Does the New York Times see the irony? This article talks about how US Congress should look much less at the privacy terms of big tech, and more at the actual business practices.

Yet it calls upon me to disable my ad blocker. The ad blocker that blocks 28 ads in a single article, all served by a Google advertisement tracker. One which one of my browsers flags as working the same way as cross site scripting attacks work.

If as you say adverts are at the core of your business model, making journalism possible, why do you outsource it?
I’m ok with advertising New York Times, but not with adtech. There’s a marked difference between the two. It’s adtech, not advertising, that does the things you write about, like “how companies can use our data to invisibly shunt us in directions” that don’t benefit us. And adtech is the reason that, as you the say, the “problem is unfettered data exploitation and its potential deleterious consequences.” I’m ok with a newspaper running their own ads. I’m not ok with the New York Times behaving like a Trojan horse, pretending to be a newspaper but actually being a vehicle for, your own words, the “surveillance economy”.

Until then my ad blocker stays.


My browser blocking 28 ads (see the address bar) on a single article, all from 1 Google ad tracker.

Some links I thought worth reading the past few days

  • On how blockchain attempts to create fake scarcity in the digital realm. And why banks etc therefore are all over it: On scarcity and the blockchain by Jaap-Henk Hoepman
  • Doc Searl’s has consistently good blogposts about the adtech business, and how it is detrimental to publishers and citizens alike. In this blogpost he sees hope for publishing. His lists on adverts and ad tech I think should be on all our minds: Is this a turning point for publishing?
  • Doc Searl’s wrote this one in 2017: How to plug the publishing revenue drain – The Graph – Medium
  • In my information routines offline figures prominently, but it usually doesn’t in my tools. There is a movement to put offline front and center as design principle it turns out: Designing Offline-First Web Apps
  • Hoodie is a backendless tool for building webapps, with a offline first starting point: hood.ie intro
  • A Berlin based company putting offline first as foremost design principle: Neighbourhoodie – Offline First
  • And then there are Service Workers, about which Jeremy Keith has just published a book: Going Offline
  • Haven’t tested it yet, but this type of glue we need much more of, to reduce the cost of leaving silos, and to allow people to walk several walled gardens at the same time as a precursor to that: Granary

Some links I thought worth reading the past few days

I have been playing around with using ads in my postings these past few months. The ads come from Adgenta and can be incorporated into my postings when I use my Qumana editor. As this is all experimental I am eager to share whatever experiences I have with ads on this site.
Today I looked at my site and saw an ad for “genuine replicas” of Switch watches. This raises my suspicion. The url for the ad is the same as in spam e-mail messages I have been getting by the dozens daily in these past weeks leading up to Christmas. Apparantly we should all be giving these fake watches to each other for Christmas. No thank you, I removed the ad immediately. (Even though the line “don’t settle for a cheap fake” made me laugh. Yeah, let’s all go out and buy expensive fakes!)

I do have some questions to Adgenta for Christmas however:
Are advertisers vetted before being admitted into the programme?
How come this obvious spammer selling possibly illegal products is advertising on my site through your programme?
What are you going to do about filtering out these ads?
How are you going to assure me that this won’t happen again?
Adgenta wants to put control with the blogger, which sounds like good thinking to me. Let’s see how we can work this out.

[UPDATE] Have been in touch with the people of Adgenta (thanks for the quick response folks!). They are taking this as a serious problem which can be a major threat to their credibility. The ads itself are delivered to Adgenta by Miva, one of the biggest on-line advertising supply networks. Adgenta is trying to get Miva to react to this stat.