One more thing
Advertisers are appalled at Apple’s support for ad blocking, but our resident grouch isn’t.
Imagine if every time you read a newspaper or saw a billboard, a man in a cheap suit followed you. He’d be alone at first, but one would become two, two would become ten, ten would become twenty. They’d follow you everywhere: on buses and trains, down streets and through shops, when you walked the dog or worked out at the gym, and their expenses – their fares, their food, their data connections – would be charged to your debit card.
That’s pretty much what’s happening whenever you use the web – and because Apple wants to help stop it, Apple is being accused of being evil.
The row is over content blocking, which Apple will make much easier to do in iOS 9 and El Capitan. Apple’s support for ad blocking alongside the launch of its own ad-based app, Apple News, has got website owners and advertisers in a tizzy. How dare Apple help people block their ads! Doesn’t Apple know they have mouths to feed? Apple does know, but Apple also knows that those ads and trackers are making every one of its users’ online experience worse.
In the last few years there’s been a huge decline in internet speeds despite ever-faster broadband and Wi-Fi. It is particularly noticeable on iOS, which doesn’t benefit from the adblockers and anti-tracking services I use on my Mac to keep the web usable.
Every ad tracker and every third-party ad slows things down, because the trackers and ads need to communicate with the ad networks or other websites, and they can make page sizes significantly bigger too. Those witless “iPads for £20 with this special trick!” ad panels, auto-playing videos and invasive pop-ups are spying on you, killing your MacBook’s battery and bursting through your mobile data allowance.
According to the HTTP Archive, which studies these things, the average web page has increased in size from 828KB in 2012 to over 2MB today. Those are average sizes: we’ve seen 75KB of text magically turn into 12MB of bloat once all of the ads, videos and trackers have loaded. That’s affecting your device, your privacy and your connection, which is why Apple wants to make it easier to block.
I’m with Apple on this one. I’m not antiads, but I am anti- advertisers apparently believing they can do whatever they like irrespective of how badly it affects web use. If what you do is so useless, so unpopular and so anti-consumer that people are installing tools to stop it, take the hint: you need to think different. For Gary Marshall, ad blocking is just the start. He also wears a tinfoil hat to protect his head from the CIA’s brainwave-reading rays.
Those witless ads, auto-playing videos and invasive pop-ups kill your battery life