Keeping The News Uncluttered With An Adblocker — Out Of Necessity.

I understand rather well that it is difficult for journalism to stay profitable on the internet.

Ads may seem like a natural solution — the more you "use" a website, the more revenue the publisher gains.

Yet it’s because of sites like The Daily Courier that I pretty much always use an adblocker, often in conjunction with "reader mode."

If you’ve never used an adblocker, you may not realize exactly how invasive and pervasive the advertisements have become. To illustrate, I took these screenshots of an article at the Daily Courier’s website — one with an adblocker, one without.

I think you will be able to tell which is which. (Click the image to embiggen.)

Site with adblocker on

without adblocker

I actually took a third screenshot after scrolling down the page a bit (revealing only four more lines of the article):

video ad

That, friends, is a freaking autoplaying video TV commercial that is embedded in the webpage.

Two decades ago, there might be a banner ad at the top of a page, and one or two down a sidebar. Maybe one more somewhere in the middle or end of the article, although that seemed like a lot back then.

It’s clear from these screenshots that the advertisements take up far more screen real estate than the actual content on the page.

I know that putting articles behind a paywall means they are read less often — that trend even holds in academia. At the same time, literally covering the screen in advertisements will either turn away readers or (more likely) reduce their revenue as readers turn to adblockers like uBlock Origin.

Additionally, ads often mean tracking, which can have adverse effects on user’s privacy… and for the site employing the advertising, as the US healthcare industry has recently realized.

There was a time when reporting the news was not seen so much as a profit-making endeavor, but as a civic responsibility.

Ultimately, it will take a societal return to that mindset to actually solve this problem.

Until then, try an adblocker and see how your experience of the internet changes.

Featured Image by Paul Steuber from Pixabay

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