The times they are a changing and nowhere else is that more evident than on the internet. Back in the day websites would display an ad or two on each page. These days, websites swim with a dozen or more ads.
Worse, each of those ads spawns tracking scripts which collect data about you, what you view online and when, what you buy, which websites you view, and lots more, so much so that ad blockers have become more popular among average browser users. Apple even allows blockers on iPhone and iPad. We may be in the golden age of browsers but we’re in the early days of the whack-a-mole advertising wars.
Facebook Is The Internet
For many hundreds of millions of computer users around the world, Facebook is the internet; it’s the app they use the most, it’s how they keep in touch with friends and family, and Facebook Messenger gives users face-to-face communication. Facebook also is a haven to so much advertising that users have begun adding ad blockers.
Facebook makes money on advertisements. The more ads you view, the more likely you are to click on something, and that’s what Facebook wants. That’s where the money is, Facebook user be damned. It’s that kind of in-your-face approach which has spawned the popularity of Adblock Plus and other ad blockers which not only block website ads, but also block Facebook ads.
Because revenue is impacted whenever an ad is blocked, Facebook decided to block the blockers. See? Whack-a-Mole is the latest trend on websites. Adblock Plus made an adjustment to their ad blocker and Facebook’s ads were once again blocked. Then Facebook made another change to their own website code, and blocked the revenue offending Facebook ad blockers.
It’s a war of blockers blocking blockers blocking blockers.
Unscrupulous, in-your-face advertising and hidden trackers have created a Frankenstein-like monster and some of the villagers are rebelling. Websites need advertising to generate revenue, otherwise they go out of business. That exact scenario struck the popular Apple oriented website MacNewsNetwork (MacNN) earlier this year, so ad blocking and other changes in online advertising have an impact.
Is it any wonder that villagers are rebelling against websites which seem to care more about revenue and less about their readers?
When we asked people about why they used ad blocking software, the primary reason we heard was to stop annoying, disruptive ads.
There you go.
Earlier this year Mac360 dropped Google’s AdSense advertising because the number of trackers spawned by such ads slowed down page loads to a crawl, and the ads were increasingly not relevant to our readers (basically, Apple customers). We also decided to drop Google’s Analytics tracking system from the site, and eliminated the standard website cookie. Look, mom. No more tracking. Instead, we prefer advertisers with products that are relevant to our readers, and none of them pop up or annoy. Simple, elegant, and win, win, win.
That Facebook has taken such drastic steps to eliminate ad blockers should tell us that ad blocking has gone mainstream and has a negative impact on websites and their revenue. Who didn’t see that coming?
Apple recognizes the need for users to maintain some level of privacy, and has decided that user experience is more important than Google thinks it is, hence you can install ad blockers even on iPhone and iPad.
But the Whack-a-Mole games have already begun.