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Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 24, 2015, 09:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Just for your information, last night I wanted to continue reading a MacNN article on my phone, and all I got was this:

(Since I have an iPhone 5 (32 bit), it does not run any ad blockers.)

Isn't this the absolute worst for everyone? Someone who does not run any ad blockers on a device cannot access a site that the publisher wants people to see because of too many connections (to ad networks)?
What article were you trying to look at?
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 24, 2015, 09:33 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
What article were you trying to look at?
The one on ARM moving to Macs. That has happened to me a few times in the past, also on other sites. While I can't prove it, I'm fairly certain it's ad related (mobile Safari seems to have a lower limit on the number of concurrent connections than its desktop sister).
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subego
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Sep 25, 2015, 12:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
The reason I take issue with the word stealing is that to me it is a word that only applies to physical goods...
Anyone who's had an idea stolen from them would beg to differ.
     
subego
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Sep 25, 2015, 01:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
I don't see the connection between my post and your response. So let me take another crack at it: There is a difference between things that are publicly available (open house with a sign on it “Please come in!”) and things that are not (where you have to intrude to take something). If you make something publicly available, the onus is on you to decide whether or not you want to introduce and enforce restrictions (e. g. IP-based geo blocking or ad blocking detection). You set the conditions of the deal, and part of that may be that you decide to (or not to) introduce ad blocker detection (which can be implemented with practically zero effort).
Almost every open house ever exists with the intent of selling you something.

Let's say the proprietor of an open house offers coffee and donuts to people who come in. What is your opinion of someone who has no intent to buy taking coffee and a donut?
     
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Sep 25, 2015, 01:25 AM
 
****. Now I'm hungry.
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 25, 2015, 02:16 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Anyone who's had an idea stolen from them would beg to differ.
What makes you think that hasn't happened to me or anyone else here? (In my line of work, it's all about ideas and correct attribution of who has had an idea first, so I am very sensitive to that topic.) And just because I don't consider it stealing doesn't mean I don't find it objectionable. But when you use the term “stealing” you conflate very different circumstances. Especially the present context of the morality of ad blocking and tracking is way more intricate than such a simplistic term suggests, and calling ad blocking stealing does nothing but stop the discussion in its tracks.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Let's say the proprietor of an open house offers coffee and donuts to people who come in. What is your opinion of someone who has no intent to buy taking coffee and a donut?
I see nothing wrong with that, I feel no obligation to buy something after trying a free sample. Perhaps I don't like your coffee or your donuts. Maybe I don't buy something now, but I might in the future. Or I make a positive mention of the place to someone else. And it is clear to the store owner that he or she won't oblige people to buy something. But they will surely attract people with free samples and some of them will end up buying something.
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Sep 25, 2015, 02:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
Again, there are other ways to make money on the web.
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subego
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Sep 25, 2015, 02:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
What makes you think that hasn't happened to me or anyone else here? (In my line of work, it's all about ideas and correct attribution of who has had an idea first, so I am very sensitive to that topic.) And just because I don't consider it stealing doesn't mean I don't find it objectionable. But when you use the term “stealing” you conflate very different circumstances. Especially the present context of the morality of ad blocking and tracking is way more intricate than such a simplistic term suggests, and calling ad blocking stealing does nothing but stop the discussion in its tracks.

I see nothing wrong with that, I feel no obligation to buy something after trying a free sample. Perhaps I don't like your coffee or your donuts. Maybe I don't buy something now, but I might in the future. Or I make a positive mention of the place to someone else. And it is clear to the store owner that he or she won't oblige people to buy something. But they will surely attract people with free samples and some of them will end up buying something.
1) My point is the term "stealing" is less semantically rigid than you are claiming. I'm countering the assertion it only applies to physical goods with a well known example of it not being the case. You ask why I assume this hasn't happened to you, In fact, I assumed the opposite. I was counting on it to have happened to you, and presented the implicit question why you don't consider that stealing, despite it not being a physical object.

As for it killing discussion, could have fooled me. This is a pretty verbose lack of discussion.

Seriously however, I wouldn't argue with the claim people use the term with the intent to stifle discussion. I don't approve of that, but it doesn't mean I get wishy-washy with my language because some other guy is an asshole. When I steal an idea, which I have, I've stolen it. Similarly, I don't really care if it implies illegality. I'm not morally bothered by people failing to adhere to stupid laws. Illegality in and of itself doesn't make an act immoral just as legality doesn't make an act moral.


2) I'm (at least attempting) to be more specific than it came across.

Unless I'm mistaken, it appeared as if I was implying taking the coffee and donuts obligates you to buy. That isn't the case, and isn't where I was going with it.

Allow me to refine the scenario. Let's say the open house is for a piece of property you know you can't afford, or in a neighborhood you know is too dangerous for you to live in, or too far away from work for you to travel.

IOW, you've decided not to buy before you even walk in. Despite the fact the public is invited, aren't you taking advantage of the proprietor's hospitality?
( Last edited by subego; Sep 25, 2015 at 03:13 AM. )
     
Spheric Harlot
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Sep 25, 2015, 02:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
And I have to admit, even if you offer a fair "album only" for all the tracks because you as an artist consider the album to be a whole piece, I'm still probably going to steal it, I just have less justification.

That said, chances are the only way I heard about it in the first place was hearing an individual song on Pandora, so the musician clearly has some willingness to bust up their work.
Oh boy. You mentioned Pandora...now THERE'S a can - err, box, of ... Worms
     
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Sep 25, 2015, 03:11 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Oh boy. You mentioned Pandora...now THERE'S a can - err, box, of ... Worms
The wormy part isn't them playing single tracks off an album. If an artist is okay with that concept, be it Pandora or terrestrial radio back in ye olden days (to further distance ourselves from the worms), the whole "my music must be experienced in album format" excuse is horseshit.
     
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Sep 25, 2015, 04:32 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
1) [...] As for it killing discussion, could have fooled me. This is a pretty verbose lack of discussion.
Yeah, but I really feel I have wasted a lot of time here arguing about semantics. (And my only justification is the pointless attempt to keep things which I think are completely different separate from one another.) If people who make a living off of advertising claim people who use ad blockers are stealing, then they're not just oversimplifying a nuanced situation, they are shutting down the discussion with the people they are trying to attract in the first place.

So instead of having a constructive discussion about the topic at hand, I feel like I have contributed to derailing the discussion here to something rather boring. (I honestly don't mean to offend you, I can't resist getting definitions right — that's an occupational hazard as a mathematician.)
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Seriously however, I wouldn't argue with the claim people use the term with the intent to stifle discussion. I don't approve of that, but it doesn't mean I get wishy-washy with my language because some other guy is an asshole. When I steal an idea, which I have, I've stolen it.
Again, I would never use the term stealing in that context. From the perspective of a scientist, that you do is use my ideas without attributing it to me. The objectionable thing to me is not that you use my ideas, in fact if you are in my line of work that's the [b[best thing that can happen to me[/b], no, it is that you don't give me credit for them. In art, copying (e. g. in the form of a homage) can even be flattering. The only time when I would colloquially use the term stealing is when you obtain what I have done before publication, and you pretend it is your own idea. But that is a serious form of plagiarism and implies criminal energy.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
2) [...] Allow me to refine the scenario. Let's say the open house is for a piece of property you know you can't afford, or in a neighborhood you know is too dangerous for you to live in, or too far away from work for you to travel.

IOW, you've decided not to buy before you even walk in. Despite the fact the public is invited, aren't you taking advantage of the proprietor's hospitality?
Yeah, but that is a matter of etiquette, you are being disrespectful to the host, but not stealing from him or her.
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subego
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Sep 25, 2015, 07:09 AM
 
Your post highlights our differences in approach.

Because advertisers use the word "stealing" as a means to stifle dissent, you've opted for the Sisyphean task of redefining the term to the point where "stealing an idea" is no longer a valid construction.

I've opted to call it stealing, and if I don't give a shit about doing it I say I don't give a shit about doing it.

It's no surprise which of these approaches will leave one with a feeling of having wasted time.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 25, 2015, 07:53 AM
 
Semantics aside, the morality of the issue from both sides remains:

For a site you know uses ads to stay afloat, is blocking those ads unethical?

This is a separate argument from the issue of if these ads hurt your productivity or computer, which also needs to be evaluated.
     
subego
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Sep 25, 2015, 08:02 AM
 
Yes.

At the very least you're not holding up your end of an implicit bargain.

In your list of separate arguments I'd also place tracking cookies. It's questionable whether those are in the implicit bargain.
     
Phileas
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Sep 25, 2015, 08:35 AM
 
Here, to muddle the waters even more, is an additional thought.

Online publishers, unlike print publishers, typically get paid on clicks, not on display.
The clickthrough rate on online ads is, typically, in the region of 0.2 %. That's considered a success.

There is a documented condition called banner blindness. This refers to the human brain's ability to recognize where "the good stuff" is on a website, then blank out the remainder. This happens to most of us, automatically. Eyeball tracking studies are unanimous on this.

According to subego's view on things, everybody who's not clicking on the publisher's ad is also guilty of theft, as they are consuming the content without taking any action that would result in the publisher making a profit.
     
subego
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Sep 25, 2015, 08:58 AM
 
This is not the case if the seller sets a price which can be met without the seller profiting.

If the seller sets the price "you get these ads displayed along with my content", by allowing the content to be displayed, I have met their price and my obligation is fulfilled. What the agreement is between them and the advertiser is irrelevant.
     
Phileas
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Sep 25, 2015, 10:31 AM
 
Amusingly enough, I just got a massive pop-over served. (I'm at work, no blockers here)
Even more amusing, the only thing more annoying than jetskis, in my book, are snowmobiles.

     
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Sep 25, 2015, 10:49 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
The wormy part isn't them playing single tracks off an album. If an artist is okay with that concept, be it Pandora or terrestrial radio back in ye olden days (to further distance ourselves from the worms), the whole "my music must be experienced in album format" excuse is horseshit.
"My novel is designed to be read in its entirety."

Go right ahead. I'm not going to argue that there's a problem with a painting of Dali's being printed A4 on a t-shirt, but don't tell me that does it justice, or that the artist's concept of how it was INTENDED to be enjoyed is horseshit.
     
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Sep 25, 2015, 11:30 AM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
Amusingly enough, I just got a massive pop-over served. (I'm at work, no blockers here)
Even more amusing, the only thing more annoying than jetskis, in my book, are snowmobiles.

Good to know. I'll have that one killed.

This is part of the problem. I have to opt OUT of specific ads. Sometimes, ads from classes we specifically say we don't want, say, asian mail-order brides, still get included because of ad network, and advertiser chicanery. This is all a problem.
     
The Final Dakar
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Sep 25, 2015, 11:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
Good to know. I'll have that one killed.

This is part of the problem. I have to opt OUT of specific ads. Sometimes, ads from classes we specifically say we don't want, say, asian mail-order brides, still get included because of ad network, and advertiser chicanery. This is all a problem.
Are there better curated ad networks? Do they pay less?
     
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Sep 25, 2015, 11:46 AM
 
Deck seems ethical.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Sep 25, 2015, 12:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Are there better curated ad networks?
Yes. There are also far worse. In my experience, the chicanery is by the advertisers themselves, not the network.

Do they pay less?
FAR, FAR less.
     
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Sep 25, 2015, 12:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Deck seems ethical.
They are, and the terms and conditions, and reimbursement, are shit. Good for a one-man show, with free volunteers.

We are not that one man show.
     
The Final Dakar
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Sep 25, 2015, 12:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
Yes. There are also far worse. In my experience, the chicanery is by the advertisers themselves, not the network.



FAR, FAR less.
It seems to me that by your math, the amount you lose to people being frustrated by your ads and blocking them is less than what you would lose by using a better run ad network.
     
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Sep 25, 2015, 12:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
It seems to me that by your math, the amount you lose to people being frustrated by your ads and blocking them is less than what you would lose by using a better run ad network.
I haven't shared any numbers or given any math, as there is none to give that's reliably discernible without explicit MacNN monitoring of you, which I want zero part of. Also in my experience, the people who are going to block do it regardless of the ethics of the ad vendor, for aforementioned personal reasons related to other sites, abuse, et cetera.
     
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Sep 25, 2015, 03:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
"My novel is designed to be read in its entirety."

Go right ahead. I'm not going to argue that there's a problem with a painting of Dali's being printed A4 on a t-shirt, but don't tell me that does it justice, or that the artist's concept of how it was INTENDED to be enjoyed is horseshit.
I didn't say that, like at all.

What's horseshit is justifying "album only" with that rationale, while simultaneously allowing it to be broken up into individual pieces for marketing purposes.

What's horseshit is the lack of consistency.
     
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Sep 25, 2015, 05:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I didn't say that, like at all.

What's horseshit is justifying "album only" with that rationale, while simultaneously allowing it to be broken up into individual pieces for marketing purposes.

What's horseshit is the lack of consistency.
Um...your logic fails. 45s, anyone?

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Sep 25, 2015, 05:09 PM
 
I don't understand the comment. Aren't 45s the opposite of "album only"?
     
starman  (op)
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Sep 25, 2015, 05:11 PM
 
Really? You JUST SAID:

What's horseshit is justifying "album only" with that rationale, while simultaneously allowing it to be broken up into individual pieces for marketing purposes.
So you bought the 45 OR the album. Or you could buy both because sometimes 45s had a b-side not on the album. This isn't new.

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Sep 25, 2015, 05:18 PM
 
Originally Posted by starman View Post
Really? You JUST SAID:



So you bought the 45 OR the album. Or you could buy both because sometimes 45s had a b-side not on the album. This isn't new.
The subject under discussion are artists who give no option to buy individual tracks. This is the entire album being album only on the iTMS.

Where is the 45 analog if an artist is not selling any individual tracks?
     
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Sep 25, 2015, 05:25 PM
 
Because in the 70s/80s, not every artist released 45s. Some did, some didn't.

This isn't new. People are just entitled now.

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Sep 25, 2015, 05:29 PM
 
And if the rationale given for not releasing 45s is because the album is meant to be experienced in its totality, this is inconsistent with marketing the album by means of individual tracks on the radio.

Edit: likewise, as the person insisting the procurement of music in violation of the artist's wishes is theft, the accusations of entitlement most certainly don't apply to me.
( Last edited by subego; Sep 25, 2015 at 05:42 PM. )
     
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Sep 25, 2015, 05:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by mindwaves View Post
Top iOS ad blocker Crystal lets advertisers pay to bypass restrictions

Maybe time to download a different ad blocker now.
This article is incorrect. Crystal will, with its next update, allow whitelists and will come with one such list enabled by default. That list is the "acceptable ads" list from ABP. That is...creepy, because advertisers have to pay to be certified by ABP, and the Crystal dev apparently gets a small kickback of that as well, but I can see wanting to give advertisers a way out with improver behaviour, and the "acceptable ads" will be optional. If advertisers didn't have to pay, I'd be fine with it.
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Sep 25, 2015, 10:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
Semantics aside, the morality of the issue from both sides remains:

For a site you know uses ads to stay afloat, is blocking those ads unethical?
I think you are asking the wrong question. The damage is done, and ads the way they are now will never again be a viable way to finance online professional publications. I think dwelling in the feeling that the whole situation is unfair, that people who block ads just don't appreciate your point of view are seconds wasted on finding a way out for yourself.

Just reading what you wrote about your dealings with ad networks (and I'm sure that's just a tiny fraction of it), underlines that it is not just ad blockers, publishers getting bad rates or you having to manually deal with bad ads, it is all of it. (If it is anything like deleting forum spam during the hey days, I have an idea what that's like.)

Subego's claims that “What the agreement is between them and the advertiser is irrelevant.” It is exactly the opposite: having publishers play whack-a-mole with bad ads is what has contributed significantly to average people wanting to install ad blockers. Moreover, industry practices have made it impossible to “just block trackers”, because pretty much all every single ad comes with its own tracker. I would seriously consider enabling “allow non-tracking ads” if it worked as advertised.

Moreover, there is another factor relevant to the discussion which has nothing to do with ad blockers, the overabundance of content. It is so easy for people to start their own website or blog, and overall, I think this is great for humanity. On the other hand, a lot of the content is crap, it is derivative. How many iPhone 6S reviews are you going to read? What are you contributing by making one? (I am not singling out tech sites, the same is true for regular news where many articles from different sites on the same topics are just elaborations of the same generic AP template. IMHO smaller sites can only survive if they can build a loyal readership. Larger sites have to go for volume. Things like Patreon are only good for smaller operations run by 1~3 people (e. g. Chris Harris or Dan Carlin come to mind). Apparently, The Deck ads fall into the same category.

The current business model of ad-financed content is at a cross roads because in most cases the interests of publishers, readers and advertisers all point in different directions. Personally, I think advertisers are in the strongest position, because they will just divest their money to other forms of advertisement — for them it is a zero sum game. So publishers could either try to align with their advertisers (which I think is futile and stupid, they're giving even more power to them) or their readers. The latter could mean that the site shrinks in size, but the readers who remain are the most loyal.
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Sep 25, 2015, 10:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by P View Post
This article is incorrect. Crystal will, with its next update, allow whitelists and will come with one such list enabled by default. That list is the "acceptable ads" list from ABP. That is...creepy, because advertisers have to pay to be certified by ABP, and the Crystal dev apparently gets a small kickback of that as well, but I can see wanting to give advertisers a way out with improver behaviour, and the "acceptable ads" will be optional. If advertisers didn't have to pay, I'd be fine with it.
Companies like ABP are really creeping me out, they are really the leeches that play both sides. Fortunately there are other ad blocker companies whose business model works differently, e. g. Ghostery or Disconnect.
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Sep 25, 2015, 11:30 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post
Subego's claims that “What the agreement is between them and the advertiser is irrelevant.”
Let the record show this statement has been entirely stripped of context.
     
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Sep 26, 2015, 08:15 AM
 
A part of the argument that hasn't been made is that there is a very real monetary cost for consumers of "free" ad supported content. Their bandwidth costs them money and mobile bandwidth especially is still expensive.

Where is the agreement that states "if you visit this site we will download additional content to your device that only benefits us. We expect you to pay for this download."
     
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Sep 26, 2015, 10:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by Phileas View Post
Where is the agreement that states "if you visit this site we will download additional content to your device that only benefits us. We expect you to pay for this download."
There are a lot of problems with implicit agreements where one party can change the terms on the fly without notifying the other party. And while I think many people don't care enough or are even ok with the tracking, the vast majority I bet objects to the impact of ads on their wallet.
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Sep 26, 2015, 01:02 PM
 
I can see arguments against tracking software, and I have yet to fully formulate my opinion.

However I question the notion the problem is bandwidth use.

If it can be demonstrated they're using a lot of bandwidth, then I agree it's a problem, but I've seen very little evidence (okay, none if you want to be a stickler) the bandwidth goes past negligible.

I need some evidence of that being a problem before I consider said behavior as the default.
     
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Sep 26, 2015, 01:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I can see arguments against tracking software, and I have yet to fully formulate my opinion.

However I question the notion the problem is bandwidth use.

If it can be demonstrated they're using a lot of bandwidth, then I agree it's a problem, but I've seen very little evidence (okay, none if you want to be a stickler) the bandwidth goes past negligible.

I need some evidence of that being a problem before I consider said behavior as the default.
Ads in general use a lot of bandwidth:

Crystal Benchmarks — Murphy Apps

Or did you mean whether the frackers do?
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Sep 26, 2015, 01:19 PM
 
Trackers.
     
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Sep 26, 2015, 01:35 PM
 
A little bit of JS isn't going to draw a lot of bandwidth, no, but ads in general certainly - and more today than just a year ago. In the summers, I have to rely on a 4G connection with a fixed cap per month, and it is clear just how much quicker you get to that cap these days. This year had the hilarious case of our 4G supplier putting video ads on every Swedish site, burning the allowance even faster.
The new Mac Pro has up to 30 MB of cache inside the processor itself. That's more than the HD in my first Mac. Somehow I'm still running out of space.
     
Phileas
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Sep 26, 2015, 01:48 PM
 
From the reports I've been reading, on a typical ad supported web site, more than 50% of the data downloaded goes to ads and third party content.
     
subego
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Sep 26, 2015, 02:18 PM
 
I thought your original statement was referring to trackers. My bad.
     
subego
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Sep 26, 2015, 02:52 PM
 
What I'm taking issue with in this thread is the construct "a content provider offers onerous terms, therefore I can have the content with no responsibility". I disagree with the notion onerous terms negates your responsibility.

If you want to abdicate responsibility because the content provider sucks donkey balls? Go right ahead. I can't object to that. It's not like I haven't done it myself.
     
subego
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Sep 26, 2015, 08:48 PM
 
I'm not sure if the lack of response is...

"Oh, that's reasonable" or "go **** yourself, corporate shill".
     
turtle777
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Sep 26, 2015, 09:05 PM
 
Go and reasonably f$&@ yourself, corporate shill.

-t
     
subego
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Sep 26, 2015, 09:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
Go and reasonably f$&@ yourself
Which means put a condom on, first.
     
OreoCookie
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Sep 26, 2015, 10:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I can see arguments against tracking software, and I have yet to fully formulate my opinion.

However I question the notion the problem is bandwidth use.

If it can be demonstrated they're using a lot of bandwidth, then I agree it's a problem, but I've seen very little evidence (okay, none if you want to be a stickler) the bandwidth goes past negligible.
Then I suggest you have a look at the plentiful analyses on that subject. I'll just select a few here.
- Popular websites embed between 10 and 100 trackers (~25 on average). Almost all ads contain trackers, so if you only block trackers you automatically block ads as well in the process.

- Here is an in-depth analysis of a single site, The Verge (ironically for the article The mobile web sucks): 75.3 kB html (the actual content) vs. 9.6~12 MB of total downloads. 7 MB of that is JavaScript. You can guess what the JavaScript is for. And yes, not every site is as riddled with trackers/ads as The Verge. The article notes that several trackers are loaded multiple times. So even if you are pro tracking and pro ads, there is very little in the way of optimization.

- Another in-depth analysis looks at TheNextWeb. I include it, because it also gives evidence that the problem has gotten worse: looking at the same article, it weighed in at >6 MB in 2011, and it is 11 MB now.

- If you want to have a look at some broader statistics, here are some by MondayNote 1, Monday Note 2, Brook's Review. Conclusion, on most popular size, you can save ~50 % of data by enabling ad blockers, and given the size of downloads per page, this is significant. Also have a look at a comparison to wikipedia where the size of the content vs. size of the page dimension is explored.

- I posted my own test with MacNN's homepage earlier in the thread: ~50 % reduction in data usage and a load time of 8 vs. >30 seconds. Feel free to repeat the experiment with your favorite pages yourself.

- Here is a comparison of load times with videos. Note that most modern sites no longer even work if you have a very slow internet connection (such as is the case if you exceed your data allowance in Germany).

If you want, I can post more links (and I encourage other people to do so). I forgot where I found data on mobile browsing, though, sorry. We can argue about which pages are representative and should or should not be included, but ~50 % bloat for a design that is not really optimized for size but for ads.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
subego
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Sep 26, 2015, 11:05 PM
 
I didn't cover every work of every link, but the Verge one seemed to be the only one discussing tracker impact on bandwidth.

That said, I'll fully admit 7 megs worth of trackers per page visit is off the hook.
     
 
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