“The battle to protect your privacy is like a roller coaster, with breathtaking highs and turbulent lows,” Alfred Ng writes for CNET. “It is, after all, a constant game between the technology that guards your information and the trackers that find new ways to profile you.”
“Apple hit a high point for privacy last week,” Ng writes. “At its Worldwide Developers Conference, the consumer electronics giant introduced tools to protect your data by blocking ‘device fingerprinting’ and social media trackers on its Safari browser.”
“While privacy experts applaud Apple’s new features, they say it’s more like putting a Band-Aid on the internet’s massive privacy wound. That a company as massive and influential as Apple could struggle to adequately protect its users underscores the lengths to which trackers will go to get at your personal information,” Ng writes. “After all, Apple’s move pits it directly against an industry that includes Facebook and Google — companies that make it their business to track your information for targeted advertising.”
“And these companies are very good at what they do. ‘There is a long history of great success in bypassing these [trackers],’ said Lance Cottrell, the founder of Anonymizer and chief scientist at security company Ntrepid. ‘You’ll see advertisers worry that the world is coming to an end, and then pretty quickly, they seem to work around it,'” Ng writes. “Cottrell estimates that when you connect to a website, you’re likely connecting up to at least 20 different companies on one page. Their trackers can come as ads, Like buttons from Facebook, images and pixels — tiny, nearly invisible tracking tools that you’ll never notice.”
“Even if tech titans take on trackers, it won’t take long for advertisers to find a way around them. Data trackers have become too ingrained in how people go online, and a trackerless internet would be a completely different experience, Cottrell said,” Ng writes. “‘It would take a huge revolution in the way the internet functions to have that change meaningfully,’ he said. ‘We’ve all been trained so early to expect the web to be free. That requires online advertising, which is ineffective unless it’s targeted.'”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: As we discussed last month, 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. In fact, it’s a mess. We know it’s a mess. You know it’s a mess. And it makes us sad, along with many of you from whom we’ve heard.
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 (maybe with an additional adjective or three), would also give us more time to concentrate on content.
An increasing 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’d certainly do that (readers who patronize MacDailyNews would get extra articles written by SteveJack, for example, that would only be available to our reader patrons), 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. We’d simply remove ads as each ad position’s average monthly revenue is offset. Theoretically, we could get to the point where there would be no ads on the site at all. But, even 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?