Content Blockers, Bad Ads, and What iMore’s Doing About It ➝

Rene Ritchie, in response to Dean Murphy, Nick Heer, and John Gruber:

Dean’s right, Nick’s right, and John’s right. Of course they are. As I said in the original response, I know that, you know that, and everyone working at iMore and our parent network, Mobile Nations, knows that. Ads in and of themselves aren’t bad, and can indeed provide a service where everyone wins, which is why so many sites and so many mediums employ them. But many of the ads—and the services that deliver them—suck. We all know that.

Saying “bad ads suck; you hate them and so do we,” is a ten-word answer, though. It’s easy. What’s hard are the next ten words, and the ten words after that—how we make things better.

I’m a big fan of everything published on iMore, but I always find it hard to get past the JavaScript-laden web pages covered in ads, navigation bars, and an application download banner. I usually end up reading iMore articles in Instapaper and that’s a shame.

Online publications should never force their readers to use alternative means in order to have an enjoyable reading experience. But, I hope this situation encourages iMore (and their parent company, Mobile Nations) to rethink the amount of cruft they deem acceptable in their design — there’s no reason a primarily text-driven site should have pages weighing in at over 10MB.

It’s unfortunate that this sort of public shaming needs to happen, but it could be the only thing that motivates large publications to make positive changes. Complaining in public is one of the most effective ways to get your point across and actually elicit a response from the site in question. Eventually, enough major publications will lead by example by making the necessary changes and a large portion of the sites we enjoy most will begin to follow suit. Readers will only put up with it for so long and everyone’s patience is beginning to wear thin.