Newspapers Stupidly Still Believe that Ads are Important

created May 29, 2019

Mediagazer headline

The Washington Post is releasing its proprietary ad-tech stack, Zeus, to all web publishers; it had been available to those who used Arc, WaPo's in-house CMS

That titled pointed to an story.

Assistance from its programmatic sales and engineering team is also available

F*ck ads.

If I'm a subscriber, then I expect no ads. No other option exists for me.

I subscribe to the Toledo Blade, but I read the Blade via my own web app that displays no ads and uses no JavaScript.

I consider the Blade's hellhole of a website to be a security and privacy unknown.

The Blade's website uses a hostile web design for logged-in subscribers who want to read information.

If I could not read the Blade via my own web app that runs on a server that I lease, then I would not subscribe to the Blade.

The Blade's content is NOT the only product offered by the Blade. The delivery mechanism is also a part of the Blade's product that I fund. It's the complete package, and I won't fund the entire product unless all the pieces satisfy my taste.

That's business. It's my money. The Blade is not a charity. If the Blade and the craft of journalism want respect, then the newspaper industry needs to respect its readers, especially its paying customers by not creating horrendous delivery mechanisms.

None of the Blade's delivery products are worth funding. The Blade offers reader-hostile delivery products.

Newspapers don't view us and them as a two-way street. The arrogant newspaper industry, that still today erroneously blames Craigslist for the industry's woes, believes that we should fund newspapers because it's some kind of right-thing-to-do nonsense.

Maybe the Blade's website should be outlawed. Would that be a violation of the First Amendment? Nope. The Blade's website is a violation of human decency. The Blade's current web design is a hate crime against the web and empathy design.

The media would love for the U.S. government to regulate the big tech, social media silos. But if that occurs, then for privacy and security reasons, the U.S. government needs to slap regulations on media websites by forcing media orgs to produce quarterly privacy and security audits of their websites.

These reports would explain to users why the media websites require web browsers to make hundreds of web requests and download many megabytes of cruft to load a 500-word opinion piece or a small article. The audit reports would describe what every bit of JavaScript was doing and why it was needed. Trackers, gobbledygook, and other crapware would have to be explained by the media.

If the newspaper industry fails to respect paying customers by displaying ads and trackers to subscribers, then I have no sympathy for the newspapers disappearing. They caused their own problems. It's not my fault. It's definitely not Craigslist's fault.

100 percent of the blame for the newspaper industry tanking over the past 40 years (which began before the web was invented) belongs to the newspaper industry.

WaPo claims privacy and ads can co-exist. What works is blocking JavaScript which blocks nearly all ads. That improves privacy.

The Blade has my subscription because I chose to give the Blade my money. The Blade, however, does not have my permission to push ads, trackers, and other crapware into the web browsers that run on computers that I bought.

Those are my terms of service. If the Blade does not accept my terms of service, then I will gladly stop paying them a monthly fee that will increase in June 2019 from $9.99 a month to $12.99 a month.

Comparing the usage of ads on newspaper websites to ads displayed in print newspapers is intellectually feeble. It's an apples and oranges comparison. It's an illegitimate comparison. Such an argument is a reason why the newspaper industry has failed to adapt in the 21st century, and this has nothing to do with Craigslist.

Regarding local journalism, the Blade publishes too many stories about crime and court proceedings, in my opinion. Is that easy journalism?

The Blade stories seem too weak and thin. No bite. No investigations. Nothing that inspires people to vote.

Why does this deserve to be funded? I'll continue to pay for the Blade even with the increase. For now.

Jun 16, 2019

A look at Readerscope, the NYT's AI-powered tool for advertisers that creates topic clusters and surfaces relationships between those topics and their readers

Yeah, that gives me a warm, fuzzy desire to support journalism.