Announcing EthicalAds

Eric Holscher, David Fischer
Announcing EthicalAds

We're excited to announce the release of EthicalAds, a privacy-focused ad network for developers. We think advertising is one of the best ways to fund open source development, and we have first hand experience. Ethical advertising was first created to make Read the Docs, our own open source project, sustainable. We're now bringing ethical ads to other developers.

We've found that privacy preserving ads are a win for both developers and advertisers. Advertisers are able to target developers on the sites they frequent without being blocked. Developers trust our ads because our code is open source, and we're developers ourselves.

The background

Ethical advertising as a concept was something we originally conceived for Read the Docs back in 2016. We were an open source project trying to find sustainability, and advertising was the answer we knew we needed. We knew our users cared about privacy, so we decided to build the most privacy-focused ad solution we could. We have been working on building a sturdy business around advertising ever since.

As we started building this vision, we were inspired to see CodeFund adopt our ideals and push them forward. We were sad when we heard CodeFund was shutting down on July 1 of this year. We talked with Eric Berry at CodeFund, deciding to launch our network in beta to provide a smooth transition for the people depending on that money each month.

We've spent the last month onboarding over 50 publishers. Developers have already earned more than $5,000 since we launched. We're excited to officially announce that we're open for additional publishers and advertisers.

Our vision

Ethical ads respect users while still providing value to advertisers. The vision is pretty simple:

  • We don’t track you or sell your data
  • We only make money showing ads, so our interests are fully aligned
  • We target ads based on the content of the current page, not your past browsing history
  • We are as transparent in our business as possible
  • We only show high quality ads from companies that are of interest to developers.

As we talked about in our 2018 blog post: ethical advertising works. We're thrilled to be able to bring our vision of advertising to a larger audience, and help fund open source without compromise. Our entire ad server is open source, so you can inspect how we're doing things. We believe strongly in open source, and we practice what we preach.

Join us

We are planning to grow slowly in the near term, making sure that everything we've built is ready for new demands. We've already learned a number of lessons in the last month, and we want to make sure our ads work well for everyone.

Ethical advertising is our vision for the future of internet advertising, and we hope that you'll join us. We have space for additional publishers and advertisers, and look forward to building something meaningful with you:

Get our stories delivered

Want more privacy-focused advertising updates in your inbox?
Sign up for our newsletter.

Your email, after you confirm it, will be stored with Mailchimp who handles this newsletter