No, really, web advertising is broken

Written by  on August 14, 2015 

There’s been a lot of discussion, both on the web and in podcasts, about the broken state of web advertising. On the one hand, you have people who make their livings because of advertising pointing out that without ads, they can’t make money and they can’t provide “free” content to users and that users will not pay for content.

On the other hand you have users who are saying, “No, your ads suck.” And they are right.

I’m not going to rehash everything, but I am going to cover a few point that I’ve heard from both sides.

Without ads, websites can’t exist

This may be true in the large picture, but the fact is that sites load up with many many ads that all detract from their message and drive away users. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, less is more. The sure sign that a website is spiraling in its death throes is when they start piling up more and more ads.

If you don’t like the ads, don’t go to the sites

Sure, if there was a way that I could easily keep track of all the sites putting up annoying ads and if I knew in advance of clicking a link where that link went and whether that was an annoying site, this might be realistic.

Ad-blockers are theft

Well, this is absurd. No one has the right to force an ad on me. I don’t watch them on TV (not since I got my first TiVo in 1999), I don’t read billboards, and I am certainly not going to tolerate them on the web, especially in light that so many of them are actual dangerous in addition to being annoying.

Web ads are dangerous

Web ads are not server by the site you load, they are severed from other servers and those other servers have a long ignoble history of serving up dangerous, malicious, and damaging ads. The vast majority of malware infections right now are coming from ad networks.

Ads with sounds need to die. Now.

Autoplaying video and/or sound is so astonishingly user-hostile it’s remarkable that anyone has ever thought it was a good idea.

Pop-over ads work

Considering the first and only thing I do when I get a pop-over ad is close the window, I doubt they work. Considering the number of people using ad-blockers is inching up to the 50% mark after staying in the under 5% range for years indicated that they piss off user.

People are sick of the pop-overs, pop-unders, flashing logos, animated flash, and interstitial ads.

I went to load some site and it put up an interstitial ad with a 15 second delay. Am I going to stare at an ad for 15 seconds to look at some article that I probably won’t look at for more than 5 seconds?

Nope. Not going to happen.

Sites that don’t insult me or attack me are sites I go to, but the web is huge and I’m not going to simply read the 5 or 6 sites that I know are OK.  I will try to avoid a few sites that are most egregious, but I can’t remember the thousands of sites that are all shoving hundreds of scripts and ads at every page. I can’t remember which pages force a reload all the time so they can up their ad impressions. I can’t remember which sites send 15MB of shit for 600 words of content.

So yeah, until the web fixes their ad problem, I’m going to run any tool I can to prevent this ads from getting to me. And since I control my connection and I control what my computer shows me, there is no way around that for the ad servers. As long as you push shit I don’t want, i will block it and discard it before it gets to my eyes.

Category : Computer

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