Ad Blocking and the Future of the Internet

Original author: Jeffrey Zeldman
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Your site may soon become a victim of war between the rulers of Silicon Valley. Having turned on ad blocking in iOS9, Apple is not going to specifically close your or my site - just like the development of UAVs is not aimed at civilians and children. Apple is focusing on fighting its longtime rival Google, providing a more elegant way to enjoy the web than aggressive ad networks can. A great example of how you can act in your own interests without dirtying your hands at the same time. Will independent ad-serving sites suffer with Google?

Oceania ALWAYS fought with Ostasia

One could already get used to the war between the digital giants. IPhone and iPad users can share their experiences with Amazon. Please note that you cannot buy a book in the Kindle app for iOS. Apple supports Amazon to the extent that it can distribute its software on iOS. But if you want to buy a book for the Kindle, you need to open the browser on the desktop (or on the smartphone). This encourages you to buy digital books through iBooks.

Same thing with Amazon's video app on iOS. You can stream all movies, but you can't buy them through Amazon Video. You have to use a browser. Stimulates purchases of movies through iTunes.

You also cannot buy books and videos in the Amazon shopping app for iOS, although everything else is possible.

Since Amazon does not want to share sales profits with Apple, Apple does not allow Amazon to sell its products in applications. Apple claims that since all sellers pay tribute to it, then Amazon should not be free. And Amazon stands firm in a position that does not allow sharing of profits, since Amazon is a ruthless rival that defeated almost all online stores in the United States through innovations in service and delivery, while providing users with the lowest price. And this leaves no opportunity to share with Apple. And the same low-price policy strangles companies that sell products on Amazon. Something like this.

Amazon refuses to share profits with Apple, Apple blocks sales for merchants who do not share profits, and as a result, Apple bans Amazon from selling products through iOS. And who is suffering? You, the user who has to put off the smartphone and go to the desktop. Or do nothing. This, of course, is not the worst thing that can happen to you. But this policy goes against the interests of users, and casts a shadow on both Amazon and Apple.

Naturally, Amazon’s videos cannot be watched through Apple TV, and you cannot watch videos purchased from Apple iTunes on Amazon Fire TV without jumping through a few (possibly illegal) hoops. Since the days of Microsoft’s dominance on desktops in the 90s, technical and media companies have not seen success as a “surviving the fittest” competition in which the user suffers.

But we are already used to it and don’t think about it.

Ad blocking is another matter entirely.

At first glance, ad blocking seems like a completely different matter. Customers, of course, may want to buy a book through the Kindle app, but hardly anyone wants to see more advertising. And media companies with advertisers themselves are responsible for the terrible experience that we have received from online advertising. We hate her so much that we are used to not looking at the top or right of the site. Even designers use a trick in which the SEO link is located at the top of the side menu, where no one but the SEO will see it. Screen pop-ups and other nightmarish techniques have led to hate and ignore ads.

Yes, there are stylish ad networks. The Deck produces one, small, tasteful, and appearing in the subject, one ad per page. By launching The Deck, we hoped that other networks would be inspired by it and would find a way to increase engagement without creating clutter on the pages. But, of course, the networks went the opposite way - to constantly interrupt the flow of content in order to cram the user with uninteresting advertising.

Experienced users have long been accustomed to third-party ad blockers, and applications like Readability demonstrate alternative models for displaying content, increasing font size and removing garbage from pages. I was a member of a panel of experts in this project. I traveled around the world telling designers that if we don’t find a way to create readable and non-cluttered pages for sites, applications like Readability will do it for us. At the same time, they will deprive us of work and remove ads, thereby blocking the flow of profits in media companies. And many smart website owners have found a way to bring content to first place. The best of them (The New York Times), very elegantly integrated ads into pages. These pages have a large font, they are concentrated on the content and are designed so that they are easy to read.

But advertisers do not like to be ignored, and they experience euphoria from the abundance of personal data - from what Google and other networks actually sell. Advertising is almost a by-product. What companies need to know - what antiperspirant women from the age group of 25 to 34 are likely to acquire after watching the series House of Cards. And this leads us to questions of privacy, surveillance, and the state’s invasion of privacy, and we’d better not talk about it.

And while it is almost impossible to go to sites so heavily overloaded with inaccurate advertising, Apple looks heroic, offering everyone newspaper content without ads, and blocking ugly ads on sites. But if they succeed, will the media companies and independent sites survive?

Discord product

Apple’s actions would not have been so important if most of the users were sitting at their desktops, reading the news and buying gifts. But most people already use mobile computers - including, and to browse the web.

That is why, in The Verge, Nilai Patel claims that by attacking Google, Apple could damage the entire web:
A side effect of the war, in which Apple set its sights on Google’s revenue platform, will inevitably affect the entire web and every small publisher on the network who cannot invest in their own platform for product distribution, built-in advertising and other things necessary for the distribution of products. In this war, we will drown in the blood of independent publications. Leaking money and attention from the network will mean that the speed of network innovation will be appallingly slow.

John Grubber has a different opinion:
Apparently, the income of the Daring Fireball project will not be affected by the blocking of ads by Safari, and this confirms that in the last ten years I did everything right: I put the interests of my readers above everything and published only the advertisement that I myself would like to use, even if it meant lost profits. But I am not at all pleased to recognize that publications like The Awl will suffer from this. But they are smart enough to adapt.

In my other article, I examined the conflict between advertising and content through the prism of speed. There I pointed out the fact that most users interact with the web from mobile devices - and this means that everything happens through mobile networks - and this means a severe limitation of bandwidth. Therefore, the performance of sites plays such an important role that it has not played for many years. And while good designers and developers are trying more than ever to create fast sites, garbage advertising networks roughly interfere with their work and slow down the work of sites. And this threatens the future of the network, as users will blame the web for slow work, and go to applications. At the same time, one cannot simply eliminate these advertising networks, because money from advertising is the engine of digital publications; no dough - no content.

Well, Apple decided everything for us. It may not be possible to remove these ad networks - but this is already happening. How will this affect your site?

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