AdBlocking and Free Internet

There is an interesting discussion on Slashdot, reflecting what Bennie Smith (of Double Click) has previously said, about the end of free Internet contents when advertising blocking get included in web browsers as standard feature.

I used to hate banner ads, popup/pop-under ads and even Javascript text ads that I will try to avoid if I can. I have ad-blocking regular expression filtering installed on my Squid proxy, plus AdBlock installed on Mozilla to completely eliminate JS/Flash ads. However, is that stealing, as I have taken away the opportunity cost of the advertisers and content providers? It strikes closer to home as I am about to launch a new site in the next few weeks (not related to FOCUS), which will be my first site with Google's AdSense, and through selling the advertisement I can hopefully recover some of the operational costs on this server.

The reason I say "opportunity cost" is, advertising only brings in revenue if the user makes a click-through, as most ad agencies are paying on a click through rate. With this point of view, I can safely say that I have never and probably will not steal any revenue from an ad-serving content site, as I never click on a banner ad. But I guess each individual varies. Banner ads survive - because they bring in enough revenue to both the advertiser and the content provider - because people do click through them and make purchase.

Do you click-though banner ads and make purchase? Do you block them using a proxy or browser filter? What's your view on the ethics of blocking the ads? Would you spend that much time on-line, if suddenly all the worth-reading content sites now demand subscription? That's to be discussed.