Internet Users are Getting a Bad D.E.A.L.

I just finished reading Wired’s article on D.E.A.L., the new method that advertising agencies are trying to strike a happy medium with the users who are frustrated by advertisements. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) proposed a pretty simple solution for publishers to earn back some of the revenue being lost to people like myself, who prefer to block ads and trackers.

Detect ad blocking, in order to initiate a conversation
Explain the value exchange that advertising enables
Ask for changed behavior in order to maintain an equitable exchange
Lift restrictions or Limit access in response to consumer choice

I really think this is a huge step in the right direction. I’m far more likely to whitelist a site for ads once I know that they provide information that I want in an effort to support the site.


The IAB still doesn’t understand why people block ads in the first place.

It’s not always about the advertisements. It’s about the trackers. Opentracker has a pretty thorough explanation of what trackers are and how they affect you, however I will sum it up here as well.

  1. Trackers monitor your activity while you are surfing the web.
  2. Trackers talk to each other, even though websites do not. This allows for marketing tactics such as behavioral marketing & targeting. It’s kind of like when you are shopping for a new car, and you suddenly start seeing more advertisements for car companies.
  3. They record a myriad of data, from where you click and what you read most. Some track more personal information. With this kind of data they can learn a lot about you. If you have a google account you can see some of the stuff they’ve learned. It can be very startling.

People like myself don’t trust our information being sent everywhere, and these companies learning so much about me. This infographic may be a little out-dated, but it paints a fairly easy to understand picture of where the data is going.

Source: FPF.org

It’s not always about the advertisements. It’s about the trackers. I don’t trust advertising companies with my personal information & interests.

One of the most staggering ways to see this in action is to download the Lightbeam addon for Mozilla. Mozilla has put a lot of work into educating people on trackers, and are spearheading the availability of a Do Not Track feature. Seriously, download Lightbeam and navigate to a few major news sites. What you see will shock you.

In just five clicks to Facebook, Medium, New York Times, Wired and MSNBC I connected with over 121 Third Party Sites who were collecting data.

How many trackers I encountered visiting 5 websites.

So if trackers are the problem, what is the solution?

I think it’s pretty simple. I would be comfortable supporting websites that rely on advertisements, in exchange for my data not being used against me. As long as trackers are here to stay, it’s very likely that the amount of people using adblockers will only rise.

In reference to how advertisers are working to clean up advertisements and provide non-invasive solutions the senior vice president of technology and ad operations at the IAB, Scott Cunningham said:

“We’re still very early on.”

In the meantime here’s a few free adblockers and trackers to help you get started on your path to privacy.

There’s always incognito mode in your browser, however it isn’t an all encompassing solution. Until the ad industry catches up you’re better safe than sorry.