How many of you use AdBlock?
I started messing with it in college and it's become a staple add-on to my desktop browser in the past three years or so. To the point where I always get shocked and repulsed whenever I load YouTube videos on a platform where I haven't installed AdBlock. Then I remember that this is what a lot of people have to do to watch YouTube on a normal basis.
Similarly, I sometimes scratch my head when I hear friends talk about ads targeted to them on Facebook. Then I remember that I've been blocking Facebook ads nearly as long as Facebook ads have been a thing.
Even if I block them. advertising is still a fundamental building block for Google and Facebook's revenue models. And it's a business model many news organizations rely on.
So there's been some consternation with a recent announcement that Apple will allow its Safari browser to carry ad-blocking extensions for iPhones and iPads, the first official allowance of adblocking for mobile environments. It's expected to become available shortly after September 9.
My main source for the story, Nieman Lab, is really focused on the media-publisher angst over blocked ads, which makes sense, as a media industry source. The dire warning from some in the industry is that this movie may force news publishers into even more problematic relationships with advertisers. Such is the argument of Danny Sullivan, a marketing and SEO-focused analyst:
That assessment makes sense. Media companies like Vox and BuzzFeed have demonstrated how a cooperative relationship with advertisers can translate into sustainable revenue.
From my perspective, this could be a welcome opportunity to discuss the fundamentals of the practice of advertising alongside editorial content. To my knowledge, there isn't a clear defining line in history where news is purely reader-supported and news becomes dependent on advertising. So many of us may take it for granted that advertising and news content are inherently intertwined.
But only a few years ago, Netflix kind of proved that a company can build a quality content platform in return for consistent and stable revenue from millions of subscribers.
Do you think we can do something similar for the news industry?
Recent music that I think encapsulates the argument that adblocking will kill modern media: A song from Metric's upcoming album, "Too Bad, So Sad"
I'm also experimenting with a page that keeps track of the music I've been listening to this week. They're all Spotify playlists, but I think anyone can scroll through. Check it out.