Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Photo by Dennis Maliepaard / Unsplash

This year is 2021 and advertisements are everywhere. Not only are they everywhere, but even services that cost money have even resumed putting ads in our face.

Is this greed? Is this the other side if selling data is prohibited? I'm not sure, but even my Pi-hole even struggles to block advertisements these days. Ads are no longer 3rd party domains jacked into a website, but instead directly built into the product itself.

So lets start with Twitter, which has crippled 3rd party applications to force all users onto the official Twitter website and app. This application has so many flaws from intentionally breaking chronological order to shoving full screen ads in my face.

Like look at the above video and see that in 18 seconds I saw 3 ads that took up probably roughly 80-90% of the vertical space on my phone. Scrolling my Twitter feed is more about shoving as many ads down my throat as possible. To make matters even worse, I see them advertising a 2.99/month "Twitter Blue" feature that doesn't even remove ads!

Is Twitter Blue ad-free?
No. Currently, ads continue to fund our ability to innovate as we grow this new part of our business.

Call me crazy, but I thought the entire purpose of Twitter Blue when it was rumored was to remove ads. Instead it just adds these features:

  • Undo Tweet (Just delay tweet before posting)
  • Top Articles (Just a query)
  • Reader (Just an "amp-like" of a page)
  • Bookmarks (Organization)

It also says "Introduction" price, which leads me to believe it will only go up. Just blown away by a paid feature that doesn't accomplish what I believe it would. That tells me that a company makes more money shoving ads in our face than allowing folks to pay to opt-out.

That is what truly scares me, if $2.99/month from a user is not enough to break even on ads then each consumer given ads presumably makes more for the company than $2.99/month. That helps reinforce the notion that if the product is free, then you are the product.

Nvidia Shield Ad (9to5google)

What started to bother me is this pattern of paying for something and still getting ads. Now I understand that if you pay $200 for a piece of tech in today's world - that only gets you so far until updates and continued work probably deems another payment.

It just feels wrong that a rotating ad takes up 30% of my screen without a choice about it. I paid $200 for an Nvidia Shield and it was a few months later and ads were in my face. So I get more upset when the service instead is a monthly payment (Xbox Live) and still results in advertisements.

Now, the good news with Xbox Live advertisements is my Pi-hole detects these are ads and thus blocks them. So my Xbox looks quite calmer than your regular gold user.

However, like clock work I boot up the Xbox and get a prompt to join Game Pass that takes up entire screen. The main screen without navigating has an advertisement on the bottom right. This just makes me sad - if you pay for the service monthly on top of paying for the games, DLC and more why can't ads just disappear?

If you live a life with Pi-hole, then you rarely see ads. What makes this is interesting is when you lose Pi-hole for a bit and stumble upon a news site. Its a jarring experience to not experience ads and then figure out that most of the world browses the web with hundreds of advertisements in the face. I don't know how they do it.

I sure can't stand looking at advertisements, but that appears to be the future.

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