Web filled with unusable junk

Some parts of the internet like this forum are wonderful, but then there are so many websites that are just unreadable, unusable junk. You know what I’m talking about. You click on a link on your iPhone, before you know it there is some pop up obscuring the page. You dismiss it and some video starts playing covering half the page. Some banner ad is flashing at the top of the page. Some websites are so bad it is comical.

I understand the idea of advertising to make money, but why do they go to such extremes that their website is unusable?


Usability or a pleasant user experience is not the primary consideration. What matters is that an ad was presented to a viewer. $$ Cha-ching :moneybag:

An ad blocker should help with a lot of that—not to distract from your point!


Have you tried this out before?

When Safari Reader doesn’t work, or if I’m using a different browser, I try Instapaper Text mode. Sometimes it will work when SR doesn’t. “The Instapaper Text bookmarklet converts any compatible web page into a beautifully designed Instapaper view article, right in your browser.”

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I have no objection to ad blockers but haven’t used one in years.

Safari Reader is built in and works well. Instapaper is my primary web clipper since I stopped using Evernote so I add the Text and Save bookmarklets to both my browsers. And . . . don’t tell anyone, but like SR they occasionally allow me to read some paywalled sites.

Oh yes, I use Safari reader all the time, but it doesn’t work on all websites.

I found ad blockers caused all kinds of glitches, that was some time ago though. I have to say the recently I noticed a big uptick in ads and popups. That could be due to the sites I am using though and it is impressionistic.

That was my experience when I used them. I understand the need for advertising, but if a site is too junked up like those of many local news and tv affiliates I never return.

When that happens I click the back button and leave. The information I’m seeking is always available somewhere else or will be soon.

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Use a content blocker.

When I think of…

“You click on a link on your iPhone, before you know it there is some pop up obscuring the page. You dismiss it and some video starts playing covering half the page. Some banner ad is flashing at the top of the page.”

…I think of news websites. Nearly every single one I’ve run into allows you to use Safari Reader.

@jcarucci, are you able to provide some specific examples?

Use uBlock Origin if you are on a Chromium Browser. I use Brave and it’s excellent without uBlock. With uBlock though, you can remove unnecessary things on the page easily. It also removes YouTube ads and what not. All those popups or floating banners, gone!

Orion is another WebKit based browser that supports uBlock.

You won’t find anything better than uBlock Origin, even if you pay.

+1 for uBlock, it’s also available on Firefox if that’s more your style.

Many have suggested micropayments as a replacement for ads. Do you guys think that would work?

No no no, please, don’t even suggest adding more costs to the already flooded subscription world :smile:

For me at least part of the problem seems to be the sites Google is surfacing in a response to a search. Particularly for tech searches a bunch of poor quality sites appear, filled with ads and videos and often with content only tangentially related to the specific search. Many of the sites presented have near identical content.

Google was supposed to be smart enough to stop this, but it seems the website developers are smarter. Even Google’s featured snippets are often no more than a link to a site that is one big advert.

I would rather not use an ad blocker, but use Road Block on Mac and iOS Safari. It also allows some tracking to be disallowed.

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A good ad blocker makes the Internet bearable.

Time Berners-Lee envisaged that micropayments for access to pages would be an integral part of the web. W3C even had a committee that worked in them, see here, although I think the concept is first attributed to Ted Nelson (a major figure in the early days of networking, well before ARPANet, let alone the Internet) way back in the very early 1960s.

The problem, as I understand it, was that payment processing ultimately required access to banking/ credit card systems and their fees swamped the price envisaged (fractions of a cent) for a page impression. Had, when the web started to grow in the mid 1990s, the major publishers – particularly newspapers – had the forethought to see how “free” access to information would kill their businesses and got behind a common standard for micropayment payment aggregation, things might have been very different.

I, for one, would give serious thought to a subscription service that aggregated micropayments for access to web impressions, but I would expect the price per page set by the site publisher to reflect the quality and utility of the information provided and my experience on the site to be (nearly, if not entirely) ad-free. I hope media outlets will start reconsidering the concept, after all we already see ad-free editions of pod casts and the likes.

There is even, I think, an opportunity here for the likes of Apple, or indeed any other major tech with a bent towards and a reputation for privacy. There is surely a balance between (return) visits to a site and the amount and quality of advertising. There is also an horrific issue with tracking, which is largely driven by the perceived need to “personalise” advertising.

Imagine if Apple said to content providers – of all sizes – stop destroying your users’ experience with advertising, subscribers to our micropayments service are prepared to will you for every article they read, but if you want access our payments service and its readers you must not tracking them. Content providers could still continue to carry adverts – it’s really no problem to me that the Economist magazine I get each week carries adverts – but micropayments impose a more direct linkage between providers and their users; their content is again the product, not the readers themselves. The ads in the Economist don’t overwhelm its content, I can pretty much skip them, and the ones I do read are usually pretty high quality. If the Economist were to decided to start accepting ads for dodgy pharmaceuticals, its knows it would loose its readership even more quickly than if the quality of its journalism was to crater.

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I tend to give up browsing on my iPhone when I’m not on my home network and using my Pi Hole to block ads - some sites like Techradar are just unreadbale on the iPhone without it.

When I’m on my laptop outside my network, I have to use Firefox with uBlock to make things bearable.

I can’t imagine using the web today without an ad blocker. It’s not only about the user experience, it’s also about privacy and blocking tracking scripts and cookies before they get to you. I don’t mind reasonable advertisements, but I never agreed to being tracked across the web.

Nice to the see the Saltire! Google search, don’t get me started. I have stopped using it for my real uses. If I want a commodity or get onto a site I know I might use it or Duck Duck Go, otherwise I try some other place or source. I have to say I found Wikipedia has deteriorated too, badly and suddenly, I have no idea why, not from an ad point of view though of course.
Sometimes the ‘canary in the coalmine’ are quite marginal and under the radar. One of my hobby horses is the nonsense teaching of PEMDAS in schools. There used to be a superb Wiki article on it, now it is dreary and misleading; a dry and incorrect endorsement of the silly practice with the interesting historical story dropped, 'cause you know, we HAVE to teach it this way… :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:
By the way the first couple of Google sites I came up with just now were also wrong and were in fact ads for some teaching program or something equally dreary.

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