“For the second time in as many years, internet advertisers are facing unprecedented disruption to their business model thanks to a new feature in a forthcoming Apple software update,” Alex Hern writes for The Guardian. “iOS 11, the latest version of Apple’s operating system for mobile devices, will hit users’ phones and tablets on Tuesday. It will include a new default feature for the Safari web browser dubbed ‘intelligent tracking prevention,’ which prevents certain websites from tracking users around the net, in effect blocking those annoying ads that follow you everywhere you visit.”
“The tracking prevention system will also arrive on Apple’s computers 25 September, as part of the High Sierra update to macOS,” Hern writes. “Safari is used by 14.9% of all internet users, according to data from StatCounter.”
“Six major advertising consortia have already written an open letter to Apple expressing their ‘deep concern’ over the way the change is implemented, and asking the company to ‘to rethink its plan to … risk disrupting the valuable digital advertising ecosystem that funds much of today’s digital content and services,'” Hern writes. “By using cookies, small text files placed on a computer which were originally created to let sites mark who was logged in, advertisers can build a detailed picture of the browsing history of members of the public, and use that to more accurately profile and target adverts to the right individuals.”
Read more in the full article here.
“The feature, which is called ‘Intelligent Tracking Prevention,’ limits how advertisers and websites can track users across the internet by putting in place a 24-hour limit on ad retargeting,” Marty Swant reports for AdWeek. “In an open letter… the [trade] groups [the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Advertising Federation, the Association of National Advertisers, the 4A’s and two others] describe the new standards as ‘opaque and arbitrary,’ warning that the changes could affect the “infrastructure of the modern internet,” which largely relies on consistent standards across websites. The groups say the feature also hurts user experience by making advertising more “generic and less timely and useful.”
Read more, including the trade groups’ full open letter to Apple are here.
MacDailyNews Take: A couple of years ago, the model that had worked since our inception (put some ads on your site, get paid enough to keep running it) cracked. The ad rates dropped significantly. Many sites’ revenue was cut dramatically. Some sites (like the long-lived MacNN) didn’t make it and closed up shop.
As our regular readers know, and as we’ve discussed with many longtime readers behind the scenes, our stopgap measure was to put up more ads to make up for the shortfall. And, it worked to the point where we can keep financing the site. But, it’s certainly not optimal.
We long to go back to the old days of fewer, better, more relevant, and less annoying ads making for a much less cluttered site. Being freed, even partially, from dealing with “The Ad Situation,” as we call it, would also give us more time to concentrate on content.
A good number of our regular readers have suggested we try something like Patreon. Basically, we’d be asking readers to patronize the site (as opposed to patronizing our advertisers) by contributing a few dollars each month. Most Patreon sites offer something extra for patrons and we could certainly do that (readers who patronize MacDailyNews would get extra articles written by SteveJack, for example, that wouldn’t be available on the website), but, if we did this, we’d also like to offer a twist that benefits all visitors:
Eliminate ads as the income they bring in are offset by Patreon.
So, not only would our patrons be getting something extra, they’d also be purging the site of ad positions as the Patreon fund grows. We’d simply start removing ads as they were paid for. Theoretically, we could get to the point where there would be no ads on the site at all. Along the way, everyone would benefit, thanks to the patrons.
Anyway, what do you think of that idea or do you have a better or additional ideas?
Back on topic, Apple’s “Intelligent Tracking Prevention” could result in higher paying ads as advertisers deprived of cookie tracking would recognize the value of reaching well-defined audiences with strong demographics such as ours.