I think it's more crucial than ever that everyone use adblockers and refuse to support sites that retaliate with anti-social behavior. Yes, news orgs need funding, but there's no requirement that they use the web's current ad model to get it.
First they came with the blink tag. Then they added animated GIFs everywhere.
They came with the pop-up. Then they put the pop-up under the main window.
Ad-blockers' first usage was to make the Web readable. Then years later privacy concerns took over.
I know HN has some JS, but I realized that I usually click on comments link for HN stuff since I know it's going to load super fast and not have a ton of useless crap on the page. If the comments are interesting I might read it, but most of the time there's more information in comments than the article itself. Or people quote the interesting parts. Maybe this is lazy or just the parent-of-two way to ingest tech info over morning cereal
I'm curious is there any practical fallout turning JS off completely? Do you just switch it back on for things like e-commerce, web UI's etc? I always find the context switching to the settings menu a bit of a pain. Do you have some recommendations for things that make JS-free web browsing practical or seamless? Cheers.
Though it would probably take legislation to make orgs use it. The current workflows have a lot of dark patterns, despite GDPR.
I say "consumers" rather than "customers" because at this point it feels more like the people buying data are the customers, rather than the actual daily website visitors.
If it's uniform and learnable, the possibility to trick people shrinks dramatically.
(Please don't say "just don't use those sites, then." I'll use something else if there's an alternative, but there often isn't, and I'm not willing to cut myself off from a big chunk of the web on principle alone.)
I don't mind JS, but when you go to a Kinja website, 20+ domains are serving up JS that runs in your browser. That's insane; but also very typical.
Traveling to different countries makes cookie consent an amazingly broken thing. Every website needs an "ok" button clicked every time you arrive in a new place.
How did we get here? Did people vote for this?
Here in the UK we had a referendum on it in 2016. People (narrowly) voted NO to stupid EU laws.
But “cookie consent” pop-ups are stupid and pointless. Pop-ups do not improve privacy, and they make the web worse.
GDPR is not about cookies or consent popups. Even the previous directive from 2011, known as the "cookie law", wasn't about cookies or consent popups.
Both laws are about tracking (GDPR also covers personal data in a broader sense).
If the functionality is not something that the user wanted, i.e. they could achieve what they want (buying stuff, editing documents, playing a game) without that functionality, then that functionality is forbidden to use personal data (like tracking the user's activity) unless explicit opt-in consent is given. Again, it doesn't matter how that functionality is implemented: 1x1 images, iframes, local storage, browser fingerprinting, or cookies.
If you find cookie consent popups annoying, don't blame GDPR, the EU, etc. Blame the site, since either:
- It doesn't need to ask, since its functionality is wanted by the user.
- The developers wanted to do shady stuff so much, that they were willing to ruin their site's UX.
Even respectable sites that I’m pretty sure aren’t doing “shady stuff” with data, like the BBC, make us suffer through multiple “consent” pop-ups. One particular BBC site I use requires clicking though 3 pop-ups before you can use the damn thing. It’s ridiculous.
If it was really meant the way you interpret it, then the law should have been more clearly written. As it stands, it seems everyone is so paranoid about it that they implement popups by default.
Yes, I find this really frustrating too :(
> As it stands, it seems everyone is so paranoid about it that they implement popups by default.
I implemented compliance with the first "cookie law" at two different companies. At the first, all we changed was making the login screen's "remember me" tick box off by default. At the second, our sites were full of trackers, which the marketing department didn't want to remove, so I had to add popups.
I think companies are so used to tracking as much as possible, that they don't see any value in avoiding it; hence they're willing to absorb the cost of poorer UX (especially since they're not alone).
I don't know if this situation will change. It's certainly possible, e.g. if we treat data as a liability rather than an asset (which I've seen mentioned here a few times, in the wake of data breaches). I have no idea how it will play out, but at least things like GDPR are making spying more painful and costly, even if only a little bit.
GDPR allows for this.
No, it explicitly does not.
Why is this even necessary in most cases? We developed sites for years without any of these frameworks and the the latest CSS standards will hopefully make it possible again while staying sane.
I think the reason for this is that ads don't exist to inform consumers about things they might want to purchase. Instead, advertisers have learned to manipulate viewers to create desire for their products. The effectiveness of ads is almost entirely non-rational. Watching ads is effectively watching corporate propaganda, in many different degrees of harmfulness.
I'm admittedly an idealist. But something seems amiss to me when the supposed only way to pay for journalism (which exists to inform the public) is to embed advertisements (which exist to misinform the public).
This isn't true. Advertisers pay to access a target audience, because publishers control that access and their business model depends on their ability to monetize it. In general adverts are not unwanted. In fact, some consumers even request companies to send them adverts intentionally, and even subscribe to marketing publications.
Heck, some consumers even pay to subscribe to catalogues.
In general, web adverts are disliked because they are very intrusive and degrade the performance of a website, and in some cases expose content that is socially frowned upon.
Try this: all is paid for by advertisers, it has always been. Deduce which of your "exist to" beliefs is mistaken - perhaps due to advertising about it ...
No. There have always been websites by people who just want to share with the world, and paid services, and useful government programs, and nonprofits (go on, find an ad on https://www.gnu.org/). Your belief is mistaken.
> I think it's more crucial than ever that everyone use adblockers and refuse to support sites that retaliate with anti-social behavior.
How is this anti-social? WaPo offers subscriptions. I have one. Does that also trigger this? I can't seem to make it do so (but I also can't while not logged in as of now). If paying bypasses this, then there might be some anti-social behavior going on, but I'm not convinced it's on the part of WaPo.
So it's a crap deal.
Well, you can of course pay and use an ad-blocker. I have a subscription to a Dutch newspaper (on actual paper even), and use their site as well, but not without protection.
The ads in the paper newspaper are usually fine. Rarely do they affront or annoy; and they are tailored to the general profile of the newspaper's readership.
But whenever I use a clean browser profile to verify some piece of behavior in a website, or to see if a bug on it was caused by the use of uBlock Origin or Privacy Badger, I am acutely reminded why I choose to shield my brain from the repetitive onslaught of internet advertisements with all their tracking and insulting attempts at trying to put me into a specific profile.
I don't mind internet advertisements as such though. There is a certain social media site that starts with an F but is not Facebook (and quite empathically and by design the opposite in terms of prudishness) which serves ads that are vetted by the website's advertising department, and are shown to users at random without the option of narrowing the reach to users with specific interests or demographics. These have never bothered me, and sometimes even serve to introduce me to a business that sells products I am interested in. Like my paper newspaper, advertisers only know the general profile of the site's members.
More sites should consider that option. No tracking, no tailoring beyond 'people that visit our website', and vetted by the site itself. Newspapers in particular have the knowledge of how to acquisition advertisers for this; they already do it in their paper editions.
Now I feel stupid. For all the doom and gloom about the impossibility about paying to not getting tracked and how Chinese and American spy agencies and Megacorps know everything about your online behavior, I never thought about simply returning to consumption of analog content as a reaction.
Well, it's more expensive and worse for the environment, but I guess if you really value privacy that's bearable
But why pay if they're still being tracked? The value proposition here is off. Might as well not pay and use an ad blocker.
While ars technica is not a newspaper they often have posts that some of us find interesting.
They turn off ads and tracking for all but the lowest tiers.
> Read a limited number of articles each month
> Basic Subscription
> $6 every 4 weeks or just $78 $60/year
> Premium EU Ad-Free Subscription
> $9 every 4 weeks or just $117 $90/year
> No on-site advertising or third-party ad tracking
(That last line is bold on the page.)
I don't know if this approach is fully compliant with the letter and spirit of the GDPR. The page itself contains three trackers, according to Ghostery, and has set several long-lived cookies without any interaction.
So paying is a double whammy.
The simplest way for WaPo to achieve this without having to deal with any adbockers or trackers would be to use an in-house system served from their own servers. Unfortunately, since they also have a free subscription where they do track people, that would mean two systems which would be redundant, and the in-house one also probably takes a lot of effort and manpower. Unfortunately, that leaves subscribers not knowing exactly what is being tracked and who is doing the tracking.
I mitigate this by using ublock and a container tab for news sites in Firefox. I would prefer to know this isn't needed because WaPo did the right thing, but I would still do anyways, as just because something shouldn't be needed for protection doesn't mean you shouldn't do it anyways if the cost is small enough.
Container tabs help protect from cross site tracking : whether or not you subscribe. So that is irrelevant here.
What matters though is what they track, and what they do with it. The problem with most tracking is that there are services that aggregate it between sites such that your viewing habits in one are available for use in another. There is tracking in an effort to make your service better, including for who you're tracking, and there's tracking as a source of revenue. The first is not a problem, and not anything fundamentally different than what you could experience while using a corner store in 1900. The problem is it's very hard to confirm which is being done much of the time.
1. Information can never be un-leaked reliably.
2. Even if current owner of the tracking company behaves , you never know what the next owner in case of bankruptcy / strategic sale does with the data.
3. If some unscrupulous employee of the tracking company leaks your information, there may not be any proof about it.
4. You never know if the information becomes dangerous when combined with some other information which may be leaked / required to be given in some other context.
So credible guarantee is the only thing that can make paying with money, and paying with information a true dichotomy.
Honestly, it's not our job to find a business model that works. It's literally the job of a company trying to make money. Find a way that works.
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for cooperating and working together to solve things. But the ad industry is so out of control that there's no cooperating with that. If they find a way to serve ads that are not privacy-invading, do not expose users to malware risk, and do not consume exorbitant amount of resources on the user end, we'll talk about shutting off ad-blockers.
Advertising worked fine before internet tracking was a thing. Everything from Coca-Cola and the New York Times down to Fred's Corner Dry Cleaner and The Podunk Tribune survived and thrived on the old, low-tracking model.
It's companies like Google and the other internet ad-serving companies that turned the ad industry into a data arms race, and the media outlets got caught up in it.
There's a cliché about "the internet killed newspapers." No, internet ad companies killed newspapers by falsely convincing them that an ad view on a screen is worth 1,000 times less than an ad view on printed paper, so they have to make up the difference by harvesting everyone's data.
I think it's a little bit of both. Internet commoditized newspapers and unbundled them, allowing us to peruse individual articles without the regard for whole. But you're right that instead of figuring out a proper way to deal with this, papers just got convinced by adtech companies and doubled-down on ads on-line.
(Then again, were they wrong? The model works. Much like for a factory that dumps all its toxic waste into the nearby river, the model works. Doesn't mean it deserves to, and that it will work forever.)
I think you're mistaken there. If the model worked, then thousands of newspapers wouldn't have closed, downsized, or worse. We'd be back in the 80's when cities like Cincinnati and Chicago had FOUR real daily newspapers, and just about every single radio station had its own news department.
What happened is that the internet ad companies convinced newspapers that an ad that used to cost $1,000 for 1,000 people to see in print should only cost 10¢ for 1,000 people to view online.
What happened is that now advertisers can measure the impact of their ads and realize they just wasted $1000. If advertising was worth $1k, ad companies would still charge it. The people getting screwed in the old system were the advertisers.
The world only sustained thousands of newspapers because physical delivery made them inherently local. The internet made the market for news national, if not global. Consolidation is natural.
Personally I can't stand all attention grabbing moving things so have been using all sorts of adblockers since they first showed up. Before then I played around with custom css in netscape and blocking in the hosts file, running a local webserver for faster blocking instead of blackholing stuff. uBlock is so much easier to use :-)
What makes you believe that this hypothetical comparison is false?
The problem with traditional advertising is that everyone sees it, regardless of their interest in the subject matter or lack thereof. As an advertiser you have to pay to show your ad to a lot of people who aren't likely to be interested.
What Google and Facebook brought to the game was targeting. If you can target your ads to people who are already interested in that subject -- or even just more likely to be interested than the average person -- then your ads will in fact be more effective dollar per dollar. You avoid paying to show the ad to everyone else who is unlikely to be interested.
Some companies like Coca-Cola engage in brand advertising, where their goal is to build awareness and respect for their brand among everyone in the general population. This kind of advertising has less need for precise targeting. But not all companies need this kind of advertising. Plenty of smaller companies are looking to advertise to people who are likely to want their specific product, whether it's a video game or women's clothing or a product for parents of young children, etc.
To give a made-up example, if you're trying to sell an indie video game, then you'll spend your small advertising budget much more effectively if you target your ads to people who enjoy video games, than if you target the general population. If you're selling a first-person shooter video game, then you'd like to target your ads to people who play first-person shooter video games (and not necessarily target video game players who only play Farmville or Bejeweled).
It's very possible for me to imagine that highly targeted advertising to a segment of people who are interested in a product like that will be 1000 times more effective than traditional advertising that everyone sees. You're paying to show it to far fewer people, and each person is far more likely to act on it.
This is false. The internet ad tech companies didn't invent marketing demographics. Advertisers who want to sell things to old people advertise on TV shows and in magazines that appeal to old people. Advertisers who want to sell Product X advertise in places where people who want to buy Product X might see it.
No, traditional media doesn't have the granularity or seemingly instant feedback of online ads. But there's a reason that an ad in print has more gravitas and impact on the reader than an online ad. Digital ads are ephemeral, and are forgotten as quickly as they are seen. With the exception of writing an ad in the sand on a wave-washed beach, every single other advertising method has more impact than online ads.
What Google and Facebook brought to the game was targeting.
I wish that was true. If it was, then I wouldn't be bombarded by ads for things I have no interest in from companies in places I can't buy from.
Right now on my Facebook feed:
- Ad for a concert by a band I don't like in a city 600 miles away.
- Ad for homeowners insurance for a house I don't own from an insurance company that doesn't operate in my state.
- Ad for an Xbox video game. I don't own an Xbox, and don't play video games.
- Ad for a business credit card for a business I don't own.
Tell me again about how Silicon Valley's ad tech industry is benefiting both me, and the advertisers.
Nonsense. "I don't click on ads, therefore online ads are useless" is not a valid methodology.
I buy Facebook ads for a niche audience. I can track them; the ads work and bring me business and put food on my table. There is absolutely no way I could advertise with traditional media; demographics like "males 18-24" is nowhere near targeted enough.
I don't click on online ads either. But then I'm just not the type of person that does. That doesn't change the fact that they work in a measurable way.
This seems to be an argument for "an ad view on a screen is worth 1,000 times less than an ad view on printed paper", which you seem to be arguiing against in parent comments...
Every ad I hear is injected into my phonological loop. It fades as the neural activity drops back to normal.
An ad is an ad is an ad is an ad is an ad. It does not matter whether it reaches my brain from a computer monitor, a television screen, a radio speaker, or newsprint. I have the choice to attend to it, or not.
The argument here is that ads viewed or heard by robots will probably never reach a human brain. The computer-delivered ads make different types of metering and targeting possible, but they also make the advertiser vulnerable to automated exploits and automated blocking.
In print, you can extrapolate from statistical modeling and circulation numbers. In television and radio, the same can be done with ratings numbers. On the Internet, there are so many possible metrics. The problem is the advertisers started an arms race they cannot win, because they had to make themselves more useful than the media companies' internal advertising departments.
Those guys could sell fractions of a page of static ads. Those ads get served with the same content, every time someone reads the paper. Any targeting has to be based on the predicted audience for the content itself. Men's razors advertised in the sports section; the exact same razors but marketed to women advertised in the lifestyle section. Car, boat, and RV dealers advertised in the business news section. If the online edition of newspapers embedded their own non-scripted copy of static print ads, served from their own servers, from the same places as their article images and stock photos, nobody would bother trying to block them. That's just what newspaper articles look like, to everyone that remembers when they were actual papers that got delivered by kids on bicycles.
The ad services that sucker media companies into using them are worth 1000 times less than the ads served in-house, because of all their clever nonsense they attempted in order to trick the media-companies into using them. I don't need to block dumb ads; I might want to, but I don't need to. I do need to block ads that run scripts and set cookies, because they hijack my own resources to make my experience across the entire web worse. There is nothing inherent wrong with writing an article that has a permanent, static set of ads in it.
Old media had the full-page, half-page, quarter-page, per-column-inch, and classified ads. A new media article can be pasted into a template, with a fixed number of advertising slots. Show the article template to your registered advertisers, who know your standards for the slots, and let them buy specific slots for specific articles, categories of article, or anywhere on the site. Paste the approved ads into the slots for them, and archive the article page. That's now what the site serves whenever the URL is requested, forevermore. It's the same as going to the library and looking up a newspaper microfiche page from October 15, 1985; the ads are still the same, and just got one more impression.
If you want to have any idea of how well advertising works, you have to approach it from the perspective of an advertiser, not an ad target. Then you can get real data. You are a data point of one.
I built a large print-on-demand apparel marketplace. Most of the sellers were driving traffic with facebook ads. It worked great. Unfortunately (for the sellers) so many people jumped into the game that they bid up the ad rates. Now Facebook makes most of the money in the tshirt business... but you can't say the system doesn't work.
Guess what, I actually thought about doing that just "for science" - setting up some nonsense page, launching a $5-10 ad campaign, and seeing what happens. I.e. measuring the impulse response of the system, in a way.
To be clear, I source my distrust to adtech partly from personal experience as well. I worked at a company that also did social media marketing once, in particular it would run content marketing on Facebook for people. I had a first-hand look at "how the sausage is made", and my overall impression is: marketers having no clue about statistics dump some charts into a Word file and write a story about how that graph means things are great; customers having no more clue and no way to verify effectiveness believe that. Both sides are happy, and money changes hands.
Also funny you mention print-on-demand, for two reasons. One, I'm building a side project in this space right now. Two, print-on-demand apparel are the ads that are pissing me off the most right now on Facebook (in particular a certain company that's named after a game animal saying "hello" in Hawaiian).
Completely agree with this. I actually preferred ads that would be directly related to what I was viewing at the time. For instance, if I'm viewing a local bicycle club, I'd much rather see ads for a bicycle repair shop than for the Airbnb I glanced at last night. The current ad model is hugely distracting in that way, and I find it really annoying.
It's time for a culling anyway, the videos, the stupid clickbaits, the malware infested ad servers, the hysteria around adblockers, the secretly sponsored articles, the popup layers, the sluggish megabyte spas, the cpu eater animations, the parallax scroller full hd uncompressed images... let them whither away.
R. A. Heinlein, Life-Line (1939)
And I'm willing to let the vast majority of it burn down. I refuse to accept that something so critical to a democratic society as the press can only exist by removing from us any semblance of privacy.
All I want them to do is to stop using third-party companies to serve ads from unknown sources. If they're willing to traffic their own advertisements from their own servers, then I'm much less able or likely to block their advertisements.
I'm not mad at their model, I'm mad that the web is so absurdly vulnerable.
My personal information is not for sale or distribution and I refuse to allow any computations on my computer that enable someone to gather it.
So subscribe to your local newspaper. One of my subscriptions is $25/6 months of Sunday delivery and you get free unlimited online access. That's $4.16/month — below your stated budget.
If more people put their money where their mouths are, then we could break the media of their third-party ad serving addiction.
Why aren't you already using one of the many options?
2. They still track you. See, for instance, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18202382
3. Prices still too high. I don't a single story on https://www.washingtonpost.com/ that I would pay more than 2cents for.
> Blendle shows you articles your friends and more or lesser known fellow country-folk recommend, and can propose additional articles and subscriptions you might be interested in
> Finally, Blendle uses tracking cookies to keep track of the articles you've read, and to suggest articles you might enjoy.
> When using social plug-ins, third-party cookies are placed on your computer. These cookies can be designed to optimize your user experience, but they might also be tracking cookies. The latter are used to track your browsing habits across multiple websites and build a profile of these browsing habits of yours.
> Blendle may also use information collected through the use of Blendle to engage in “look-alike marketing,” which enables us to reach out to an audience, well, similar to you. We may use third parties to help perform or facilitate such marketing on our behalf.
So you pay them money and they still need your information. And you need to browse articles through their interface instead of naturally through the actual newspaper website. Actually worse than the status quo.
So here is an alternative, browsers will save your private history too, then you go to the website and they will ask for your history, you will have a big button named "Pay with my history and identity", after that you can visit the website without extra JS tracking, in this model all is transparent to the user, you also gain no tracking but you lose the ability to clear your browser history and private mode won't be private.
I personally prefer to block tracking and fingerprinting. When I get the GDPR popup I will close the tab, I don't even try to work around it.
I have zealously blocked all ads since the first adblockers became available (even before blocklists), I've used Privoxy and PiHole and various other tools to block as much advertising as I possibly can. I go out of my way to avoid prominent logos on clothing, although I do make an exception for band shirts for bands I personally like. I show up ~10 minutes "late" for movies, in order to avoid most of the pointless ads.
In general, I try to avoid advertising as much as I possibly can, because it's poisoning our decision making processes and influencing our behavior more than we realize.
So let the ad-supported leeches die. We did just fine before they invaded our internet.
Even if hypothetically a new "ethical" ad-serving standard arose, I would still block all of it.
The alternative is something like Medium - you pay a monthly fee and the money gets distributed between the authors based on your likes. Medium has a growing partnership with big media outlets that republish articles there. I tend to read there most of the time. Not only is the reading experience better and uniform but I directly vote with my wallet.
Is it that hard to have a privacy-respecting service whose only purpose is to collect a monthly fee and to allow me to distribute it to participating media sites via some kind of "Support" or "Like" button? The problem is that most Internet users do not value their privacy and hence do not care that a shady 3rd party is tracking them and filling their screen with obnoxious ads, just as long as they keep getting "content" for free. It will take a tremendous amount of effort for the privacy revolution to happen.
I am ready to let all news media die if it truly is unable to evolve beyond the ad/classifieds model. I don't believe the news we receive now are high quality as it is, so I don't see much loss.
With newspapers, the news is backed up by the ad opportunities on the lifestyle content. After I'm done browsing the headlines, I can then go to the holiday section, and I'm getting holiday ads (which actually might be helpful), if I'm browsing the food section, I'm getting supermarket offers (which might also be helpful).
Browsing a modern news site, I might be reading an article on the latest terrorist massacre, but be being served ads for hats. It's this requirement to break someone's focus that's turned ads into such an interruptive medium. Tracking can be helpful, but without knowing the context the ad is being served in, the incentive is to be as invasive as possible.
It's why content marketing seemingly works - the "ad" (subscribe, join now CTAs within the articles) feels natural because it's complimentary to the content you're reading, not trying to fight it.
I'm not sure if it'll be them, but organisations like Buzzfeed or if NYT integrates Wirecutter more, might be on to the right model. Lifestyle content with intent based ads around them (with a higher CPM due to, assuming, a higher conversion rate), that supports the hard news side.
If the news sector dies, or becomes 100% government sponsored we'd be much much worse off compared to the current issue of privacy invading ads.
I was a subscriber to the NYT until recently, had been for over a decade. They don’t track subscribers any less, or show fewer ads. So I tried the alternative but they were too greedy.
Also you can’t cancel a sub online you have to phone them! Or just cancel it on the credit card side...
What i did:
1)switched the payment method to a virtual credit card (revolut)
2)that i made instantly disappear once it was on their server. They are dumb enought not to have a register of my previous payment method
3) LOL at their email "We cannot charge you"
This tradition is literally older than America.
Basically, I don't think he could get away with stirring his fingers around in wapo (which it's reported he currently doesn't do) without far more negative consequences than positive.
In theory, it should. But anyone who follows the internal drama of the BBC, for example, knows this isn't the case.
The same reason some orgs started blocking the entire EU rather than obey GDPR.
They remind you that having a good grocery store in your neighborhood is important, and don't you want to support that?
Facial Recognition systems are out in the wild, busy profiling 
I'm saying if a store used ther CCTV systems to track the behaviour of individual customers, and was building a database of that information, and pestered their customers whose apparel foiled their facial recognition, then that would be pretty much exactly what WP are doing here. What the tools used might have originally been designed for doesn't make any difference IMO.
Yes, exactly. It'll make me reevaluate which neighbourhood shops to patronize.
That is a thing somewhere? Genuinely curious because I can't imagine that ever happening around where I live...
We need a way to pay a few cents to read an article, ad and tracker free.
There is a tricky point though. “allocate the revenue to sites based on which content I read” implies mandatory, centralized tracking. I’m not at all sure I want that.
And the private news sites hate it, too! It’s an unfair advantage!
I don’t think it will make a difference if a private company collects the cash, but who knows?
The problem here is that STIM is a private company handing taxes and payout. It is commonly argued that they are paying the wrong artists and has no real track on what is popular. The industry can easily game the system by making their own music popular (formerly pushing it out to all radio stations, not sure what they do now).
Micro transactions might just end up with a botfarm in china clicking articles to generate income for the newspapers. Or even more clickbaity headlines to click. A lot of problems to solve and no solution in sight yet?
Articles cost between $0.10 and $1.15 (most between $0.20 and $0.50). You can request a refund if you don't like an article, which makes the transaction almost frictionless.
The one thing I miss is the ability to share articles without requiring the recipient to sign up for Blendle. Especially since the article can usually be read for free by going directly to the publisher's website. Five or so articles per month to share for free would sound about right.
However, the newspaper style "every article from today" or even "monthly access" still focuses around the thought of "you've picked one, or a very narrow set of news sources and do most/all of your reading there." We're all news grazers now.
We need federation. Let me pay one flat $20 per month bill, and I can read freely from a really broad range of sites-- say "every newspaper from a large wire network" or "95% of the 1000 most popular magazines". It needs to be organized to rein in the publishers, to discourage the "we're the big draw, let's take our content and start a new service" syndrome that has ravaged video streaming.
Seems like the price range is $10-25/mo for many periodicals, so a bundled plan of $20/month might be a bit low.
But I can imagine a $50/mo plan for including two national newspapers, a local newspaper, and a news weekly (e.g., economist) being pretty popular.
But on a network-of-services level, you also have a "value plateau" effect on both the supply and demand side though.
Each news source you add to a network typically provides a little less value than the one before. By the time you've got 100 newspapers in the network, number 101 is probably only contributing a few articles a year that weren't handled first or better by other papers, so nobody's going to pay much more to get it in their subscriptions.
And for readers, the number of interesting articles and the amount of time we have to read doesn't grow nearly as fast as the sheer number of available articles, so each additional provider doesn't produce that much more consumption.
So to be seen as a good value, we need a pricing model that tracks those "plateaus".
So for most general national news, there really isn't as much content as many would think, and adding each one still brings significant value.
The 100s of newspapers you refer to derive most of their content from the big ones, and maybe add their own analysis and slant.
A subscription model that provides access to 2 or 3 of the big ones, plus 1 or 2 local ones, and 1 or 2 special interest ones seems to make a lot of sense.
I really don't want to read a anything about American politics. I am not interested in the vast majority of "news" in newspapers.
I am willing to outbid advertisers to read an article - if there was a convenient way to do micro-payments.
There is a much stronger interest to build a lasting relationship over time with their readership, so the reader becomes familiar with the paper's voice, credibility, and focus. This leads to more revenue: readers will pay more for content they respect). It also leads to better news: a stable revenue source allows papers to plan and better invest in their reporting.
Blendle is exactly that. They are in semi-private beta, but if you follow a link from their twitter you can sign up right away.
Their model is put a few dollars in your account and pay $0.10-$1.00 per article. You can also get an instant refund after you've read, which is supposed to solve clickbait type articles.
They have a lot of major publishers including WaPo, NYT, WSJ, Economist, etc.
Not affiliated, just a satisfied user.
What other tracking could there possibly be once they're tracking everything I view on every site that monetizes its content?
But I think there's more to it than that:
It's customary in trade to not have hidden costs or unintended consequences of using your product, anything otherwise is dishonest. And insisting a product is "free" while having hidden schemes to extract value from customers is scam-y.
Then to say ad-hoc that its a "fair compromise"... but if it was a "good deal" why not be upfront about it, why try to hide it? "You should've read the EULA." Well, a bet a bunch of people being targeted/tracked by Google & Facebook are children, many too young to consent, some maybe even too young to even read...
Regardless, if you attempt to extort me with a choice between privacy or an uninformed populace, I'll happily share my view on where exactly you can stick that and spin. There are decent media outlets doing good work out there who can report and respect their readers at the same time .
I frankly don't care if the papers who can't figure out how to function without selling out their customers fail. Let their corpses be a cautionary tale.
 One outlet I subscribe to, Talkingpointsmemo.com, is in the process of offering ad-free options. I blocked them previously, and they've made no effort to break the site in the presence of blockers.
Also, what do you think of Chomsky's 'Manufacturing Consent'?
I think Chomsky is fairly correct, but a bit blinkered.
Your turn: How to you think Manufacturing Consent applies to message boards like this? Does that tell you anything about human behaviour, whether or not mediated by institutional imperative?
1. I do/don't think the content is worth the subscription.
2. I do/don't think advertising should be used to support the business.
3. I have issues with the privacy implications of advertising.
4. I don't want to pay but I also don't want to deal with ads.
Though maybe you're expressing a fifth? "I don't see why they need to spend this much money to make this content."
I cannot afford to support dozens of publications which still might not include all the content I want to read because article foo is from yet a different publication.
Guessing ahead of time seems both broken and expensive compared to grazing one a continuous stream of interesting data supported by ads consumed by people too stupid to install adblocking.
In theory modest advertising could probably easily pay for the people that actually produce the content, In theory micropayments might work too.
In reality they insist on wasting most of the money they earn and deploying intrusive ads and bullying to try to make me subscribe so they can keep wasting money.
My choices are to either give them a big middle finger or surrender my computer to their nonsense and prop up their poorly thought out business model.
As adblockers become increasingly prevalent and decreasing numbers pay for subscriptions this will obviously be increasingly difficult for content creators but solving their problems isn't my problem.
Since I only control my computer I will just keep doing whats best for me.
(not that there's a whole lot of that left... but its still better than getting news from facebook and youtube vloggers)
The journalism that we aspire to today requires a lot of personnel and material resources. Independent vloggers and Facebook/blog randos simply do not have the resources to report like NYT
As it is, all I have is paywalled niche news sites each thinking they can charge similar fees for very limited access to just they tiny corner of the market. I'm not going to pay per article. I haven't bought a news paper in years. I get all my news through ad sponsored crappy websites. Because they are so offensively bad, I have adblocking, tracking prevention, and other extensions trying to limit my exposure. Works great for me
So, that's money not spent by me or millions of other users that news papers are neglecting to make.
Also, from a German IPv4:
> The new European data protection law requires us to inform you of the following before you use our website:
But "Continue to site" doesn't work unless I check "I agree". So they're clearly not GDPR-compliant. In order to access their site, you must agree to be tracked. And you must also disable protection against tracking.
Maybe there will be complaints filed?
> "Unfortunately, our website is currently unavailable in most European countries."
Not to put too fine a point on it, if they have no need for the data and they have no legitimate interest in it and they don't even want to ask for your consent... do you really want to go to that site? It's pretty clear what they think of you.
Calling marketing a legitimate interest is a bit of a grey area. The ICO says that by relying on legitimate interests (i.e. not gaining consent) they need to be weighed against the impact they have on the user's privacy and own interests.
So if you are showing first party ads and you aren't collecting more data than is necessary (e.g. anonymised IP address, browser, a list of articles/products the user has viewed) you are probably fine. But if you start linking this with any personal data (e.g. full IP address, email address, date of birth) or intend on sharing it with a third-party you need consent.
Edit: Now that I think about it, the Guardian does exactly that... Probably why I thought of it LOL.
What is the loss to a European of being unable to read the post?
which provides a plain text site alternative
The point of the legislation is not to slam the book down and start fining everyone left right and center practically the moment it came into effect. It's a complex regulation and the regulators are sensible, so don't expect any action to be taken for at least a couple of years. If you're working towards compliance that's OK for now.
Bold statement considering that it's been only 4.5 months since it came into effect. All government investigations take longer than quick business decisions.
You'll see this if you click on articles and don't have a subscription, a modal of a kind will pop up asking you to "unblock ads." Clicking on the link to unblock ads brings you to a page giving steps for "disabling Firefox’s native ad blocker," showing a gif for turning off tracking protection.
When they're also tracking you, however, that's no longer as reasonable. While asking me to turn off my adblocker sounds reasonable to some extent, asking me to turn of tracking protection feels malicious (because it is). They can try not to mention the term here, but to actually disable it, you'll still have to go into preferences and explicitly turn off Tracking Protection, not ad blocking.
Another thing is that even though most sites say they will not sell user information, the main motivation for that is economic, not moral. It's not a sustainable business model. Sell that information once and you've mostly blown your load, as the incremental improvements on that information are only going to be worth a fraction of the initial payload and it's something that will be get 'shared'.
If a profit model emerged where selling user information could be a sustainable business they'd go back on that in a heart beat. In the terms alongside any promises of protection for your information will be a clause stating that, 'We can change these terms whenever we like to whatever we like. You agreeing to use our site/software signifies your acceptance of the changes.'
Btw, for this kind of prompt, one ublock origin features I found very useful is cosmetic filter. I could specify which CSS element permanently to disable by right click menu. I find it useful when I want to watch a specific Facebook video but that annoying Facebook login prompt keeps bugging and it could be triggered by left clicking anything in the page, including expanding comment sections. Though, it's a cat-and-mouse game, and you never know when the countermeasures doesn't work.
You have to go specifically here and click on the third option - but NOT when you have a subscription already (you need to cancel it first)
Despite "EU" and "GDPR" in the name, it works outside of EU too
What fields of research should I study - for example game theory, advanced psychology, etc - that will allow me to contrive laws with embedded side effects that politicians will never be able to figure out before ratification?
This GDPR thing - and the impact it's having on privacy/tracking/advertising - is nothing less than awesome.
I did specifically chose a news paper with high quality content, and one that only arrives once a week to further the distillation of what News makes it my way, but it’s danish, so it wouldn’t do you much good. I’ve really grown to love the format though.
It takes a few months to get used to, but going back to traditional media consumption methods (paper, television, radio) reduced my stress and anxiety/FOMO level considerably.
The reason this works is because the newspaper eventually ends. The magazine eventually ends. The CBS Evening News eventually ends. That finality means I'm not hooked on a dopamine-fueled scroll->reward hamster wheel of diminishing quality "news" articles.
I'll admit that I will occasionally slip and lose an hour of two plowing through the endless Apple News feed. But for the most part, I only use online news sites for breaking news, weather, and occasional research.
As a side benefit, I have a surprising amount of extra time in my life to actually live a life.
(I think double-checking with Google Translate made this worse; now I'm just confused.)
What's the Danish newspaper? I might buy it very occasionally, and puzzle through with a dictionary.
Counterintuitively, being a paid subscriber probably makes your data even more valuable to wapo and their advertisers so there is probably even more incentive to track you.
BTW, if the take away is subscription is the answer for their sustainability over having to serve ads that utilize tracking, that's an argument to be had. Of course, inherent in that argument is that non-tracking ads are simply not profitable enough for them, which sounds terrible but I don't work in ads for a living so I wouldn't know.
Ads that are annotated with tracking/targeting capabilities are in fact substantially more valuable. There's the obvious aspect (targeted ads in general) but there's also the ability to measure whether your ads are actually working. Analytics requires tracking too.
This is an oversimplification, but let's say you're buying ads at 10 cents per thousand impressions. But you have no ability to tell who saw which adds and clicked where. Would you be willing to pay... say, 12 cents per thousand impressions to get actionable analytics? Would you be willing to pay, say, 20 cents per thousand to specifically target people who looked at your product on Amazon? Maybe not at those exact numbers, but you'd probably be willing to pay some substantial amount more, because that strategy (retargeting) works measurably better for converting an ad view into a purchase.
This is not unique to online advertising. It's possible to tell is ads are working in paper/radio/television, as well. Companies have been doing it for literally hundreds of years.
The only value online ad tracking adds is near real-time feedback, and granularity. Which is useless to 99% of companies, since the process of making large ad buying decisions still takes weeks or months.
The benefits of online ad targeting have been perverted from a nice add-on to something that is absolutely necessary because it helps fuel the paychecks of the advertising middlemen.
Want to advertise your movie to movie fans? Put ads on a movie fan web site. Want to attract car buyers in Bedrock City? Put your ads on a Bedrock City web site. Want to increase sales of Slurm Cola to American man 18-25? Put Slurm Cola ads on content of interest to American males 18-25.
It's not rocket surgery.
> Want to advertise your movie to movie fans? Put ads on a movie fan web site. Want to attract car buyers in Bedrock City? Put your ads on a Bedrock City web site. Want to increase sales of Slurm Cola to American man 18-25? Put Slurm Cola ads on content of interest to American males 18-25.
And then some company decides that there is an arbitrage opportunity in inferring who the 18-25 year old males are and selling you the ability to target them on cheaper websites and on undifferentiated inventory. In order to get access to that inventory, publishers are paid part of the difference. Voila, programmatic advertising.
> This is not unique to online advertising. It's possible to tell is ads are working in paper/radio/television, as well. Companies have been doing it for literally hundreds of years.
That's not true. That's certainly not what pretty much any big brand marketing department thinks. It's notoriously hard to tell whether any specific strategy is working if you do a lot of advertising. Which is why the extra granularity is considered valuable, regardless of their ability to infer conclusions from it.
> The benefits of online ad targeting have been perverted from a nice add-on to something that is absolutely necessary because it helps fuel the paychecks of the advertising middlemen.
That's certainly a factor, but they're not all idiots. Some of it actually does work in theory and in principle, and dismissing that is underestimating the beast you are fighting.
I do believe that, but I also wonder... Retargeting, i.e. ads of particular product stalking you everywhere you go, is the single method that so far guarantees I just won't buy the advertised thing, out of pure spite. It's also the one aspect of ad experience that I see regular people noticing and getting angry about. I wonder how big an impact of such reaction there is on retargeted ad performance, and if ad people even factor it into their calculations.
But it's okay so long as it is a corporation doing it to us and not the government right? Never mind how corporations have grown to be bigger and more powerful than some nation states.
On the internet, humanity can be it's true self, and we are ugly. Marketing has been ugly forever (or at least since the introduction of psychology to the field post WWII).
It makes sense that marketing on the net is malicious to the point of attacking the user. That's who we are deep down inside.