I’m sitting here listening to an amazing Tweezer jam from Phish’s 1.2.2016 Madison Square Garden show thanks to Adrian Hoppel and three little dots. All because Facebook re-positioned the “Open in Safari” command in the latest version of their iOS app. I know, you’re probably thinking “wha?”, but this is occasionally how my head works. My wife calls it “thought roulette meets connect the dots” (I’m glad you Love me Aimee!), but it always leads to good things and great ideas, and when it leads to useful info, I try to share it. In this case, the whole experience tied a number of things together, motivated this post, and made me realize I need to get my hands on yet another Phish show.
“Open in Safari” means Ad-Free Nirvana to Many of Us
There’s a reason why ad blockers are becoming the app of choice for those of us in the iOS crowd. Here at ClearStream Concepts we use Crystal on all our iPhones and iPads, and it does a great job. It wasn’t an easy decision at first, being some of our work involves developing and establishing blogs, and generating content for blogs. We know some bloggers, publishers and advertisers depend on annoying ads for revenue and income, so ad blockers are hurting many of them. Then again, who really clicks on these ads? Once we got past the philosophical aspect of it all, and realized we never click ANY of the ads (unless it’s a pudgy-fingered attempt to close the damn things) the decision was made. Crystal was installed and *poof* went the ads in Safari on our iDevices.
Along the way we learned some very interesting things. For one, Apple didn’t tweak the code in iOS 9 to enable blockers because they too were annoyed by these ads. No, their reason was much bigger, and definitively business-related. One reason is because Apple wants you to be stuck using their News app. You know, that app you rarely use and haven’t touched in months. Well if Apple gets their way, you might have to. [insert Steve Jobs disembodied “evil laugh” here] Another reason is “cuz Google”. You see, Google, Apple and Facebook are all fierce competitors. Guess where Google generated 75% of their mobile ad revenue last year – from iOS. The “fun” doesn’t stop there.
This really could be an unhealthy development for those of us that use the web. As discussed in a recent article on The Verge, this could be the slow death of the internet. OK, we really don’t believe that, but what we do know is that ads in mobile apps like Apple News and Facebook are UNBLOCKABLE. We won’t go into all the reasons here, check out the article we linked to, it’s quite good.
Here’s a good read in Inc. on how this move hurts independent web publishers. In and of itself it does a great job of demonstrating why many of us are using ad blockers. If you read that article in a browser without an ad blocker, there’s a video ad that will autoplay (screw your bandwidth ceiling, we want you to see our slick video ad!). Read the same article in a browser with an ad blocker, and all the ads are gone, and this fine piece of online journalism is much more readable and enjoyable, and thus worthwhile. And therein lies the conundrum. In our case, the decision was easy. The ads had become annoying and too prolific, and we hate going over the bandwidth allowance on our iPhones just because some slick ad guy sold a business on the idea of autoplay video ads we don’t want to watch. I mean if we did, we’d click on them, just like you might on the video below.
So this morning I wanted to read an article on my iPhone I found in Facebook about Phish’s most recent Tweezer jam. I clicked on it, let it load a bit in FB’s onboard browser, and tapped the “Share” link in the upper right hand corner, like I always do. WHERE THE HELL DID MY “OPEN IN SAFARI” OPTION GO?! So I posted about it on Facebook. Lo and behold who comes to my aid? None other than Adrian Hoppel, the guy who recently gained notoriety by instituting the gift economy in his website development business!
Adrian led me to the promised land of article enjoyment outside of FB by bringing my attention to the three little dots in the lower right corner of FB’s browser window. And there it was, my exit from Facebook’s enabling of unbridled pop-up, pop-overs, pop-unders, and pop-tarts – the elusive ”Open in Safari” link.
This brings us full circle, back to where this all began. If you’ve read this far, you’re about to find out it’s been worth it. In our previous blog post we eluded to the fact we’d be making waves in the digital marketing industry this year. Here’s a hint about one of them. Once a month we’re going to take a page from Mr. Hoppel’s book, and some lucky business or non-profit is going to be very happy.
If you’re a Phishhead, this is required viewing….
We’ll never utilize ads on this site to generate revenue, because we like you, the money’s not worth your inconvenience, and we know you wouldn’t click the ads anyhow!