bench-project/

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