I fear for the internet. What was supposed to be the information superhighway that connected the world into a small and comfortable and highly communication village has become a veritable cesspool of questionable content; a misinformation superhighway.
Online advertising is under assault and rightly so. Advertisers have gone crazy with tracking mechanisms on most websites that create a profile of your online viewing and reading habits. All those ads and trackers take up bandwidth, slow down your computer and browser, and can better be described as stalkers than trackers. What to do?
Blockers Gonna Block
For a few years we at Mac360 have advocated the use of Ghostery and AdBlock Plus to help speed up your online browsing and enhance your privacy by inhibiting trackers and blocking ads. Unfortunately, both have become a part of the problem. Tom Simonite explains:
Some of those who advocate Ghostery as a way to escape the clutches of the online ad industry may not realize that the company behind it, Evidon, is in fact part of that selfsame industry.
What does Evidon do?
Evidon sells two main services based on the data it collects. One allows website operators to see which tracking code, from which companies, is active on their site and how it affects the speed with which its pages load. The other provides ad companies with figures on how common the tracking code from different companies is around the Web.
On the other side of the ad block coin is AdBlock Plus, perhaps the most popular ad blocker, yet it will allow some tracking and some advertising.
What many of Apple’s smarter customers want is a way to block trackers and advertising across platforms; Mac, iPhone, and iPad. That’s what the Better Blocker app does; for macOS and iOS. For a few dollars, what you get is an application that blocks online ad trackers and those hidden behavioral advertising trackers.
Better Blocker is different than some trackers in that the app’s developers maintain a list of the most prevalent ad tracker offenders, and that means the app works quickly to block many sites. Some websites can load pages an order of magnitude faster with a blocker on their browser.
Mac360 is a website, so we know the value of advertising. It helps to pay the bills and hopefully, with something left over at the end of the month, we get a little extra, too. Some websites have put up blocker blockers. That’s right. A blocker that blocks you from reading the website if you use an advertising blocker. Better Blocker does a good job of recognizing those blocker blockers and unblocks them anyway.
But, Better Blocker also lets you maintain a whitelist of websites with advertising that you want to support.
Better’s Mac version installs quickly and easily on Safari. For iPhone and iPad, Apple requires ad blockers to jump through a few extra steps, but it works on iOS, too. In the end, you get a faster, cleaner, neater web browsing experience without all the crushing weight of ad trackers and advertising. That saves time and bandwidth.
Nearly two years ago, Mac360 decided the future of advertising online would change. Back then nearly 30-percent of our readers used ad blockers, and that, of course, negatively impacted advertising and revenue. What did we do? We stopped all trackers. All of them. They’re gone. We don’t even use Google Analytics anymore. Not even a cookie. The ads we have are simple, unobtrusive, without clutter, change daily, and are fully and only relevant to our readers. And, notice how much faster Mac360’s webpages load on your browser. Try a few pages. They load fast because there’s no need to load up a bunch of tracking scripts first.
That’s the future. We’re just a little early to the party. If you really want to know which of your apps are phoning home or tracking you and where the data they collect goes, then check out Little Snitch.