I have thought long and hard about the online tracking and adverting debate over the past couple of days and have now deleted Peace from my iPhone. I also took a look at Ghostery on the Mac and it is surprising at how much I am tracked when I visit certain websites. That has also now been deleted because in all good conscious I can’t bring myself to block the tracking and adverts on every site.
I get the argument that websites should be a lot more transparent about what they see and what information they grab, but I still don’t get the idea that it is perfectly acceptable to block everything using the argument that some sites are ruining the experience. Marco screwed up by releasing Peace in the first place, the irony of a situation which didn’t escape me. He managed to jump to number one in the app store by getting thousands of people to pay for an app so that they can avoid a minor inconvenience. It’s all so me, me, me. I want to visit sites, but I don’t want them to make money, I want it all on my terms.
This is surely no different than those people who complain about having to pay 79p for an app that took considerable time to create. The culture of ‘I should get everything for free’ bugs me hugely and there are double standards everywhere. Some people will block ads while sneering at those on benefits and those who don’t like paying for apps. What’s the difference? Isn’t this just different levels of ‘free’ stuff?
As more people realise what these apps can do, and in the case of Peace letting it block almost everything instantly is dangerous, they will soon block everything. Why would you not do that? One argument is that people will choose what to block, but they will absolutely block everything once they realise they can do it and see the speed improvements.
Is Apple at fault here? I’m genuinely not sure because it is easy to argue that this makes for a better user experience, but surely it is also obvious the damage it causes when a company like Apple gets involved. I’m not immune to Apple’s ability to take over markets and grab everything possible penny, but something about this feels different. Maybe it is too close to home and has a direct affect on the work I do or maybe I just see it different. Maybe I realise that websites and publishers need to make money and that I can’t have everything my own way.
Good response from Neil via Twitter- “My computer, my rules. If sites don’t like that, they are welcome to restrict what traffic they accept. Or charge.”