i’d rather lose speed than allow ads


A couple of random thoughts about web ads. This year marks the 20th anniversary of banner ads. If ever there was an invention that would generate so much discord, banner ads would be amongst the most reviled. Re/code asked a good question: has anyone said:

“Hey, did you see that awesome banner ad yesterday?”

The answer of course is a big no. People may remember good TV ads or print ads but most people’s reaction to banner ads, and most form of web ads, is ignore. No surprise, the more glaring and intrusive they are, the more people are turned off by them.


Whenever I use a public computer or one I haven’t set up I’m often flabbergasted at the amount of screen real estate that has been hijacked by ads. I googled a bit and found this example of that someone gave, of a page that has ads, ads, ads and a total of 8 words of actual content. I don’t know how old this screenshot is, and I have no intention of finding out.

Various forms of ad blockers are the most popular brower extensions. And even though they say it’s a must-have, lifehacker reported that ABP dramatically increases memory usage in firefox. What was surprising (actually not, considering lifehacker’s audience) were the commenters who said they’d tolerate slow loading times and even buy additional RAM rather than disable ABP. Fervent ABP users take the attitude of “allow ads over my dead body.”

The purveyers of ads always come out with the argument that without ad revenues they can’t continue to maintain their free sites. This argument never works. People who studiously block ads and nuisances will never click on an ad anyway; and nowadays with so many choices if one site shuts down a dozen will spring up in its place. Besides, whitelisting doesn’t really work because sooner or later the whitelisted sites will start serving annoying ads because sites that have ads are more concerned about selling things than providing a good user experience.

In any case, yes I’ve noticed firefox page loads are a little slower since the upgrade, may be it’s mum’s internet connection too. Doesn’t decrease my user experience, not compared with the alternative ad-filled scenario.