I really hate web ads

I really hate web ads

breitbart article

I do.  I really, really hate web ads – the kind of ads you see on web pages.  I’ve been using the Web regularly since 1996, so I’ve seen all kinds of ads.  First there were banner ads, and then pop up ads, and then noisy Flash ads, and then double-underlined text links within a page’s text that, upon hovering the cursor over it, would display information.  Then they moved to full-page hijacking, square banners in the middle of pages, giant banners that briefly take over the screen and then move away after a few seconds, and pop-unders.  Then came wretched Taboola and RevContent, fooling you into thinking that stupid bullshit clickbait like “This one weird trick will melt fat in nanoseconds!!!”  These ads are hard to get rid of.

You name it, I’ve seen it.

I have ads on my book review blog, although I haven’t bothered to check if they still work or not.   I don’t mind it if you block the ads on it.  It’s fine.

Blocking ads is really important to me.  Now, I don’t use Windows much anymore.  My two primary computers are a Mac Mini (which I only use as a movie streaming server) and a MacBook Pro (with Retina display).  I also use my grandfather’s 27″ iMac from time to time (it’s very handy for editing my books, as I can compare the notes I’ve written by having them on one side of the screen, with the actual book on the other).  I don’t have to worry as much about malware delivered by bad ads (Mac users can still get viruses, trojans, worms and other malware).  But back in the day, when I used my old Dell laptop regularly…yeah, I had to worry about ads.  My parents ended up with so much garbage on their computers because of malware delivered by ads.

Another reason for me hating ads is that they consume memory and processing power.  If you’re using a mobile device, it’s even worse, because downloading the ads consumes data.  I currently have unlimited everything on my mobile plan, but not everyone does.

I use adblockers on every single device I own – iPhone, iPod Touch, laptop, desktop, Kindle Fire tablet, etc.  I don’t browse the Web on my Playstation 4 even though I could, simply because there’s no adblocker on it.  If a browser does not have adblocking capability I don’t use it.

I don’t trust ads.  At all.  Plus, they’re irritating and far too distracting.  A list of the kinds of ads I hate:

  • Redirect ads.  You see these on piracy sites and other sites of ill-repute.  Encyclopedia Dramatica is a hilarious site, but I don’t like going there because of the horrible ads (and the hijack ads on that site are often pornographic).  You’ll be at some website, and click a link and you’ll see the intended site for a brief moment, and then you’ll be forcibly redirected to some other website, often a full page ad.
  • Above-the-fold banner ads.  These are like, really big ads that briefly take up half the screen.  They’re often noisy and flashy.  These are also called floating ads.
  • Square ads that appear after every single paragraph.  Sites like Breitbart and Twitchy are notorious for these highly irritating ads.  They’re not that bad, it’s just that I can read a single sentence, then see an ad.  Read another sentence, and see another ad.  It’s ANNOYING.  I use an adblocker on my devices, but on the mobile versions of these sites you can still see caption text saying “advertisement” in a gray font.
  • Ad takeover.  This is usually in the form of the website’s background being turned into an ad.  Kind of hard to block these in adblockers.
  • “Paid Content” or “Sponsored Content.”  This shit is usually delivered by Taboola or RevContent and other similar networks.  A lot of websites use this – they’ll look like they’re part of the web page, but instead of relevant content it’ll be links to stupid garbage like “Why Trump doesn’t talk to Tiffany anymore” or “Katy Perry’s shameful secret that she doesn’t want anyone to know!”  These ads are so hard to get rid of.  I stopped visiting one right-wing blog because these ads kept showing up.
  • Ad links.  I don’t think these show up much anymore, but about a decade ago a lot of websites would install scripts that took certain keywords in their text and turned them into special links that would, upon mouse-over, reveal a special kind of tooltip that essentially served as an ad.  One service was called IntelliTXT. Oh, I hated those ads.
  • Video ads.  I’m not talking about the ads that play before YouTube videos (although I hate those too).  I’m talking about the kind of video ad you’d see while reading an article at CNN or something.  A video might be embedded somewhere on the page, and all of a sudden something will start blaring from your computer speakers.  You won’t know where the hell it’s coming from, until you scroll down and see a noisy video ad playing below the fold, so to speak.  UGH.

Few things, however, will piss me off faster than an adblock blocker.  Sites have now taken to detecting adblockers by determining which ads aren’t loading, and deliver you a message either begging you to add their site to the whitelist or by flat-out keeping you from consuming any content on the site until you disable your adblocker and let in all their shitty ads.

Patheos, a blogging host that is supposedly for faith, has recently implemented such an adblock blocker.  Needless to say, I am not happy.  At all.  I don’t visit that site often – in fact, the only blogs on there that I bother to visit are Bristol Palin’s blog and Stacey Dash’s blog.  Now I can’t look at either because they want to bombard me with annoying, intrusive advertising.

Here’s the kind of ads I can deal with.  Banner ad at the very top of the screen, banner ad on the far right or far left side of the screen, and banner ad at the bottom of the screen.  That’s it.  Oh, and perhaps a smaller banner in between blog posts if we’re talking about blogs.  And maybe an Amazon search box that allows the owner to make a commission if you buy something through their affiliate link.

Putting a fucking square ad after every damn sentence is annoying.  Putting the same kind of ad after every paragraph is also annoying.  It’s distracting.  People will either stop visiting altogether or will resort to using adblockers.

I couldn’t visit Breitbart without an adblocker.  There’s entirely too many ads on that site and it’ll crash my browser, even on my MacBook, which is kind of old but is still high-end (I bought it in 2013 and it still runs like a champ, although my grandfather’s iMac has a much faster processor).

You remember toolbars?  Seemed like every major website had a friggin toolbar for you to add to Internet Explorer or Firefox.  I’m so glad those are out of vogue now.

Anyway.  I know that a lot of websites rely on these horrible ads for revenue.  I’m lucky because hardly anybody visits this blog, so my bandwith costs are very, very low.

Couldn’t we just have non-animated banner ads at the top and on the sides?  Isn’t that enough?

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