Ad Blockers, Saving Data and Time?
I confess, I use ad blockers. I block ads. I even had an ad or two on my website and still I use them. I can’t even say I’m anti-ads. I want sites to make money and the people providing them with content to get paid, but honestly, ads drag down web pages something awful. More and more reports are bearing that out.
Secret Media looked at the webpages of 25 top US media companies. The load time, bandwidth, and URL requests of pages with ad blockers switched on were compared with the results of the same pages with ad blockers switched off.
— People are turning on ad blockers because of data-consuming ad tech, Business Insider
Not that most of us do anymore, but if you’ve looked at the status bar at the bottom of your browser lately, you’ll see that when visiting a page, it’s trying to grab data from so many sites different from the one you’re looking at! Content delivery networks, OK. Subdomains, fine. Instagram reaches out to Facebook, that’s cool and expected. Seeing the odd call to Google or Amazon Web Services, perfectly normal. But then there’s all that other stuff.
If you’ve ever used a browser plugin that shows you all the requests just for a single page, it’s mind-boggling. Most of the time it doesn’t bother me all that much because, over time, I’ve really become a lot less of a random web browser. But a few times recently, I’ve been stalked by a product across the web.
I looked at something once on Amazon, and then ads for that thing were everywhere I browsed. The worst part was I actually bought the thing, but still saw the ads. Like… what am I supposed to do? Buy it again?! A recent Party Over Here sketch feels all of our pain.
I might feel differently if I were running tons of ads on my site instead of just one. But I doubt it. People should be able to browse the internet any way they see fit. They aren’t “stealing” from you by blocking ads when you’ve been providing free content for years and only now want to seal it away — which doesn’t work, by the way.
And what I can’t decide whether they’re as bad or worse than ads are the “suggested links” from outlets like Outbrain, Taboola, and Zergnet. I’d almost take ads over those around the web. I’ve considered them before, but after filtering out all the crap — stolen clickbait, medical clickbait, financial clickbait, infomercial clickbait, you get the idea — I refused to let show up on my page, I kept getting told they couldn’t find any suitable links. However, I’m not dumb as to why pages use them…
Click the above to see a good cartoon about it, but spoiler alert: THEY PAY WELL. Literally some of the worst clickbait headlines out there, but people click them anyway because they really do want to know “8 Words They Don’t Have In English” or “14 Stars Who Lost It All” and similar. Ugh!
I can’t promise you’ll never see more ads or a request to subscribe or be a patron on my site. But if you do, I at least promise that the content will be worth it. Even if all I do is start posting food porn, beefcake and cheesecake. That last one being literal cheesecake, of course.