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How online ads work and what sites must do to make them better

The CEO of Vox Media discusses online ads

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As someone whose paycheck in some part comes from ad revenue, talking about online advertising can feel complicated. At their worst, digitals ads are annoying, intrusive, and for those of us with modest data plans, costly. Ads also provide revenue for the majority of websites — including this one — allowing visitors to read, watch, and listen to news and entertainment free of cash payment.

This month, a conversation about the merits and value of online ads came to a boil when Apple began allowing the sale of apps that block ads from appearing in Safari on mobile devices. Plenty of people have discussed whether ad blockers are morally dubious or ethically mandatory, but I want to learn more about how online ads work and why — like editorial — they range in quality and purpose.

So, I invited Vox Media's CEO Jim Bankoff to explain online ads, and how we handle them at The Verge and our other sites.

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