Why would a browser user want to block ads from websites? After all, everyone knows that ads pay the freight for mostly free content. Ad blocking could be considered risky behavior with long term, unintended consequences. Websites die without revenue. Advertising helps to keep the lights on and food on the table.
A number of Apple oriented websites have disappeared in recent years, thanks to a massive shift in online advertising. Remember Apple Matters? The last entry was 2011. Remember Mac News Network? It shut down over a year ago. Others may follow thanks to a growing trend among website viewers. Ad blockers.
Is it legal to block ads in Safari or whatever browser you choose? Yes. And, no. And, it depends. A court in Germany says ad blockers are A-OK. Another court said ad blockers cannot charge websites for whitelisting a site. Ad blocker usage is a growing phenomenon. Even Apple allows ad blockers on Safari on the Mac, but also on iPhone and iPad. Even on our website, BohemianBoomer, about 30-percent of all visitors have an active ad blocker.
What’s the problem?
Advertisers. They became too greedy and took advantage of a website’s ability to capture and track readers. Each ad could and does spawn many different trackers, and over the course of a few years, a website page with perhaps 150k of content became a 5MB monstrously slow download. That frustration spawned the growth and use of ad blockers.
Advertisers and websites have only themselves to blame. And Google. As the largest of online advertisers, Google is among the worst players because it also uses analytics to track website visitors. That, combined with its own advertising system and willingness to partner with a growing number of third party advertising networks has helped to push website revenue into the gutter. So, websites picked up more advertisers and displayed ever more ads, and you know the rest of the story. Readers became tired of slow downloads and constant ad gimmicks and rebelled.
Even Apple saw the handwriting on the wall and now allows Safari on iPhone and iPad to contain ad blockers. About half of all of Google’s mobile advertising revenue comes from Apple’s iPhone and iPad customers, so the trend toward ever more ad blockers means Google, advertisers, and websites have been hurt by these changes.
Enter the no-tracker group. There are not many of us but what we’re doing we think is the best way to handle advertising. Note that BohemianBoomer, AppleVillagers, and other Apple-oriented websites have a do-not-track policy. No trackers. No analytics trackers. No advertising trackers. Not even website cookies. Just a few clean and neat ads here and there that are fully relevant to Apple’s customers and our readers.
We’ve noticed a trend. Our website’s pages are easily compressed and load into your browser much faster than almost any other website you visit. Try it yourself. Plus, Boomer has a simple, responsive design so it looks good on a big iMac screen and on the iPhone, and still loads quickly because there are no weighty tracking scripts dragging it down. If you want to see how much tracking goes on while you browse the web, check out the free Safari extension from Ghostery. It’s a jungle out there. And you’re the one being hunted.