What The Ad Blocker Debate Reveals

Jean-Louis Gassée talks about Content Blockers in the upcoming versions of iOS 9/OS X 10.11, specifically how one sped up a page view of iMore.com:

With Content Blocking turned on, the page loaded in two seconds instead of eleven. Once loaded, network activity ceased, which means less strain on the battery.

Holy s**t! A 9 second improvement?!? Something’s going to have to give to speed sites up; more responsible ad networks/scripts (doubtful) or just block the junk. 1

I really do feel for the publishers here.2 I’m not comfortable taking away the revenue streams of the people that give us great content everyday, but it’s so hard when you see these huge performance hits.

Many people are armchair quarterbacking to publishers; “Find a better way to monetize your content.” The truth of the matter is there’s not any easy answer.

Jean-Louis concludes:

We feel cheated and rightly so. As users, we understand that we’re not really entitled to free browsing; we pay our bills with our selves: When The Product Is Free, We Are the Product. The problem is that we feel betrayed when we find out we’ve been overpaying. We’re being exploited — and it’s not even done nicely. (Apply your favorite metaphor, here.)

Losing trust is bad for the bottom line – no economy can function well without it. When you lose the consumer’s trust, you’re condemned to a chase for the next wave of suckers. Even sites that get us to pay for access to their content play questionable advertising and tracking games.

Truer words…


1 Google’s mission to “speed up the web” has never been so clear.
2 Specifically iMore. They have been the example site through this whole debate and taking the biggest blunt of the criticism. They aren’t the only publishers that have an egregious amount of ads/tracking.

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