Apple makes it harder to track you online, ad industry has an aneurysm


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2017/09/21/evercookies-never.html


#2

“destroying the Internet’s economic model.”

Yes? And? If you donate enough to congressional races, you can get them to… what, outlaw ad-blockers? Guys, this congress can’t even outlaw health insurance.

You know what the Invisible Hand says? It says it’s time for a new economic model. First one to get it wins!


#3

I would really love to know what people in 2067 will think when they read about this stuff. Has any society ever been so invested in preserving such a comprehensively shitty idea? There’s literally nothing positive to be said about the ad economy – and you could write whole books about the drawbacks – but most of our discussion is still about how we can keep this dumpster fire going.

It’s silly.


#4

Has anybody used the “Brave” browser? Is it any good?


#5

Web dev here. Better than Chrome (faster and less resources, great integration with any other Apple products one might own) unless you use some obscure extensions that are unavailable for Safari.

Also Chrome’s Updater alters system files reducing your system’s security, sleazy business from Google.


#6

As someone whose entire livelihood used to rely on designing online ads:
YES, KILL IT.


#7

Sounds good! Does it work as well on Ubuntu/Linux?


#8

It’s a margins game. Website owners WANT relevant, non-tracking ads, because those are more likely to appeal to their users and be clicked on. The ad industry wants to determine what “relevant” means by saying “if you viewed something here, clearly you want to keep being reminded of it, so we can determine ‘relevance’ via a minimal amount of coding work”

Short-circuiting the “relevance” game ruins their margins because they need to invest in new technologies in order to determine relevance.

Tracking behavior online results in lazy ads and hyped-up analytics that don’t actually mean anything. The ad industry, though, sells this as their “value add” and convince website owners why they should pay X. Remove that, and you have a simpler vendor relationship, but one not nearly as lucrative. It’s notable that it’s the ad industry revolting, not the website owners.


#9

Seems so: https://brave.com/download/


#10

Anecdotally, website owners are just as fed up with ads as the users are. They have basically no proactive control over the vast majority of ads being served, and they recognize that their increasing terribleness is driving down revenues as ad blocker usage escalates in retaliation. Not that web ads have ever paid much in the first place - somehow, despite raking in enough information on people to make the Stasi blush, the ad space which that surveillance benefits is essentially worthless. If microtargeting and relevance-tracking were as effective and important as the ad industry likes to pretend it is, they’d be charging a heck of a lot more for the privilege of utilizing it to market one’s products.


#11

What an interesting way of looking at it. Content creators have to make money somehow, and so do corporations, until the day food and rent are free. (Cue @popobawa4u.) It’s an arms race, and the most successful idea yet is tricking your browser into showing you ads. Subscription certainly doesn’t work - look at paywalled news.

Remember when Tivo came out, the howls of outrage that viewers would fast-forward the commercials? Actually, they said that about Betamax too. When we can, I guess we always block ads.

How else could we keep BB going? Maybe some kind of NEA for web developers? But look what happens to the NEA every couple of years. Or maybe, once 50 people have all the money, we’ll be back to the patronage system. Worked for Mozart… but it only ever supported a handful of Mozarts.


#12

That’s the bit I’d disagree with. Netflix and Apple Music are pure subscription offerings – zero advertising, and you pay upfront for every byte of content. The same model works for many specialist publications, and even for a few Patreon-only podcasts. Those businesses aren’t immune to money problems, but they don’t answer to anyone but their subscribers, and they know exactly where their next paycheck is coming from.

Doing something and charging money for it is hardly a wacky experimental idea – it’s the basis of nearly all human commerce since the dawn of time. The only place it’s seen as dubious is inside the bubble universe of businesses that already depend on ads (which happens to include most online content businesses, which is why it’s wrongly seen as common sense). Once you’ve joined that game, it is indeed hard to escape from it; you must chase more and more eyeballs, and sell them to more and more advertisers, forever.

But the more you depend on ads, the more compromised your content gets, and the easier it will be for new businesses from outside the adversphere to eat your lunch. Does anyone really think CBS has a brighter future than HBO?


#13

The failure of paywalled news was mostly due to bad content, IMO. People will pay for quality, but they won’t pay for the shitty corrupt propaganda that passes for mainstream news.


#14

The thing about dumpster fires is that they are really hard to put out. I predict that in 2067, the ad industry will be doing just fine. It’s more like a tire fire than a dumpster fire, really.


#15

Good point. I’d pay for BoingBoing, but then, if it was paywalled, I never would have looked.


#16

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