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Two-Step Authentication Is Too Complicated for Many People

Apple’s recent nude selfie hack illustrated the need for two-step or two-factor authentication (TFA) as a way of hardening the protection for online accounts. You may be familiar with this from banks, some of which use systems where you generate a one-time authentication code that you enter together with your password. It ensures that access […]

Blocking web ads is ‘as bad as Napster’, says data firm

“More internet users are blocking adverts than ever before, according to a new report, with the rate more than doubling over the course of last year.

As of June 2014, almost 150 million browsers are using some form of ad blocker, the vast majority of whom are using plug-ins for either Google’s Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox browser.

Those figures are significantly larger than the authors had expected. “We did a report last year, around the same time, and we had anticipated growth of about 43%,” said Sean Blanchfield of PageFair, which produced the report with Adobe. “What really surprised us was that the actual growth was significantly higher.”

The figures, which are derived from observed downloads of adblocking software, are not the only thing in the report likely to scare advertisers. Ad blocking is most popular with younger users – 41% of American internet users aged between 18 and 29 used adblocking software, rising to 54% when only young men are counted.

Use of adblockers “is really concentrated on exactly the kind of people that advertisers are targeting,” explained Blanchfield. “It’s millennials. You can basically see a large cohort of adblockers growing up – as adblockers. And this isn’t good news for the advertising industry, or publishers.”

Describing the growing use of the software as “like the Napster of the advertising industry”, Blanchfield questions what the media’s response to the rise of ad blocking will be.

“Are they going to go after the end users? Or are they going to try and recognise that something’s changed here, and that certain kinds of users, who are more technically sophisticated, and media literate, aren’t going to accept very aggressive forms of advertising any more.””

My god, do they really not get it? That it’s not ads as such that we’re blocking, but intrusive ads? Pop-ups, auto-play videos, animated Flash ads that distract you from reading… If they could make ads that don’t prevent us from using web sites, I’m all in favor of them. (As you can see here, I only have two static ads at tho bottom of posts; I will not put anything that will prevent people from reading.)

And, frankly, the number of times I’ve clicked on web ads, in the nearly 20 years that I’ve been using the web, is probably in the single digits. The only exceptions are when a site has an ad for a product; so, for example, a magazine web site has an ad for books they sell; or a publisher highlights a new book in an ad, instead of in editorial content. (And I can’t think of any other cases.)

One exception is links to products, such as links to CDs, books or apps from a web page to either a label’s or publisher’s web site, to Amazon, or to the App Store. But I don’t see those as ads; I’ve read editorial content about something, I want to find out more. As everyone in the business is aware, that sort of organic content is far more efficient than any ads.

Oh, and trackers; the “ads” that track your activity and sell it to other companies. Let’s not forget that. For example, the page I link to below has 21 trackers on it…

And, loading this page, with ads blocked, takes 8.65 sec. Without them blocked, it takes 11.43 sec. And that’s 185 K vs 6 MB.

via Blocking web ads is ‘as bad as Napster’, says data firm | Technology | theguardian.com.

Terms and Conditions: Facebook Owns Everything You Post

After watching the documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply, I’ve decided to post occasional articles about the terms and conditions that we all agree to when using internet services. This is the first of a series. Let’s start with Facebook. Their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities is a simple overview of their many terms and […]

Movie Notes: Terms and Conditions May Apply

We all know that whenever we use the web, companies store our data, track our activities, and create profiles in order to target us with advertisements. Whether it be Google or Facebook, Twitter or Flickr, we’ve agreed to terms and conditions that we never read, and that we probably wouldn’t understand anyway. This documentary, Terms […]

Get Three Years of VPN Service from VPN Unlimited for Only $19

There are lots of reasons to use a VPN. You may want your internet activities to be encrypted; you may want to be safer when surfing on public wifi hotspots; you may simply want to be sure that when you access certain websites your IP address can’t be traced. For me, the main reason to […]

Finally, a Way to Make Wikipedia Look Nice

I use Wikipedia a lot for research, as do most people, and I even edit articles when I find typos or errors. I’d gotten used to its drab, early-2000s layout, but I always felt like I was looking into a time machine. But that’s changed now. WikiWand is a website that acts as a portal […]

Stop Safari from Asking You if You Want Notifications from Websites

Are you annoyed by Safari asking you if you want to get push notifications from some websites? Here’s how you can turn those messages off. Safari for OS X has a feature called Push Notifications, which lets you get notifications on your Mac – banners or alerts – when a web site wants to let […]

How Many Words Can You Use in a Google Search Query?

I used to think that Google only looked at the first eight words in a search query. I accidentally sent a longer search to Google today, from LaunchBar, and it told me this: So it’s interesting to know that you can use up to 32 words. That seems like a lot, but if you’re looking […]

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