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Tab For A Cause: Slacktivism or What?

Discussion in 'General Discussions' started by martian, May 28, 2015.

  1. martian

    martian Server Monkey Staff Member

    So I came across this thing called tab for a cause.

    Tab for a Cause

    (Full disclosure: that's a referral link -- it earns me bonus "hearts" which represent charity donations.)

    I'm not quite sure what to make of it yet. It allegedly supports charity by beautifying your new tab page (and sticking ads on it) and then using the advertising proceeds to pay for charity. They've apparently raised over $135 000 to date with this scheme, and turned my new tab page from the default Chrome one to this:

    Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 9.19.11 PM.png

    I'm pretty skeptical about stuff that says I can save the world without getting off the couch or giving anything up. At the same time, they've got some pretty bold claims on their website that I feel like they couldn't make if it weren't true. According to their financial statements (here) they raised a little over $20k for charity in Q1 2015. That's not a huge amount but it's nothing to sneeze at.

    What are peoples' thoughts on these kinds of things? Is it all a scam? Am I a fool for believing their claims, even with actual specific numbers?
  2. Lindy

    Lindy Moderator Staff Member


    Must absolutely everything on the web turn into yet another venue or channel for advertising???

    I really don't care whether it's a scam, or the real deal.

    Anything that adds more ads;) to my already over-ad filled online experience gets a thumbs down automatically, regardless of whatever good cause or charity it purports to serve.

    Advertising serves no master save itself.

    I'll contribute to the charities and causes that I choose, thank you.

    At least I can still open an Excel spreadsheet without being assailed by advertising.

    So far.
  3. martian

    martian Server Monkey Staff Member

    That's an interesting take on it.

    I think of advertising as serving a useful purpose: ie, paying for shit that I like enough to use but don't like enough to pay for. Youtube is an example; I like Youtube, but if it were a subscription service I probably wouldn't have it. And if I didn't have it I'd miss out on a lot of great content. So Youtube has ads and I'm not necessarily a fan of them, especially when they stick a 30 second pre-roll on a 40 second video, but I get that Youtube gots to pay the bills and if stealing 30 seconds of my time is how they do that then I guess that's what it takes. Same goes for banner ads on Reddit or sponsored links on Google or whatever. So long as it's not obtrusive in a manner out of line with the content I'm okay with it. The sites that have really obnoxious ads like autoplaying videos on text pages are the ones that drive me up the wall, and I just don't go to those sites which solves that problem handily.

    So, y'know. If sticking a couple of banners I'll probably never look at on a page I rarely look at to begin with means someone over in Uganda gets clean drinking water, well, I don't see that as a particular burden. I mean, if it's a way to help someone obtain the literal essence of life I feel like I don't have a ton of room to sit here and whine about "waah, the advertising is everywhere" or whatever entitled crap it is. If too many banner ads are the worst of my problems I'm doing pretty fuckin' okay.

    I'm less inclined to be tolerant of advertising that either doesn't benefit something I enjoy or want to benefit, or goes out of it's way to be obnoxious and get my attention. The first, practically speaking, is hard to enforce since the money changing hands is so far abstracted from me, but in this case if it isn't true it's at least a very convincing lie. I'm still inherently skeptical that I can help by doing nothing but it's not like it costs me anything or harms me in any tangible way. The second is the real dealbreaker but doesn't seem to be the case here.
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  4. martian

    martian Server Monkey Staff Member

    There is, of course, a flip side to that whole argument. I tend to be of the opinion that it's not worth getting worked up over minor inconveniences. Like, maybe I have to deal with a lot of ads on the internet and maybe my internet is fast but it's not really, really fast and wah wah first world problems; but I have several little knobs in my home that when I twist them clean, cold, potable water just falls out of a pipe and I can drink it and bathe in it and even just throw it away if that's what I want to do and that's pretty fucking remarkable in a world where so many people don't have access to clean, potable water period so maybe I shouldn't complain. But it's equally valid to say that the suffering of those people doesn't invalidate my complaints. Ads are irritating and continue to be irritating whether other people have clean drinking water or not. So I guess ultimately it's a question of where that line exists; like, is it fair to say that I don't particularly want to subject myself to ads for the potential benefit of some vague unspecified other who may or may not be getting access to clean water due to my suffering the ads, where they otherwise wouldn't have it. And maybe given the vague and indeterminate nature of the benefit provided it's reasonable to say no, I don't want to do that.

    So there are really two perspectives and I get both of them. I still don't think it's a big ask but I can understand why someone else might.
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