Tags: advertising

I Turned Off JavaScript for a Whole Week and It Was Glorious | WIRED

When someone’s web browsing experience can be so drastically improved by simply switching off JavaScript, you know it’s time for an intervention with web developers.

This is our fault. Client-side JavaScript gave us enormous power and we abused that power.

The Advertising Bubble (Idle Words)

The prognosis for publishers is grim. Repent! Find a way out of the adtech racket before it collapses around you. Ditch your tracking, show dumb ads that you sell directly (not through a thicket of intermediaries), and beg your readers for mercy. Respect their privacy, bandwidth, and intelligence, flatter their vanity, and maybe they’ll subscribe to something.

Why It’s OK to Block Ads | Practical Ethics

In reality, ad blockers are one of the few tools that we as users have if we want to push back against the perverse design logic that has cannibalized the soul of the Web.

If enough of us used ad blockers, it could help force a systemic shift away from the attention economy altogether—and the ultimate benefit to our lives would not just be “better ads.” It would be better products: better informational environments that are fundamentally designed to be on our side, to respect our increasingly scarce attention, and to help us navigate under the stars of our own goals and values. Isn’t that what technology is for?

Given all this, the question should not be whether ad blocking is ethical, but whether it is a moral obligation.

Responsive News — AMP and Responsive Web Design

Tom’s thoughts on what AMP means for developers and publishers. He was initially sceptical but now he’s cautiously optimistic. Like me, he’s hoping that AMP can force the hand of those third-party advertisers to get their act together.

Publisher’s development teams are very capable of creating fast experiences for mobile users, but they don’t have the clout to coordinate all the additional cruft that is added to the page. However, if all the different publishers dev team’s got together and put their weight behind a single implementation, then we can force third parties to change their habits.

The problem with our data-driven world by Alexis C. Madrigal

I really like this comparison between Waldsterben and the current situation with the web after years of pervasive tracking.

What Happens Next Will Amaze You

I refuse to believe that this cramped, stifling, stalkerish vision of the commercial Internet is the best we can do.

Performance update #2: Electric Boogaloo | Vox Product Blog

It’s really great to see the performance improvements being made by the Vox team. This is the one that I think will make the most difference:

Our Revenue Team is increasing focus on the impact our advertising has on user experience and overall performance. One of their biggest initiatives has been to change the way ads load from synchronous to asynchronous, which has been underway for several months and is nearing deployment.

The ethics of modern web ad-blocking – Marco.org

Yes! Yes! YES!

Marco makes the same comparison I did between the dark days of pop-up windows and the current abysmal state of bloated ads and tracking on today’s web.

This won’t be a clean, easy transition. Blocking pop-ups was much more incisive: it was easy for legitimate publishers to avoid one narrowly-useful Javascript function to open new windows. But it’s completely reasonable for today’s web readers to be so fed up that they disable all ads, or even all Javascript. Web developers and standards bodies couldn’t be more out of touch with this issue, racing ahead to give browsers and Javascript even more capabilities without adequately addressing the fundamental problems that will drive many people to disable huge chunks of their browser’s functionality.


I have one more thing to add to this list…

But publishers, advertisers, and browser vendors are all partly responsible for the situation we’re all in.

…developers. Somebody put those harm-causing script elements on those pages. Like I said: “What will you be apologising for in decades to come?”

In a few years, after the dust has settled, we’re all going to look back at today’s web’s excesses and abuses as an almost unbelievable embarrassment.

Publishing Versus Performance: Our Struggle for the Soul of the Web by Jeffrey Zeldman

Jeffrey weighs on the post I wrote about The Verge. I still feel like there’s a false dichotomy being presented here though: either performance or advertising. But advertising can be performant too. There’s a competitive advantage to be had there.

Monica at Mozilla: Tracking Protection for Firefox at Web 2.0 Security and Privacy 2015

I believe that Mozilla can make progress in privacy, but leadership needs to recognize that current advertising practices that enable “free” content are in direct conflict with security, privacy, stability, and performance concerns — and that Firefox is first and foremost a user-agent, not an industry-agent.

The Internet’s Original Sin - The Atlantic

Ethan Zuckerman riffs on Maciej’s talk at Beyond Tellerrand about the vortex of nastiness that we’ve spiralled down thanks to the default business model of the web: advertising.

Unfinished Business 73: We’ve reached peak burrito on Huffduffer

I had a lot of fun chatting with Andrew on his podcast. Yes, it’s a rambling affair but it’s worth sticking with it—we get really stuck in to some thorny questions about design and advertising.

The Internet With A Human Face - Beyond Tellerrand 2014 Conference Talk

The transcript of Maciej’s talk from Beyond Tellerrand on how the web has become more and more centralised:

The degree of centralization is remarkable. Consider that Google now makes hardware, operating systems, and a browser.

It’s not just possible, but fairly common for someone to visit a Google website from a Google device, using Google DNS servers and a Google browser on the way.

This is a level of of end-to-end control that would have caused us to riot in the streets if Microsoft had attempted it in 1999. But times have changed.


Great stuff from James Wragg and the gang at Madgex: a way of lazy-loading ads for responsive sites without messing with the ad code.

Tab Closed; Didn’t Read

Usually I find these kinds of name-and-shame collections to be unnecessarily mean-spirited. In this case, the sites being named and shamed are themselves guilty of far worse rudeness.

Google Profiles “Shared Endorsements”

You might want to untick the checkbox at the bottom of this screen:

Based upon my activity, Google may show my name and profile photo in shared endorsements that appear in ads.

This Recycling Bin Is Stalking You by Siraj Datoo in The Atlantic Cities

I, for one, welcome our new recycling bin panopticon overlords.

You might want to put your phone’s MAC address into this form.

Create a responsive ad unit - AdSense Help

Looks like Google are offering responsive (or at least adaptive) ad sizes.

Here is to ones who see things differently

An interesting observation on the changes in Apple’s advertising campaigns: it’s no longer about “here’s how great you (the user) can be”, instead it’s increasingly about “here’s how great we (the company) can be.”


Clever advertising.

Things Real People Don’t Say About Advertising

Yeah, it’s an easy target …but the cumulative effect is very funny.

Holy sh!t. Did you see that interstitial? That was dope. Refresh, refresh!!

The inadmissible assumptions - Charlie’s Diary

Yes! Charles Stross speaks the unspeakable: that advertising is fundamentally “wrong”.

He’s right, y’know.

Thieves Are Your Best Customers in Waiting – Stuntbox

A great article from David with some concrete proposals for media companies.

By the way, how nice is David’s new responsive design? Very nice. Very nice indeed.

Why does that QR Code go to justinsomnia.org? - Justinsomnia

As if you needed another reason why QR codes are shit ..are you certain you’ve proofed it?

São Paulo No Logo - a set on Flickr

Photographs showing the “before” and “after” of São Paulo’s astonishing Clean City act banning all outdoor advertising.


ART=WORK · Responsive Advertising

Some more thoughts on the challenges of combining advertising with responsive design.

Responsive Advertising| Mark Boulton

A great in-depth look at the tricky problem of advertising in responsive design from Mark.

Why We Need the New News Environment to be Chaotic « Clay Shirky

Clay Shirky takes a long hard look at the present (and future) of newspapers and—more important—of journalism. A good read.

Flyer beware; real cost of flying Ryanair « Alan Colville

Superb in-depth analysis of Ryanair’s website dark patterns and nasty brand strategy.

Publishing Experiences | booktwo.org

I wish I could’ve attended James’s talk at Tools of Change. It sounds like it was great.

Truthful TV Title Cards — Glark

If television were honest...

Science and Tech Ads - a set on Flickr

Vintage advertising of science and technology.

Martin ad

Derek Powazek - Now is a Great Time to Be a Media Maker

Derek weighs in with his view on the current state of publishing. I agree with his conclusion: "There has never been a better time to be making media. There are more tools to help than ever. There are more media consumers and media producers than ever. The world is more literate and media savvy than it’s ever been."

arc90 lab : experiments : Readability

An excellent bookmarklet designed to help you read more easily on the web (by hiding all that filthy, filthy advertising).

YouTube - MontyPython's Channel

There is now a dedicated Monty Python channel on YouTube, all legit like. Hurrah!

YouTube - experiencewii's Channel

Nintendo break the third wall to advertise Wario Land.


A brilliant piece of mindhacking for a good cause. Take the test for yourself and see if you can figure out where it's all leading.

Waxy.org: Daily Log: The Times (UK) Spamming Social Media Sites

Andy Baio does a nice bit of investigative journalism in exposing the social network spammer hired by The Times. The internet treats crass marketing as damage and routes around it.

If all your friends jumped off of a bridge… at Ben Brown, Internet Rockstar

Ben Brown outlines the reasons why he left Facebook: "I think it is important to note that Facebook, though they claim to be a tool for staying connected, is actually a software tool designed *primarily* to deliver marketing messages to its audience."

HEMA - online winkelen

A very cute bit of e-commerce chicanery.

Facebook's Misrepresentation of Beacon's Threat to Privacy: Tracking users who opt out or are not logged in. - CA Security Advisor Research Blog - CA

An excellent piece of research that shows how Facebook affiliates' cross-site scripting (Beacon) sends information back to the mothership regardless of whether the user has opted out.

Brand Autopsy: Buckley’s: The Good Taste of Bad Taste

Here's one for Matt and Cindy: Buckley's truth in advertising.

Collection of unfortunately placed ads | Ads of the World

Context is everything, as this collection of unfortunate juxtapositions shows.

The Serif - Your daily dose of design inspiration - The Serif

"£5000 in £10 and £20 notes were individually dropped around the streets of London with a removable sticker." Clever.

5 segundos

Superb blood donor video. Which reminds me...

FO: film & TV: Children of Men

All those ambent background movie clips and adverts in Children of Men. There's a lot of attention to detail here.

The Observer | OMM | 'Does music still matter? Yes ... and no!'

Nick Cave, Jarvis Cocker, and Beth Orton get together to dance about architecture.

AdAge.com redesign gets job done

Design review by Jay Small.

Using Confrontational Marketing to Build Brand Awareness in a Saturated Market

Starbucks employ a creative bit of viral marketing: coffee cups glued to car roofs.

Ads of the World | Daily Creative Fix

An extensive collection of adverts that somehow don't seem as annoying when gathered together like this. You could spend hours here.