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If you need to block ads on websites, use this tool first



  Ad Blockers Other than getting it to Google and making your browser experience better for Mac, iPhone and iPad users, I'm not sure what Apple is trying to prove by allowing browser ad blockers in App Store.

What is the problem with ad blockers? It's not a single problem. There are a multitude of issues generated by an unfortunate combination of technology tracking capabilities mixed with greed and topped by advertiser lack of discipline, layered with electronic publications that thrive when everything works to their advantage.

The same technology that makes almost infinite tracking possible, can also be used to unhinge and defeat tracking mechanisms. These are the various ad units available for popular browsers and now, thanks to Apple pointing Google in the eye with a stick, available for iPhone and iPad apps that block ads in domestic applications.

This fight between advertisers requiring data tracking and browsers that require privacy will not die easily. Website publishers rely on ad revenue for their existence. Ad blockers take away some of the revenue and the lump grows bigger each day, and the trend will cause some online publishers to leave the business, cut the staff, or change the model to one that is less intrusive than the standard flash animation, video ad, popup ads and ads that swallow the page you're trying to read.

As an online author and publisher, and as a Mac, iPhone and iPad uses with a few hundred websites In my RSS reader, I understand the issues from both perspectives. Advertising makes the world go around. Without it, there will be no free internet (not to mention television, radio, newspapers, magazines and many other businesses). But advertisers have been drunk with greed on the technology of intruders, detractors and spurs.

What is the solution?

There is no single solution, but there are affordable alternatives. Here is one. If you need to block sites with annoying ads, use Ghostery on your Mac. For Safari and Chrome users Ghostery is an easy-to-install and turn-on browser extension that makes it easy to create custom settings for the sites you read the most.

Ghostery does a great job of showing you who is tracking you while visiting websites. To see who's tracking you online is a good place to start, and Kate Mackenzie puts Ghostery to the test on a number of popular Apple-oriented websites.

Ghostery is free, but it has enough control that you can blacklist sites, whitelist sites, and even select specific tracking mechanisms to block. Our site, BohemianBoomer, has joined some other Apple-oriented sites to minimize advertising (we only use Google's simple AdSense ads for now) per page, and to release Google's very popular Analytics tracking.

We use Ghostery while browsing the web. We also have blacklist and whitelist sites. And for websites we approve, we make an effort to support their advertising efforts because we know that's what pays the bills. Some sites have pop-up messages that appear when an ad blocking is detected, and there is a trend that will continue to grow. Sites block the blocks from seeing the content. It is also a dangerous trend; one without winners.

Google, probably the world's largest offender by tracking users, once had an unofficial motto that said, "Don't be evil." It's gone. Google's new parent company, Alphabet, has no such hurdles, nor the giant of the search engine (Google is only part of the Alphabet company). The rest of us, though, can avoid being evil and doing the right thing.


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