• Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact

  • Thoughts on Ad Blocking

    May 5th, 2021
    ads, privacy, tech
    Disclosure: I work on ads at Google; this is a personal post.

    In the discussion of why I work on ads people asked whether I use an ad blocker (no) and what I think of them (it's complicated). So, what about ad blockers?

    It should be up to you what you see. If you don't want your computer displaying ads, or any other sort of content, you shouldn't have to. At the same time, most sites are offering a trade: you're welcome to our content if you also view our ads.

    These are in conflict, but I feel like the resolution could be simple:

    1. You are free to block any ads you want.
    2. Sites can know when ads are blocked.

    Sites could choose to respond to ad blocking by showing a message explaining that ads are what fund the site and requiring users to either subscribe or allow ads if they want to proceed. Or not: the marginal cost of serving a page is trivial and perhaps some visitors will share articles they enjoy. Still others might implement something like the first-n-free approach you see with paywalls, or progressively more obnoxious nagging.

    This isn't what we have today:

    • Some sites (ex: Facebook) try to disguise their ads to get them past blockers. A big site that runs their own ads might scramble the names of resources on every page view, while a smaller site might hire an ad-tech company to proxy their site and stitch in ads. When successful, users are seeing content they specifically said they didn't want.

    • Some blockers (ex: uBlock Origin but not AdBlock) hide "please disable your ad blocker or subscribe" messages. For example, 37% of uBlock Origin issues are people pointing out anti-adblock banners it misses (ex: #9005, #9006, #9007). When successful, sites are serving content to users they specifically said they didn't want to serve.

    I don't have any sort of proposal here; I'm not proposing a browser feature or government regulation. But in thinking about how future decisions might affect ads, I'm going to be most excited about ones that support (1) and (2).

    Comment via: facebook, lesswrong

    Recent posts on blogs I like:

    Be less scared of overconfidence

    deferring to markets • deferring to experts • deferring to low-information heuristics • why they fail • blindness to outliers • what to do instead

    via benkuhn.net November 30, 2022

    Corncob Dolls

    I went to a farm and at the farm I got to see a corncrib and the corn that had fell out of the corncrib that no one wanted I got to use my fingers to take off the corn kernels and once the cobs were empty I put them in a bag and then once I got back to the…

    via Anna Wise's Blog Posts November 7, 2022

    Light Switch

    When I got my loft bed it was just so annoying every morning to have to get out of bed, climb down the ladder, turn the light on, and climb back up, just so I could see stuff. I decided to make a string for my light switch because I really wanted to be abl…

    via Lily Wise's Blog Posts November 7, 2022

    more     (via openring)


  • Posts
  • RSS
  • ◂◂RSS
  • Contact