Ad Blockers and the Nuisance at the Heart of the Modern Web – The New York Times

But in the long run, there could be a hidden benefit to blocking ads for advertisers and publishers: Ad blockers could end up saving the ad industry from its worst excesses. If blocking becomes widespread, the ad industry will be pushed to produce ads that are simpler, less invasive and far more transparent about the way they’re handling our data — or risk getting blocked forever if they fail.

I use ad blockers. The web has turned into a trashy repository of content surrounded by aggressive ads. It’s worse on mobile, where you can’t (yet) easily use ad blockers (though iOS 9 will allow such utilities). I often tap through to an article someone has linked to on Twitter, when using my iPhone or iPad, only to find so many ads that it’s simply impossible to read. I close the page and move on. If content publishers want readers, they need to respect them, not just sell space to trashy ads, especially Google ads.

Source: Ad Blockers and the Nuisance at the Heart of the Modern Web – The New York Times

3 thoughts on “Ad Blockers and the Nuisance at the Heart of the Modern Web – The New York Times

  1. I laugh every time this topic comes up. Nobody every even talks about the other side of internet advertising — but I realize you, Kirk, have mentioned it before — and that’s the ability for cybercriminals to substitute malware or phishing delivery ads in place of seemingly authentic ones.

    Anyway, internet advertising is also called “Screen Spam” and twenty years ago the Design & Publishing Center ran a survey of more than 6,000 readers and they all said that one of the ways “You know your web page sucks…” is if there’s an ad on it. I tested that theory again, in the Designers Lounge on LinkedIN, and you guessed it : once again, ads on web pages were voted among the top ten reasons your web page sucks.

    But here’s a short take on a long story :

    Sometime around 1994, when most everyone was still using 2800 baud dial-up, web advertising was in its infancy and was a true bandwidth hog. In those days, a 12K web page was considered obese. My partner, a UNIX programmer, and I knew a number of small town ISP owners who were really having problems purveying the “new” thwart of online advertising. So we invented and built a server that would REPLACE the ads coming down the pipeline with ads that the local guy could sell to local businesses. After all, an ad for the local hardware store is much better than ads for big national firms, or advertisers nobody would ever buy from. It was beautiful. Because the advertising industry was establishing “standards” the ads were easy to parse and replace — and the ISP could sell the space and raise revenue to expand equipment, etc.

    It was such a good idea we decided to market these servers. I made a post to an ISP newsgroup and some guy from an advertising newsgroup passed it along to the ad group and I was flamed and skewered for breaking the law. I took it to a patent legal firm, and a judge who both ruled it’s NOT illegal because the ISP owns the equipment, and the “internet” purveyed by that ISP is actually a PRIVATE wide area network. (The public could not get on unless they paid, thus making it ‘private.’) So it would be fully legal for the ISP to have control over the signal which passed through his machines, and to sell ads to replace the ads coming down the line since they provided NO revenue for squatting on his equipment.

    Isn’t that funny! That would never fly in today’s politically correct world. My how people change!.

    Thanks Kirk!

    Fred Showker

  2. Agreed. I’m amazed at how little the average user of websites knows or cares about the privacy implications of the ads and ad trackers used today. I hope some day there will be a backlash against these trackers, not just the ads. I’m not holding my breath, though.

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