It's an ethical dilemma. There are several sites on the web which I visit daily and which I'm really grateful for. They're sites like Blotanical which let me publicise my own sites, meet people and have fun. I feel I "know" the owners - we've emailed, collaborated on various projects, and as far as you can tell from a web personality, I think they're great.
But their sites aren't there just to provide a service for other people. They're also there to make money. All of them are complex, and involve the owners in a lot of work - and it's the ads on the site which pay for that work.
Because I want to say thank you, I feel I should click occasionally. After all, it's only a second of my time and if I don't, I'm just exploiting the service without giving anything in return.
But ninety nine times out of a hundred, I'm not really interested in the products I see advertised. And even the hundredth time, I know I'm not going to buy. It's just curiousity.
So whatever I do (or don't do) I feel I'm ripping someone off. The site owners if go on using the site without clicking, but the advertisers, who still have to pay for my click, if I click without real intention to buy.
My answer so far has been to look and see if something really catches my eye, and if I'm genuinely interested, even if only for information, to click. After all, who knows? Even if I don't buy now, maybe I will in the future. Or maybe I'll mention it to someone who will. Isn't that how advertising usually works?
There are other ways to "give back" of course, which don't involve clicking on ads. Like promoting the sites on mine, which I'll always willingly do. But I'm still uneasy.
And you? What do you do?