Re: guest the post! ad blockers: great thing, or the greatest thing?

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I was finally driven to install an ad blocker in FireFox because so many ads make a point of assaulting you with really repulsive images and I was getting sick of it. Do people actual buy stuff based on ads like that?


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:05 AM
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Do ad blockers make your pages load faster? I don't bother with them usually, because I manage to recognize and ignore ads without consciously noticing that they're there pretty seamlessly (occasionally I wonder if I miss content that I've mistakenly categorized as ads, but I don't care that much.)

But in the last few years, half the pages I want to read load for four seconds, which lets me get halfway through a couple of sentences, and then the ads loading screws everything up and rearranges it, and I end up not reading the article because I am too impatient to wait for the page to finish loading.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:18 AM
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O HAI, domain expertise! Are you thinking of things like one weird trick that lets you lose belly fat, Lurker? Because the answer is, to a first approximation, no, but those kinds of shitty ads are so cheap to run that you can blast them out extensively enough that even a very low engagement rate produces value -- partially because the customer rolls for sucker products like that are themselves valuable. (This is also the sort of thing that keeps direct mail about how Obama is going to turn your guns over to Marxist jihadis in business.)

I work in the monetization (i.e. ads) side of an online publishing company, and yes, people are freaking out about this. We're in a better place than a lot of people because we have pretty good control over our ad stack and aren't dependent on a dozen sleazy trackers, just one or two sleazy ad trackers. Casey Johnston's claim that this is primarily going to benefit Facebook and maybe, like, WeChat isn't wrong; I'd also throw in places like Buzzfeed and Vice, which are organized around the idea of producing stuff that people organically share (on Facebook) that can be turned into native ads*. Having a return to content brought to you by the King Biscuit Flour Company isn't the worst thing in the world, but it's probably going to crush a bunch of small publications that I like.

* If you're not in the industry, you can just read this as "sponsored posts".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:18 AM
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A commenter on another site I frequent recommended Peace too. Mainly because you can whitelist sites.

I can understand the opposition to ad blockers from creators, but online advertising is such an aesthetic, security and privacy shitshow at the moment that I really hope things like this force a fundamental change in direction for the industry. The ad networks need to clean up their act and take responsibility (moral and legal) for the ads they serve and whatever malware they end up infecting people with.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:18 AM
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2 is what I think. Mainly, The Toast is stupid slow to load on my home machine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:21 AM
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If you go to a page like the Toast or Deadspin and it looks like it's loading and loading and loading even after the first most of it loads, that's probably trackers at work. It's worse on smaller (and frequently better!) sites because they don't have the traffic to serve from just one ad network and stay in business, so they tend to dump a ton of stuff on and make the mobile experience terrible. (Then below that when you're looking at Just Some Random Tumblr or whatever, you're probably fine again.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:24 AM
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3.1: Yup. Those are the sort of ads I'm talking about.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:25 AM
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I don't want to read Deadspin.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:27 AM
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I only run a popup blocker, but that seems to inadvertently block more complex popup-free pages from time to time.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:27 AM
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7 - Higher cost, higher value ad networks often reject such things, as well as e.g. ads that fire an app store request to get some junker free-to-play game. But, as I said in 6, smaller publications often don't have the wherewithal to stick to just those ad networks and may not have the traffic to do business with them even if they did.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:28 AM
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(And even better ad networks don't do a perfect job screening such things, because humans are both fallible and ingenious.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:30 AM
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Slate doesn't load very well for me, but that's been a help at stopping me from reading Slate. It hasn't been the same since Randy Cohen left.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:34 AM
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I've been waiting for the reckoning that would come when people admitted that ads don't make money (do they, snark?) but I guess this will hasten it. Not sure how I feel about it. Ads suck, but people aren't going to pay for everything they read now; not even close. Something like this might work: you pay for a universal ID that gets you access to content on participating sites. You pay $X per month for Z articles per month, and sites get their cut based on how many of their articles you read (unused allotment gets divvied up equally by the sites). Maybe that just seems like a good idea because it won't take long for 90% of online content to feature titties. Hooray!


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:41 AM
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How about just spending enough money on the servers for the ads that they don't take 30 seconds to load?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:43 AM
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14: it's not an issue of server speed. It's network speed. Loading 9MB of data over a cellular network is never going to be as instantaneous as you would expect "page with a little bit of text and a couple pictures" to be. (And, if you don't have unlimited data on your phone, it can get expensive.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:48 AM
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I've been waiting for the reckoning that would come when people admitted that ads don't make money (do they, snark?) but I guess this will hasten it.

Bite your tongue. Buck lives off ad revenue, and the more things are tracked, the more it's clear that advertising doesn't actually seem to do anything concrete, and the less money the publications he writes for make.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:48 AM
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If you think about the old network TV model, you'd get maybe five or six minutes of program per minute of ads. For some sites, mostly ones that I've stopped reading, on my home computer I have to wait nearly as long for the page to load as it will take me to read the page.

(I may also need a new computer.)


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:49 AM
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17 before seeing 15. I'm talking about a desktop computer. Because I only have a 2 GB plan on my phone, I pretty much only read here and a very small number of other sites that I know don't use much bandwidth.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:50 AM
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I think there are also a lot of people who read painfully slowly, so the ratio works out better.

I hate those people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:51 AM
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LB is objectively anti-small children.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:52 AM
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I mean, in a sense, the days when ad prices were set by intuition, cruddy Nielsen sampling and nominally scientific psychological hooey about mindshare and brand awareness and blah blah blah were a lot better for ad-driven content producers. Maybe things will go back to being like that!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:52 AM
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Online ad rates have crashed in the past, at least once. It didn't keep creators from focusing on advertising, because we're a money-driven society and it takes collective action to change that; those trying out subscription models in isolation are disadvantaged.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:53 AM
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21: This is Buck's dream.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:54 AM
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a very small number of other sites that I know don't use much bandwidth.

I just turn off images on my phone -- which makes most adds irrelevant, and then get slightly grumbly at sites which require images for navigation. But it took me a long time to accept images as a standard part of web browsing to begin with.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:55 AM
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Bring back Gopher, but for phones.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:56 AM
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17 before seeing 15. I'm talking about a desktop computer. Because I only have a 2 GB plan on my phone, I pretty much only read here and a very small number of other sites that I know don't use much bandwidth.

RSS readers are your friend.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 8:58 AM
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Vaguely on-topic: any of you computer wiz kids have an explanation for why certain fonts or non-standard characters cause my laptop to freeze?

If I go to the arxiv and click on an abstract that has LaTex symbols embedded in it, my laptop will freeze completely for anywhere from 30 seconds to 3-4 minutes.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:00 AM
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I can see why people don't like it, but I don't understand why they think they have a right to whine about adblockers.

If it was a paper magazine, nobody on earth would dream of complaining that the readers didn't look at the ads. If it was TV, nobody would dream of trying to claim viewers had some kind of obligation to watch the ads. If it was the movies, nobody would try to close the doors early to force you to sit through the ads.

You can serve up ads, but you can't make me look at them. By extension, what right do you have to insist that my web browser renders them? Although it doesn't help the load time or mobile data allowance problem, I can certainly see an adblocker that would download the ads and just toss them to /dev/null, permitting advertisers to keep pretending and me to avoid putting up with ads.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:01 AM
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nobody would dream of trying to claim viewers had some kind of obligation to watch the ads

Actually, I've heard people make this argument.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:03 AM
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did you offer to stand over them in their living room with an axe to help them avoid leaving the room during commercial breaks?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:16 AM
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If you're running a conference, and companies have paid for the right to set up a booth in the lobby to market their products, they can and will complain loudly and whinily to you, the organiser, if not enough people come and talk to them. ("What do you want me to do? Herd them over with dogs?" I did not say.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:17 AM
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And the reason no one whines about people not reading display ads is that they've got no way of knowing whether they are or not. If there was a service for magazine subscribers that intercepted your copy of the New Yorker every week, carefully cut out every ad and removed every flyer, then forwarded it on to you, I bet the New Yorker would complain about that.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:20 AM
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They probably want you to stand by the booth as eye candy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:20 AM
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I think that there's something uniquely fucked about US publishing for this. I would blame US internet carriers for blocking the existence of a system like 13.

Here are two Chinese page, less horrible ads on both: Weibo page, something about shoes and random link for search term Mah jongg

Other extreme of profitablity, here's a page from a for-profit publication in a language with 12M speakers-- basically all publishing must be loss-making there, yet people still write.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:21 AM
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They couldn't afford me.

(I actually know someone who does this as part of her job - also being a pit girl for motor racing - and, gosh, I'm glad my job allows me to work indoors in an air-conditioned building wearing trousers made of a breathable material, unlike hers.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:21 AM
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I should probably worry about this, since ads and ad clicks pay my salary, a nickel or quarter at a time, but somehow it's hard to get worked up about it. Maybe it's my internal sense of self-loathing about the fact that I use a desktop ad blocker anyway.

(Also, to the OP, "iOS is how (to a first approximation) everybody accesses the web right now" is kind of wrong. iOS is maybe half of the rich world and 10-20% in the rest of the world, depending on whose sources you trust. But mobile is certainly winning in general).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:21 AM
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Since iOS is how (to a first approximation) everybody everyone with the disposable income that marketers care about accesses the web right now

FTFY.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:27 AM
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Pwned by Nathan, sigh.


Posted by: x.trapnel | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:28 AM
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What in the world does ajay do for a living, I'm led once again to wonder.

The link for Peace in the page is busted, and wow, now would be a great time for Maciej Cegłowski to post the full talk that goes with this.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:28 AM
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29 is correct, there was some ad exec who claimed with a straight face that when you get up to go to the bathroom during commercials that you are stealing. Also when you have friends over for a pay-per-view event. I think he was arguing for something that would monitor people sitting in front of TVs to ensure the right number were there and watching ads.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:29 AM
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32 - So, basically, a DVR?

I remember some fussing about it when TIVO showed up able to do essentially that, but for whatever reason* it just kind of died back down.

*"Not worth the effort for a lot of people to set it up and/or learn something new", I'm guessing.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:29 AM
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40 This is the same guy who advised Romney that he should undocumented to "self-deport."


Posted by: No longer Middle Aged Man | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:34 AM
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if you don't have unlimited data on your phone, it can get expensive
This is the crazy thing, people are already paying to read sites, they're just paying mobile providers, who then serve up extra GBs of data that ad companies pay content sites to run. Why not just cut out the middle man- content site has a deal with mobile network, requests from that network go to an ad-free site, mobile network gives content provider a cut of their data subscriptions. Data providers would probably love it because it would reduce the need to build out their infrastructure since web traffic would drop like 80% if all sites did it.
(Drum makes the same argument about paying more in taxes for single-payer- Oh noes, I couldn't possibly pay the government $1000 a month for health care, even if it means I pay $1500 less in premiums through my employer.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:34 AM
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Also worth mentioning maybe is that in the US there is now a way to pay something to opt out of TV and music ads-- subscription streaming services (Az prime, netflix, hulu plus). People are going for this pretty enthusiastically.

Print cannot be more complicated.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:36 AM
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Google tells me it was Turner Broadcasting CEO Jamie Kellner, although for some reason all the stories about it come up on rightwing or christian sites. In 2002 talking about adoption of DVR technology: "Because of the ad skips.... It's theft. Your contract with the network when you get the show is you're going to watch the spots. Otherwise you couldn't get the show on an ad-supported basis. Any time you skip a commercial or watch the button you're actually stealing the programming."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:39 AM
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I remember some fussing about it when TIVO showed up able to do essentially that, but for whatever reason* it just kind of died back down.

Dish introduced ad skipping on their DVR-like service and Fox sued them over it. They lost on the core principle, but they won on the mechanism Dish used to do it in practice (basically copying the broadcast data and manually adding metadata to identify the commercial breaks). They've basically backed down on it now anyway in their licensing agreements with individual networks.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:46 AM
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Hulu Plus has ads, and they're the worst! You get the same ads over and over and over again. (They have finally recently introduced a new more expensive subscription that doesn't have ads.)


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:47 AM
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2012 lawsuit, even.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:48 AM
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A local news site I still read for some reason that used to be the online presence of the dominant local paper but is now an independent clickwhore site is one of the worst offenders. Half the time it's unloadable, a quarter of the time it loads but then launches app store. Apparently they just had more layoffs, they really can't die soon enough.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:50 AM
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Print cannot be more complicated.

Sure it can. People are already producing TV shows, movies, and music anyway. Amazon and Netflix have started making their own shows and things, but for the most part they're licensing existing things.

If I could get a license for, say, the New Yorker archives, and sell access to that (pretending that the NYer doesn't already do that), that would be a lot simpler to make money on than having to get writers, pay them, edit them, etc., my own damn self.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:55 AM
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Plus, news is different.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:59 AM
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On my very primitive smart phone I read all sites, including this one, on rss feeds. And because I can't update my browser, I have to read through and around coding, but that's easy and I've been doing it for years.

There were sites I wanted to read but which took almost my whole commute to load, but now I read them easily.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:04 AM
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Man, the local news sites are the worst. Ugliest websites, insane pop-ups, nasty racist commenters. They should die in a fire, except, who will bring us local news instead? Local bloggers? Patch was a resounding failure.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:12 AM
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Doesn't iOS have AdBlocker, which is excellent, and Ghostery, which blocks cookies? (TBH, I don't know if they work on Android phones, but they work in Chrome on a laptop. I don't do much browsing on my phone.)

Or, to put it another way, Apple fans are so cute!


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:12 AM
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Ad blockers don't work in Chrome on a phone or tablet. "I don't do much browsing on my phone" makes you an irrelevant, dying dinosaur, more or less.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:16 AM
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I've been waiting for the reckoning that would come when people admitted that ads don't make money (do they, snark?) but I guess this will hasten it.

I mean, I don't work for a car or watch or phone company that's actually shelling out money to run the ads. I'm not convinced advertising is truly effective in any medium -- isn't the old gag that only a quarter of advertising works, but nobody has any idea to figure out which quarter? -- but God knows we need to come up with some explanation for why people drink Bud Lite. It's worse for online advertising because it's very easy to see how ineffective broadcast advertising it is. (Which is one of the reasons Google is such a titan; putting an ad for a high-dollar thing right next to someone's search for information about a high-dollar thing they are about to spend money on is a demonstrably effective way of making people more likely to spend money on your high-dollar thing.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:17 AM
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But, I mean, right there is the reason your session is full of such crap -- broadcast ads are ineffective, so we'll track your Amazon browsing and show you things you looked at and didn't buy (because that works!); we'll build a demographic profile using data from a half-dozen sources, because showing an ad to a 41-year-old white woman with two children who makes $85,000 and has travelled to Europe in the last year is more valuable than showing an ad to "someone reading a cooking blog"; we'll drop ten analytics scripts on the page because if we can show that our readers stay reading longer than the competition, we can charge an extra nickel per thousand delivered ads because of the additional reader engagement. And then your Android phone will start tracking your commuting patterns and blat them back to the mothership.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:31 AM
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Maybe that just seems like a good idea because it won't take long for 90% of online content to feature titties. Hooray!

I assumed the cock pictures were still somehow generating the money to keep Unfogged running.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:40 AM
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ogged: https://www.google.com/contributor/welcome/ "An experiment in additional ways to fund the web. Today's Internet is mostly funded by advertising. But what if there were a way to directly support the people who create the sites you visit each day?"

Roughly, you're bidding against the advertisers. Like having a "silence" track on a jukebox.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:46 AM
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I thought Josh Marshall's comment on the enormous waste of money opposing the Iran deal was interesting. They raised so much money they couldn't possibly spend it all so they're just blowing it on nearly useless stuff, like running ads after the vote had already occurred. (Nearly useless because you could argue it has some '16 election impact, but probably not much a year out.)


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:50 AM
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59 me.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:53 AM
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59: That seems pretty indirect.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:58 AM
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Like, I directly fund Metafilter by paying Metafilter, directly.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:59 AM
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Sure it can. People are already producing TV shows, movies, and music anyway.
Also eclectic web magazines. How did The Toast start, for pay or for fun ? Writing is cheaper than video or music.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 11:36 AM
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For pay.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 11:36 AM
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Writing is cheaper than music or video, but for news, you sort of have to write new stuff every day. The value of what you wrote drops very quickly after it is written. If old newspapers retained as much value as old movies, some kind of Netflix for writing would work fine.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 11:49 AM
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Absolutely, news is different, requires subscribers.

I was thinking that a website to provide background on news stories might work-- longer form pieces that would explain the news.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 12:01 PM
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Clever google, stealing my ideas before I have them.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 12:06 PM
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I think part of the problem must be that ad rates appear to be in the toilet, so it takes many more ads to break even. My own stupid web toy, which for some inexplicable reason has been a steady source of modest income for the past decade, is bringing in 25% of what it was 3 years ago.

And a lot that traffic is from stupid teenagers with their i-Whatevers, so if those ads are blocked, revenue will be taking another hit.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 12:09 PM
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Did your buffalo jumping game bring in more?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 12:10 PM
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Wasn't there something in the last year about The Toast paying shit for an article?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 12:13 PM
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I was thinking that a website to provide background on news stories might work-- longer form pieces that would explain the news.

That would never work.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 12:15 PM
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The Toast pays shit, but people aren't writing for it for fun, and it was conceived as a business.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 12:17 PM
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71: I only read the parts written by the editor anyway.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 12:17 PM
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Did your buffalo jumping game bring in more?

No, I didn't even bother with ads on that, as it is unlikely to draw the traffic needed to be worth it.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 12:20 PM
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Why do you hate capitalism?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 12:26 PM
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Because I'm a filthy north-eastern liberal.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 12:37 PM
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I'm very conflicted here, since ads pay my salary but I have run a desktop ad blocker since forever, and one of my reasons for using an android phone is that it blocks ads readily if rooted. I wrote a column about this some years back, as a tragedy of the commons and this seems now to have arrived.
Everyone in the business is panicking because browsing is moving to mobile at tremendous speed and mobile ad rates are about 10% of desktop rates, which are in turn about 10% of paper display rates. Because everyone hates mobile ads.
My own guess is that apple will wait till the industry is begging for mercy and then offer some deal which will make it the gatekeeper, with a huge cut of the only revenue stream in town. It's the kind of thing that Bezos could have done with the wapo if anyone had bought his phones.
Super gloomy.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 12:40 PM
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My basic attitude when an ad appears is "this is my screen. I paid for it. You fuck off out of it."


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 12:42 PM
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My own guess is that apple will wait till the industry is begging for mercy and then offer some deal which will make it the gatekeeper

I thought that was an upfront part of their move. Let me see if I can find a link . . . This isn't the article that I was thinking of, but it makes the point:

"In some ways ad-blocking will be self serving because they'll have more ads go into apps," Ari Brandt, CEO of advertising company MediaBrix, says of Apple.

Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 1:09 PM
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"I'm reading your ad in the smallest room in my house. Soon it will be behind me. Then I will buy a new phone."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 1:10 PM
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I thought that was an upfront part of their move.

It works on three levels for Apple. In increasing order of importance, my guess is that they're thinking: this makes iAds in apps more valuable and lets us set up Apple News as a thing that publishers want; this hurts Google because they get roughly all of their money from ads and we get roughly none of it from ads; this helps make the mobile browsing experience better for people user our phones, which encourages people to buy our phones.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 1:24 PM
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Surely you meant decreasing order of importance?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 1:34 PM
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Doesn't Apple get like $600 a phone?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 1:42 PM
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Nah, I think Apple wouldn't even consider it if they didn't think it improved the browser experience. The pissing fight they got into with Google over the Maps application was triggered by Google's request to gather data on Maps usage rather than a desire to cripple Google. Their incentives are very strongly aligned with "we want Apple devices to feel like they are the best so Richie Rich continues buying them".


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 1:54 PM
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But if that was their main motivation, why didn't they do it years ago?


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 2:01 PM
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Mobile browsing only recently came to feel terrible, as opposed to seeming miraculous that you could look up cock jokes on eclectic web magazines without leaving the bar*? Ingrained corporate-culture paranoia about letting people customize practically anything on iOS? Internal politics about the best ways (technically and presentationally) to handle it? Fear of getting in bed with creeps like AdBlock Plus? Low on the priority list compared other things? I dunno.

* I mean, that Verge "Apple your browser sucks" thing is from this summer, not 2011.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 2:21 PM
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I know just enough about the business of the internet to be very wrong, but is it not true that

(1) if online ads go based on tracking in-browser searches go, Google falls;

(2) an increasing and (soon to be overwhelming) percentage of time people spend using online browsers happens on phones;

(3) thus, iOS permitting online ad blockers is terrible news for Google, and also online ads on many current models;

(4) however, no one has come up with any notion whatsoever of how to pay for (almost any) online content other than ads (or, more precisely, not just ads, but the targeted, privacy-invasive information about consumers that can be gathered and sold to produce the ads). Therefore somehow advertising must be involved in the system in order for any of these players to make money in the long run from selling the internet;

(5) therefore, what will happen is that Apple, and maybe Facebook and a few other social-media-y companies that control their own apps and can control in-app advertising and data collection, will come to dominate the bundling-up-of-private-information-to-sell-to-marketers game;

(6) this will lead to even more single-entity dominance, loss of privacy, and power-shift to content distributors and gatekeepers (in this case, Apple and a few places like Facebook), and a yet-further power shift away from content creators, thus

(7) We will live in a world of, on the whole, even shittier, more sound-bitey content, even more dominated by Apple, with even less money for creators, but at least the crappier, curated web content will load onto our smartphones very quickly.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 2:45 PM
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(1) s/b " if online ads sold based on Google's tracking of in-browser searches go away, Google falls"


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 2:50 PM
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Hey, on the plus side intellectual property lawyers would have all kinds of work available to them, right?


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 2:57 PM
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I don't know the actual answer to (1) (and probably couldn't talk about it if I did), but ads based on just-the-search-you're-doing-right-now, which require no tracking at all, are valuable in their own right. As long as there's web searching, and web searches related to people buying things, there's a lot of money to be had advertising to those searchers.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 3:01 PM
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That makes good sense. I was using "tracking" loosely, probably incorrectly, to mean something like "advertising that can make intelligent decisions about the kind of person you are and the kinds of things you'd like to buy, based on information derived from your web searches."


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 3:03 PM
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I guess there are still a zillion other ways to make money even if (2)-(7) are true. So my point isn't really "Google is fucked" (who knows, definitely not me), but more "the world is getting worse and will continue to get worse" which sure seems accurate.


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 3:09 PM
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*for Google to make money*


Posted by: Roberto Tigre | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 3:10 PM
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Maybe Alta Vista can use the opening.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 3:35 PM
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Hey, new awesome things show up all the time! Even if the internet gets a bit crappier here's no need to despair.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 4:02 PM
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No, I'm with Tigre in general here. Any awesomeness is outweighed by disappointment that the cans don't say "Alcohollica."


Posted by: lurid keyaki | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:10 PM
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Tigre's (4) is not completely right. People will pay for information on which they base decisions. Also, I pass meetings every day at work in which someone is thinking about alternative ways to raise money. I just don't pass the ones where they have reached conclusions.


Posted by: Paul Dacre | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:35 PM
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Well, he did say "almost any."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 9:51 PM
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So I wouldn't read most of what I read online if I had to pay for it. I suspect that means I'd be better off if a lot of it disappeared.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:11 PM
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It's win-win!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:13 PM
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For us as content consumers, of course. Content producers are still screwed.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:13 PM
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Death to content! All hail doing something other than reading the web on the phone!


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:24 PM
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||

So, uh, I think I just witnessed a shooting on my block. Apparently no injuries, but the shooter is at large. (I'm listening to the police scanner.)

|>


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:49 PM
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You witnessed it? AS in saw, or heard?


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:53 PM
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Heard. The action appears to be focused on the building on the other side of the one next to mine, so I haven't been able to see much, but I heard a few pops about half an hour ago. They didn't sound loud enough to be gunshots, but according to the discussion on the scanner later the suspect's gun had a silencer on it. There were a bunch of people around on the street who sort of looked around for a while then went inside the building next door. I don't think they were involved but they probably did see it. Then some police cars showed up.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:58 PM
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According to the scanner the suspect was walking in the opposite direction from my building, so I'm not too concerned about my own safety.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 10:59 PM
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I can't tell if the silencer is more or less worrying. Maybe if it's a professional hit, you're less likely to be hurt if you're not the target.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 11:06 PM
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And now there's apparently been a stabbing at the McDonald's around the corner. Doesn't seem to be connected to the shooting.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 11:11 PM
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Have I mentioned that I'm thinking of moving?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-17-15 11:15 PM
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Lock the door teo, and don't answer it if he knocks. You know what happened last time!


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 3:38 AM
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Who has a police scanner and is younger than 70? Or is it an app now.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 4:11 AM
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There are often online streams?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 5:05 AM
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How should I know?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 5:18 AM
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I just associate police scanner listening with old people concerned about their lawn and the kids in it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 5:28 AM
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their lawn and the kids in it.

I think those are called "grubs".


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 5:39 AM
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-i, +o?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 5:48 AM
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117 too late.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 5:49 AM
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The person at the bagel shop is history's greatest monster if your metric for monstering is based on cream cheese spreading. He put on an actual slice, like it was cheddar or something.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 5:51 AM
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I admit that would be a poor metric in terms of construct validity, but you can't deny it would be a huge improvement over existing methods in terms of reliability.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 6:00 AM
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It's not that much worse than using GDP to measure economic success.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 6:08 AM
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115: I associate them with unnecessarily paranoid hacker ham nerds.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 6:43 AM
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I don't know enough of them to have a stereotype.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 6:46 AM
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There are often online streams?

Yep. Here's the Anchorage one (warning: autoplays sound).


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 7:07 PM
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Anyway, they still haven't caught the guy who apparently didn't actually fire the shots but provoked another guy to shoot him by stealing his umbrella.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 7:09 PM
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It must have been a really nice umbrella.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 7:15 PM
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Well, it was raining. So there's that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 7:16 PM
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I wonder if there was a witness to the thief having a gun other than the guy who shoot at him for having a gun?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 7:25 PM
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There were tons of witnesses. This is a densely populated area and there were a lot of people on the street at the time.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-18-15 7:28 PM
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Marco Arment has pulled Peace:
http://www.marco.org/2015/09/18/just-doesnt-feel-good


Posted by: Penny | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 2:59 AM
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I got an ad blocker and the entire text content of the crappy local site mentioned above is blocked. All you can see are the pictures. I guess either the whole thing really is spam or they embed ads so tightly with their content there's no way to separate them.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 6:59 AM
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I like Ghostery because you can selectively enable things one by one until you get the content you want to see. I don't ad block on the phone, though. Usually, if something takes a long time to load or the page is a nightmare to read, I forward the article to Pocket and read it that way. Or come back to it on a regular computer.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 7:26 AM
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||

The rich people a few doors down are having their ceramic driveway re-tiled, for some reason. Its stupid loud. First the guys jackhammerd up the old tiles, and now I am listening to the dulcet tones of broken tiles being tossed into a dumpster....

|>


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:25 AM
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Marco Arment has pulled Peace:
http://www.marco.org/2015/09/18/just-doesnt-feel-good

Thanks for the link, that's very interesting -- it makes clear that it isn't just an abstract issue. It's easy for most of us to just shrug our shoulders (see Nathan Williams' 36 for example) and figure nothing we do on an individual scale is going to make an difference, I can understand how the emotional weight would be different for the person writing the ad-blocker.

I thought this line make perfect sense, "I've learned over the last few crazy days that I don't feel good making one and being the arbiter of what's blocked."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:46 AM
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My ethics have made me uninterested in ad blockers until now, but I would like one specifically for the scripts that make my entire browser freeze for 90 seconds until a window comes up and says "Do you want to stop the script?".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:50 AM
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I hate that. Just stop the script after five seconds.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 9:52 AM
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Yeah, I don't even mind seeing most ads, its when they cause my browser's performance to grind to a halt, that's whats driven me into the arms of ad blockers. Well, that plus the use of ads as a vector for malware.

Basically, the ads themselves aren't the problem, its the way they make everything else shitty that is the problem.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:19 AM
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Or, just to have the window pop up as soon as the browser freezes. Even that would be enough.

Or, just stop the script and keep the ad there. What do they think I'm going to say? "No! Keep the script going. I've got plenty of time and I'm curious to see what it's gonna come up with!"


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 10:23 AM
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I thought this line make perfect sense, "I've learned over the last few crazy days that I don't feel good making one and being the arbiter of what's blocked."

He actually wasn't the arbiter. He deferred to Ghostery's database.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 09-19-15 11:04 AM
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Also, some of us live in remote places where the cost of a MB of data is pretty darn high (0.005c, 5 bucks per GB), so yay. (Not that I would ever dream of owning an iOS device, but still).


Posted by: carrotflowers | Link to this comment | 09-20-15 5:09 PM
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