… and other stories.
I know quite a large percentage of web surfers have one or another ad-blocking service in place, to reduce the amount of unwanted stuff that chokes connections and pollute screens of all sizes in the name of consumerism. The better ad-blocking services perform wonderfully, but there are problems…
Most sites that push ads profit a little from counting number of visitors an
ad is presented to, and maybe a little more if visitors react on ads by following links.
Business sites profit more substantially from getting us to buy their stuff once the ads have made us visit them. That is of course what drives the advertising business.
The increasingly sofisticated tracking and analysing of individual web surfers' movements and interests across the World Wide Web, turn us all into commodities that are traded back and forth for profit. That is a business all by itself.
Blocking ads and tracking does of course reduce profit for all who rely on this marketing activity. Blocking the “crap” definitely makes life online easier and safer for the rest of us though, and that's the angle I look at ad-blocking from.
It isn't so much ads in themself I dislike, but rather that ads often are
presented in a form intended to really draw attention – to overcome the ad-blindness
most of us have developed after years online. All too often they overshoot the target by a mile.
Flashing stuff and auto-running videos for instance, all of which is making it difficult to focus on the content I came to the site for. No point in revisiting such sites with ad-blockers off.
Ads and tracking also add load on connections, and that matters for those who are paying for downloaded Megabytes. Not an issue on my fixed-price connections, but I can do without the increase in download time.
Some sites block us from accessing them because we are using ad-blocking software. That's
their right, and given the many alternative sites for equivalent information and services it
usually doesn't bother me.
I may pause my ad-blockers to check up on these sites, but they will have to present some extraordinarily unique and interesting content and/or services for me to white-list them more permanently.
Now, it shouldn't matter much if a few web users find reasons to block ads, and that
a few sites block ad-blockers. It is starting to look more and more like an arms race though,
as more and more ads and other intrusions slow down the web to a crawl, more and more web surfers
use ad-blockers (more than 200 million last time I checked), and more and more sites
react by blocking ad-blockers.
Let it continue like this, and the World Wide Web will soon enter a deathspiral that will kill off the information and service channels, as well as the marketplaces and propaganda channels.
Now entire networks are beginning to block ads and tracking from outside,
presumably to form their own “gated communities” on the web where they can control
the traffic and “milk their own cows” without outside interference.
One can only guess where that will end, with more and more “exclusive users” groups. Before we know it these groups will start to exclude each other, and those in control will start trading group-accesses back and forth. In case you wonder: such trade is in full swing already.
Someone better start negotiating a ceasefire before this tug of war between all the many online business models escalates to a point were it runs totally out of control. We will end up with regular web users squeezed from all sides until they drop out, and the World Wide Web gets split up and overloaded with sales-crap till it falls apart.
we are users, not commodities…
We visit web sites for the content and services they offer, and most web surfers will be willing to lower their ad-blocking guard and accept moderate amounts of non-invasive ads alongside good content and well-working services.
Very few web surfers feel any form for love or loyalty to particular web sites, and there is
a limit to how much content and services can be watered down and messed up with ads and other
distractions and still make us feel welcome.
We do not like to be tracked and treated as nothing but electronically tradable commodities that are hurdled together and sold off to whoever without our consent. Doesn't help on our mood that we are expected to pay more and more for less and less as the online exploitation increases.
Those in control of marketing are unlikely to do anything but smile and continue to push every single online business model well beyond sensible limits, in order to make money. That's their nature, and we understand that those who run businesses have to make profits, or go away.
A rapidly increasing number of web users will do whatever they can to avoid and/or bypass all online interference in order to protect their connections, devices, and privacy. That's human nature, and those who don't understand and accept that will see their various business models fail over time.
So there we are with all the opposing interests, and no laws or regulations
can do much but add to the problems this tug of war causes. Basically: regulators should stay as
far out of it as politically possible.
The majority of politicians everywhere will always side with the big businesses who bribe them most handsomely anyway, which means we ordinary citicens will have to find more and more intricate ways to circumvent those who govern online activities, so we can have it our way.
business as usual.
Early days yet, so I can't tell you how the story ends. All I can say is that the online marketplace is likely to turn a lot uglier before the various forces and factors ballance themselves out and the players agree on what rules to play by.
Whether it is the legitimate or the illegitimate players that cause us ordinary web surfers most problems at any given time, is up for discussion. I leave such discussions to those who care, as I don't know how one can make the distinction and what difference it makes.
To me it is business as usual, as I continue to protect my very own interests regardless of what's going on in the world – online as offline. The future looks awesome…
last rev: 01.aug.2018