Last year (2018) I began to work on a new way for people to run ads on their sites called Ads From Source. My main ambition behind the project was to build a privacy friendly, reasonable, yet still functional ad mechanism. The intended target were people who are privacy conscious and wanted to offer their service, blog, etc. for free; made possible by ads.
I’ve managed to implement quite a large part of the service. You could set up multiple properties, with multiple advertising slots each. Define availability, minimum & maximum duration, etc. As property owner you had full control over who can advertise on your site. No more low quality ads, only ones relevant to your users or readers. Ads that look like they fit to the design of your page. Best of all, the advertisers would pay you directly (minus a small service fee) and you could set your own prices!
This all sounds great and admirable, why stop?
Every once in a while, a thought kept creeping up on me: Do I really want to build something in the ad space? In the beginning I pushed the thought away. Arguing I am contributing something positive to the space. My implementation would be super, from a moralistic point of view. And allow like-minded people to benefit from it. So I kept going. Until it all came to a halt at the end of last year/beginning of this one.
I just couldn’t push the thought away anymore. Despite my efforts to try and build the most respectful & least privacy invading ad tech I just didn’t feel comfortable in the space anymore. The answer to ‘Do I really want to build something ad related?’ became a clear No. I’ve never liked ads much. I understand their necessity, I get why the insane amount of tracking is happening. I just don’t agree with it and I don’t want any part in it. I’d rather work on something else.
Listen to your feelings
But it wasn’t so clear cut. While I can now pin-point the moment in hindsight, it took me quite a while to actually decide to stop working on Ads From Source. For several weeks I tried to continue work, but couldn’t get into it. I didn’t know why. I thought something was wrong with me. Why can’t I work, why am I always procrastinating, refreshing Twitter 500 times a minute. While a feeling was there, the actual realisation – that I don’t want to do this anymore – wasn’t immediately obvious to me. It took me quite a while. Going forward I hope to keep a closer eye to what I’m feeling. Feelings are a good indicator that something is going on (good or bad) and should prompt me (and you) to investigate further.
Once I decided to quit I felt better immediately.
That decision has been a while ago now and I’ve had time to think and reflect. I’m not done making awesome tools to help others be successful. The page you are currently on has a hint on what I am doing next 😉, more details on that another time.