Coping: Ad Blockers & the Sunset of the Internet

Things are going from bad to worse when we look at the future of the Internet, as we have been doing since I wrote my book Broken Web.

The problem was underscored in Monday’s column when I explained how Texas Governor Greg Abbott went “consumer-direct” in his signing of the new Texas law that forbids public officials for interfering with ICE enforcement efforts.

This led me to suggest that the MSM is in trouble and may not know it yet.

(continues)

As reader Curtis correctly observed:

The MSM is dying, and everyone knows it…except them !! Americans will not remain dumb forever. They eventually wake up and turn their backs on the stupidity that has been passed off on them.”

While that’s certainly a correct assessment, there are actually two problems the MSM is dealing with.

The first is the Trump-led method of going “consumer-direct” and getting out of the ad-based old mainstream media model.  Where in the past, a presidential wannabe could go from “neighborhood organizer” to president by clever manipulation of a few central media pundits, the reality is that t5he Trump innovation involved tweeting out whatever was on his mind, whenever he felt like it, even at 3 AM.

So that is one way the Internet begins to implode.  The MSM loses its “lock” on the public as the “sole news source” and this is quickly turning from interesting academic discussion into an accomplished fact.

All About Business Models

The other way, though is much more subtle.

What is the future of the Internet as more and more users are running ad blockers?  None of those “sidebar ads” show up on most phones, too.

I’ll tell you from running some numbers here for this web site.  UrbanSurvival.com generates about $300-$400 per month from ad revenue.

However, most users are (don’t get pissy when I mention this) “free-loaders” in the sense that they are not supporting the website in any way. Think of blocked ads as blocked revenue/

Of course blocked ads is MUST faster computing  and therein layeth el problemo.

A few do support this whole shebang by spending the $40 per year for our www.peoplenomics.com premium content.  But they get more than their money’s worth because of our proprietary way of looking at markets.  Some of our subscribers have made upwards of 40% since last November I n the market.  And as we correctly forecast when BTCs were at $400, an Elliott Wave 3 up ($2,400+ range_ was expected..

And one stock recently that I mentioned when it was $2.00 per share was trading as high as $2.83 yesterday.

There’s a funny back-story here, you might get a kick out of:  I accidentally bought a round lot at $2.08 and sold it six days later for $2.2935 a share, lol.  I should have such trading accidents all the time:  10.26% in a week.

Back to point, about the web implosion to come: a LOT of content that people see on the internet would not be there without a good working business model.  Online ad sales account for perhaps half the content on the web, or even more.

Can you imagine what the internet would be like if Bad News wasn’t so easy to monetize?

Ad blockers may return the country to some semblance of “accidental sanity.”

Here’s how:

Say I have a web site and I want to imitate that business model guru George Ure’s UrbanSurvival.com site.

I simply take a theme that George has written about (pardon my dropping into multiple-personality disorder in the process here) and blow it up all out of proportion.  World’s going to end, comets willo crash, great quakes asunder////blah blah blah.

Then I go out to the easy to monetize operations (think Amazon, as an example) and I find some spendy widget that goes nicely with whatever today’s doom story is.

Presto:  A web site that makes money.  Can’t be beat, right?

Except for the ad blockers.  If the spendy gaudy gadget happens to be a graphic served up by another site (Amazon Web Services is dandy, don’t get me wrong and so are Google ad servers) but the Ad Blockers look at that part of the Urbanwhatever site and say “Hmmm…that ain’t coming from urbanwhatever…so it won’t be displayed.”

Now put on your “Extensibility Beanie”  as we hold hands and think a bit.

What happens when the NY Times or the Washington Post find that there is no longer any value to having ads on the right side column on their pages?  Newspapers are good for window washing, fish wrap, and napping on park benches for the homeless and all, but online…that’s where the people are.

And we the peeps are sick of ads.

I like to (ahem) experiment on Elaine.   So I put an ad blocker on her computer because she’s one of those delightful (but few-remaining) souls who falls easily for Link Bait.

With the link bait gone, she is more focused in her computer work and, oh yeah, her computer is about 3X faster because she’s not waiting for some ad server in wherever to pipe in a 30 second videos that she doesn’t want.

Now you see the problem:  Unlike television, where there was a long-term lack of competition, local channel watching is quickly shifting over to what?  Streaming.

And even on video, YouTube as a business model is also ad supported so why would they (as a matter of policy) allow users to put up videos that aren’t monetized?

I know…you’re thinking “Awe crap!  Commercials everywhere!!!

Yes, there is a common delusion that the Internet would be a wonderful place because it would be “free!”  Except that the reality is that free really means you are still paying it’s just that writing a check is more painful than wasting time on ads.

Ad Blockers will fix you right up.  See www.ghostery.com for a simple browser extension for FF or MSFT browsers.

When you start blocking ads, you will start enjoying the web a lot more and things will definitely be faster.

And don’t worry about UrbanSurvival going away.  We will simply hit a point when our revenue falls far enough, that we will have an archive on this site and point everyone over to Peoplenomics.

The way I have it figured, my value isn’t as a writer.  There’s automatic rewriting software that will do that all day long.  In fact here (a Google search) is a whole raft of products that will do just that.  Hell, you could take some of them and rewrite the NY Times or Drudge on the fly…but then you’d come up against the save business model problem that the MSM has.

Ad blockers.

So instead, I don’t think of myself so much as a clever writer (for obvious reasons).  But I do picture myself as having a worthy brain.

And my job is to sell subscriptions to access that that “value bump” between my shoulders.

So when I tell Peoplenomics subscribers about the NEXT big battle for your mind in Peoplenomics tomorrow – which BTW is  DRM Declares War on DIY…   well, THAT ain’t gonna be on the free side of things because of what?

(Ad blockers!!!)

In the end, you get what you pay for.

Coming soon -but in slow motion because we are thick-headed apes –  to an Internet near you.

Write when you get rich,

George@ure.net

Comments

Coping: Ad Blockers & the Sunset of the Internet — 20 Comments

  1. Thanks for ghostrey The hufpo website is now half empty white space. What I last looked at on amazon isn’t following me around the internet.
    Ad-doubleclick is gone.

  2. I cut cable years ago, bought digital converter for locals. Cut phone off, put in DSL for $30 month. Have two cells, you don’t call me I call you. This has done 3 things, no or veery little wasted time, less stress, no ringing phones, no annoying expensive bills… I pay for three services of which yours is best. Ad blocker keeps me from seeing some of your content but not the good stuff. Makes many sites much more readable and stops constant reloading. Retired this year, sold my airplane, now enjoy sitting on porch feeding squirrels, watching investments grow. What a life, Thanks

  3. Hello, George,
    Another two things which are killing interest in certain sites (Foxnews, Drudge, Daily Mail, just to name a FEW!) are auto refresh/reload which you CANNOT disable (I HAVE tried!) and autoplay of sound/video (which you ALSO CANNOT DISABLE!).
    Tried writing to websites, no response, even though it’s making people turn away from those sites due to the ‘omission’ of control on the receiving end! /smh

    Regards,
    Robert

    • You can disable all of these things, you’re just too dumb to figure it out.

      • Crawl out of your Momma’s basement and say that to my face, simpleton. BTW, I’m running this desktop system using ONLY a 32GB flash drive – NO HARD DRIVE AT ALL! Bet you couldn’t even figure that out. So WHO’s dumb?

      • Tisk, tisk…drink your beer like good patrons – politely – or I’ll have to call the etiquette cops

    • Keep your devices on mute or volume off, don’t give them the luxury of listening to the mindless tones of crap.

    • Auto-refresh is done with a Java or ActiveX control, or on sites like Drudge with the HTML meta “refresh” tag. Video content is pushed via Java or ActiveX with (usually) Flash, or sometimes Air or Shockwave. To avoid ActiveX controls, use any browser that’s not Internet Explorer based. To skip rich content, disable Javascript. To get around Drudge’s refresh tag, select to view the page offline. Go back online to follow Drudge’s links. There is no quick-and-dirty way to avoid imbedded sound, other than the off-switch.

      • Using Lubuntu 17.04, Mozilla Firefox 53.0, Flash Block Plus, nothing IE based. Tried searching through the code, tried various blockers, including the ‘ghostery’ spyware, still no luck. It’s not just the audio, I don’t have many resources to use for internet, so I would like to keep the unnecessary stuff shut down, period.

      • Okay, you’re not a n00b, so edit your HOSTS file (in /etc) to send offending urls to null (set localhost to 0.0.0.0 in the HOSTS file unless you’re running a proxy at 127.x.x.x) I’ve run “Spybot Search and Destroy” on Winboxes for 15 years, principally because the folks at safer-networking.org do a really good job with their HOSTS file. They used to have just the HOSTS file for download, but I didn’t see a link there, today.

        My suggestion is to grab a copy of Spybot, install, update, then filch the HOSTS file (it’ll be in \Windows\System32\drivers\etc on a Windows machine, dunno where a *NIX VM will stick it) and copy+paste it into your system’s HOSTS file. Then go here: http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-software-2/spybot-search-and-destroy-for-ubuntu-12-04-a-4175535480/ and read the post by user “frankbell” (2nd one down.)

  4. Because I’m not in the market, I haven’t been able to justify the $40 for your pay side. When you have to switch, I will pay, because I value the information, and entertainment this site delivers. I have been a faithful reader for many years, and appreciate what you do.

  5. Another nail in the MSM coffin is cord cutting. For a modest expense one can buy a device that attachés to one’s TV. Then using existing internet connection a wide variety of video resources are available for streaming. There can be video tradeoffs but there. Is also a significance savings. By adding readily a available software it is possible to watch current films and TV programs for free. Of course there are significant copyright issues. The business model I see coming is higher fees for ACCESS to the Internet. These fees somehow being shared with media producers.

    BTW I miss the old paper Christian Science Monitor.

  6. I run an ad blocker by necessity, since it’s part of the most useful and tolerably fast browser I can find(Pale Moon). I also run Noscript since silly scripting is used on almost all sites and I’d rather deal with bad formatting than slow/no loading. I run 100+ open windows/tabs all the time, and actually use this many views. If the system bogs down badly, I can deliberately cancel the one process of this browser and restart, capturing the open views, and then I can selectively eliminate them. Chrome and its ilk won’t allow this(multi-processes, unlabeled), and I’d be lucky to function with much more than 10 open views. It’s also bloatware.

    One pet peeve is that websites may have 40+ separate domains contributing to one page, each trying to script it. To me, that’s either bad or evil design. I often just pass on that page. The large news media are famous for this.

    In defense of my ad blocking, I do subscribe, and I’m a happy customer.

  7. MSM has lost my interest a long time ago.it is totally scripted and controlled in my opinion..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJ-OpcWuxE4 . I think that is one reason why I scan newseum.org and urgansurvival, drudge, blacklisted news and many more I hit the world newspapers to get a good spin not just in one area but around the world and urban survival to get another outlook on what is going on in the world eventually you can spot the true story and get the proper picture of what is going on..
    As for ad blockers.. there are some sites that if you go to read a story the ad’s pop up so fast that you never reach the story.. I had one that ad’s were popping up so fast that I ended up just having to cut the power to the computer to stop it.. so the ad blocker is a necessity..
    Most sites put their own spin on a popular story and will at times eliminate what is truly happening just to keep from upsetting the more powerful people..As far as MS networks.. unless you want to watch an amazing race or some dorm room cat calling and game playing there is very little quality tv on anymore and when the commercials are the most entertaining of the shows..well it is just time to avoid those channels.. I think cost effective production which is why I joined Netflix..

  8. Living “way out in the woods” internet access ain’t cheap. With Satt connections there is a tight cap on bits per billing period, which I can’t afford to waste with pop-up videos that are difficult to shut down. Once I reach my cap, I’m throttled down to dial-up modem speeds.

  9. George you mention that you might park money in the Treasury Direct “holding” area to keep it out of banks. I called Treasury Direct and they said they don’t have a holding area for money to be kept for new bills to be purchased. Can you tell me how to find the holding area, would like to use it for my T.D.

    • Sorry John… when I say “holding” it referenced just holding short term bills – they don’t “hold” or have a savings-like feature.

  10. I wouldn’t mind 1 or 2 ads pertinent to the site I was on. It’s the sites like the NYT and WaPo, WSJ, CNN, MSNBC, etc. where you are bombarded with 20-30 ads loading. And the ads have nothing to do with the news content.

    Or DIY sites where there are dating ads, sexy underwear ads, links to gossip sites, etc.

    I have run Ghostery since it was released, and it changed things for the better from my perspective here in the drivers seat of this Mac.

    I don’t mind paying, but the issue with paying is everybody wants you to subscribe but rarely does their content justify the price (you are an exception). I don’t need or want the WSJ spin on things most of the time – occasionally is all I need..But there is no option for a-la-carte access.

    Similarly – if it was a buck a throw for content that was pertinent to a subject I was following – fine. But it’s never just a buck, and the next thing you know you are on a SPAM list somewhere and your email is stuffed with crap.

    The entire business model needs to be revamped in some way, because the monetizing tentacles run through everything. With 10 or more sites for even esoteric subjects like underwater basket weaving, subscribing is nuts without seeing into the site to determine if the walled info is what you are really after.

    Peak Prosperity is typical of this kind of mess – lots of good info, but it’s really a doom porn site with how to save your money stash as the real core. Yet you wouldn’t know it until you got into the site.

    I don’t have the answer. But there will be one eventually…

  11. Ain’t it the truth George?! It’s had been my mantra for years! “You get what you pay for”. You want cheap, you get cheap. You want things free….you get cheap. There is a difference between being smart and judicious than trying to get things cheap or free. Part of the problem with the people in this country is the majority aren’t willing to pay the price for success, knowledge, or independence. They want things easy, free and cheap. The best things in life are worth fighting for or working your butt off, or paying the price for. Not to patronize but Peoplemomics is a great value for the price.