Content Blocking and Advertising

The Awl:

Display ads on websites have only grown more aggressive in the last two years, taking up ever-expanding amounts of space, bandwidth, and attention. Interstitials that load as a separate page—or pop-ups, which load over the content and require a click to dismiss—are more popular than ever, especially on mobile; video ads that play automatically, too often with audio, have creeped onto more and more pages, which are themselves so engorged by the number and weight of ads that they take forever to load. And, to fill ad space on their sites, most publishers use third-party networks that often place tracking cookies on each user’s device in order to sop up information that can be used to serve new, more personalized ads, or to collect information that could be aggregated, repackaged, and sold to other marketing agencies.

This website has Google Analytics running, as well as Gravatar if you’re signed in,1 and nothing else. No advertising. Which means I don’t have much by way of skin in the game, but it’s still something that worries me as a user of the internet. I read a lot of online news, and I want to continue being able to do that. Hopefully we’ll see more advertising networks moving towards the style that The Deck does- unobtrusive display ads, plus the occasional in-stream piece that’s clearly marked as an ad. That style definitely works on me, as a customer – I’ve bought several things that I only found out about by seeing them as a ‘sponsored RSS’ link on Daring Fireball.

  1. It’s part of the Jetpack for WordPress extension that powers a few features I use. 

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