Safari in iOS 9, due from Apple later this fall, has an option which can block content– images, tracking cookies, pop-up ads, and– potentially– allow for advertising blockers. Wait. What? How is that possibly a bad thing? It is.
Paying The Freight
First, let me explain a personal philosophy and perspective. For better or worse, most of us live within a very capitalist society, one in which everyone in business is out to get your money. That’s the nature of society these days.
Second, very large components of the internet, television, radio, print and more are dependent upon advertising; messages to persuade you to do this or that, buy this or that. Thanks to the technology behind the internet, online advertisers can track you and collect data on which websites and web pages you view.
Third, that data is of more use to advertisers than to internet users. Website publishers, on the other hand, need advertising to survive because much of what you read online is supported by advertisers, including Mac360. Yet, one of the growing problems with internet advertising is the volume of messages which populate the content we read and view.
Ads are everywhere, often annoying, clutter up the content and diminish its value. For a growing number of internet users, the solution has been to employ ad blockers on their browsers. This technology blocks the very advertisements which are used to support websites. Ad blockers have become so notorious among advertisers that Google is reported to have paid some ad blocking technology companies to place Google’s ads on a whitelist. Think about that. An internet user pays for an ad blocker which blocks website advertisements– except from those who pay a ransom to the ad blocker. Only the ad blocker wins.
The new features in iOS 9 are not Apple’s first foray into ad blocking. The Reader mode in Safari for Mac, iPhone, and iPad does the same thing. One click lets you read an article without the accompanying advertisement which helps to pay for the free content in the first place. When Apple allows ad blockers onto iOS 9 you can bet they won’t be allowed to block Apple’s own iAds. Conflict of interest much, Apple?
Another trend is that advertising has become so commonplace on the internet, and so obtrusive, that advertisements are ignored by readers, which mean click rates go down, and that exacerbates the problem. Where websites get paid when a reader or visitor clicks on an ad, fewer clicks mean lower revenue per page, which often results in the website publisher adding even more advertisements to make up the revenue shortfall.
A few years ago Mac360 ran nearly a dozen advertisements per page. Still, that number is less than many popular Apple-oriented websites including AppleInsider display today. Our view is simple. Content is king. Readers are important, but so is advertising revenue. A few years ago we reduced the number of advertisements per page from a dozen down to four. We removed ads from within content, including those annoying embedded popup advertising links. This month we reduced the number of ads per page again– to three. By the end of the year we plan to run only one display advertisement per page. That benefits both readers who have fewer ads to view, and sponsors whose message does not compete with other advertisers. But will it benefit Mac360?
We hope that Mac360’s readers will recognize the value of supporting our sponsors, and we recognize that, in turn, a quality product that is reader friendly should not have a dozen ads and embedded popup links within content that clutter up the pages and obscure the content and the very reason a visitor came to the site in the first place.
Regardless, the trend toward ad blocking and ad clutter (one seems to beget the other) is not good for the industry and publishers are suffering, but the impact remains great even for larger publishers with more popular websites that generate far more readership than Mac360. We simply ask you to consider the situation and the trend. If you appreciate our content, then support those who support Mac360. If you use an ad blocker, then consider putting Mac360 on your whitelist of approved sites. That way, everyone wins.
We started Mac360 almost 11 years ago with one objective in mind– to bring app reviews and multiple perspectives to the Apple community. We don’t get paid by app developers. We review apps we use ourselves, or recommend to family, friends, and co-workers (knowing the issues with support required by each), and share our opinions and perspectives on the industry, for better or worse. We appreciate your readership and hope you will help us grow for another 11 years.