My goodness, the iOS-9 ad-blocker tech is rattling cages all over the Internet. Herewith some links, including a couple you likely haven’t seen, and one to a possible solution to the problem, from Google.
Eric Meyer · Content Blocking Primer. From which: “…the entire industry is being given a do-over here. Not the ad industry; the web industry.”
Charlie Stross · A question about the future of the world wide web. From which: “…it looks like the current state of the ad-funded web is a death-spiral and a race to the bottom.”
Marco Arment · Just doesn’t feel good. From which: “Ad-blocking is a kind of war — a first-world, low-stakes, both-sides-are-fortunate-to-have-this-kind-of-problem war, but a war nonetheless, with damage hitting both sides.”
I’m particularly impressed by Marco’s action, because his app has instantly been replaced by lots of others. So indiscriminate blocking will continue to happen, but probably not implemented as well as Marco did, and with him not getting paid for it. That’s taking a stand.
Tom Standage · The Economist’s Tom Standage on digital strategy and the limits of a model based on advertising (He’s the chief digital guy at The Economist [disclosure: I subscribe]). From which: “The Economist has taken the view that advertising is nice, and we’ll certainly take money where we can get it, but we’re pretty much expecting it to go away.”
That Google thing · I’m talking about Contributor by Google.
Tl;dr: Pay a few bucks and, for web sites that contribute, ads are subtracted and sometimes replaced by thank-you notes. The money you pay is split between the site and Google; exactly the effect of running ads, but without ads.
I knew about this because there was an internal beta when I worked there, and I totally loved it.
I can’t report on it now because it’s US-only, but I gather uptake has been slow. This isn’t surprising since it’s apparently been a stealth launch; I recall seeing exactly zero media coverage.
I think it’s an incredibly radical idea, and the answer to all the people like me who say “I wish there was a way to be a customer of all the people whose writing I read, rather than a customer of advertisers I don’t know and may not like.”
Bear in mind that Google knows more of the truth about advertising then the next ten market players put together. I would love to be a fly on the wall in certain executive offices there, this week.
The fact that they’re doing this, and also the fact that they’re soft-pedaling it, are both super-interesting.