As someone who up to now didn't have an opinion on either Techdirt's or Ars Technica's brands, having read the articles and comments on both sites I can only say that the attitude between the two sites is like light and day. This article just eloquently summarised what I think is wrong with Ars' viewpoint. What Techdirt realises and Ars doesn't is that readers will give you money if you're providing a valuable service and, more importantly, you connect with them and build a relationship and trust.
After reading this article I turned off adblock, and reloaded the page. No difference, that's odd - ah I guess it's my hosts file. I'm not turning that off, I don't like doubleclick tracking me. So I went to the front page and saw a big "CwF" link, with a suspicious looking bit.ly link. Had to be an ad, so figured I'd see if TD actually practise what they preach and have decent ads. Waddayaknow, I actually learned a new business model, laughed at the idea of paying $100MM to shut them up, and signed up to be an "Insider" on the spot.
Way to go Techdirt, and thanks to Ars for making me think about the issue. Hope everyone involve moves on and up.