Bring civilisation to advertising on the web
So, an editor at thenextweb.com is complaining about adblocking killing revenue for websites.
He’s right of course. Partially.
Websites do need income to run the cost of hardware and any paid employees, no arguement there, but incorporate those in a civilised manner and not many will complain and feel the need to block.
The most common reason for people starting to use adblockers in the beginning were pop-ups, pop-unders, advertising with sound and video.
Advertisers have no business opening up browser windows without the user’s permission in the first place. It’s like putting billboards on the lawn just as someone was enjoying the weather outside.
They also have no business blasting sound out of my speakers. What if someone was browsing the web while the baby finally got to sleep? Or the spouse? Thank you for waking them up.
Using video is completely distracting, not to mention the bandwidth cost for people on slow lines. They’d have to wait for the ad to finish downloading before being able to get to the content. I even noticed the nextweb page constantly pulling data from three other domains.
Then there’s the question of privacy with the constant tracking (as an example thenextweb.com page links to 21 other domains via several more according to noscript). Not to mention it’s worthless to show advertising for products that have already been bought or have no relation to the content of the website.
The latest reason for blocking advertising networks is the security risk of malware being spread through it. We’ve had plenty of unlucky customers that needed a thorough cleanup or re-install of their computer because they got hit with a virus.
And if it’s not malware often useless optimisers or fake security software is shown to scam people out of their money.
All in all plenty of legitimate reasons to block advertising.
And the only reaction to these complaints is more sneaky ways of throwing ads into our faces. When I first loaded the above mentioned page I got the idea something was wrong as I only saw a large advert and I almost closed the tab thinking I’m never going to read thenextweb.com.
A proposed solution
What would be better? Take an example of the first days of Google. People flocked to them because they got tired of pages full of ads at the other search engines. There were ads, but simple text ones. And they even work in the browser of my choice, Links2!
The reason I use Links2 most of the time is to get rid of the useless fluff and intrusing adverts and just get to the content of the webpage. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no adblocker for this browser and I don’t need one. Do I see adverts? Yes, when they are part of the basic webpage. Do I mind? Not at all. Those are usually related to my interest in the content of the page.
For everything else there is Firefox with the noscript addon.
Go back to simple static adverts like pictures and text. They can still be hosted by external sites so the advertising industry can get their metrics. Security is a lot better when only specific types are allowed like .jpg, .png, etc..
People can read the content of pages without going through hoops and constant distraction and be more willing to return to the website.
It’ll be a while before advertisers grow up and stop trying to squeeze adverts into every second of our lives though.