The Ad-Filled Web Is Now Called the Bullsh*t Web

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I first came across this article via Daring Fireball, and it discusses the Bullsh*t Web, a term for the ad-filled web we’re now familiar with.

Take that CNN article, for example. Here’s what it contained when I loaded it:

  • Eleven web fonts, totalling 414 KB
  • Four stylesheets, totalling 315 KB
  • Twenty frames
  • Twenty-nine XML HTTP requests, totalling about 500 KB
  • Approximately one hundred scripts, totaling several megabytes — though it’s hard to pin down the number and actual size because some of the scripts are “beacons” that load after the page is technically finished downloading.

Ads are necessary to keep things free, but the amount of crap that most modern websites are filled with is unnecessary.

Check It Out: The Ad-Filled Web Is Now Called the Bullsh*t Web

The Ad-Filled Web Is Now Called the Bullsh*t Web

9 Comments Add a comment

  1. cubefan

    I wouldn’t mind, but this crap uses MY mobile data, its not stuff I want or ask for – so advertisers and so on are STEALING – as a consequence I’m NOT happy.

    I know there’s a price to be paid for ‘free services’, but this even happens on sites I pay subscriptions for. Firefox mobile on iOS does a great job of filtering out most of the sliding window video I don’t want – can’t wait to have the choice to select a default browser on iOS.

    I want a Text Mode button – should STILL be there – then when I’m on a wet string sized internet access it would work. Not be completely unusable.

  2. domsin

    I often wonder why there isn’t more attention and reporting about the bullshit web. It seems a day doesn’t go by without me waiting for a page to load and noting the message in an obscure corner of the window: “Waiting for ad to load…”. It is nice to see this article and some attention to how the web is being hijacked by marketing people who have no regard for intrusion on your privacy or quality of life. I would like to see more investigative reporting on this topic. How much bandwidth is devoted to these targeted ads as a percentage of information content of the web page? My guess is that it’s a lot. But getting a number on that percentage would help to highlight how much bandwidth, and therefore energy and time, we are wasting browsing the bullshit web. We all hear about how much energy is wasted by Bitcoin; my guess is that the amount wasted by these targeted ads dwarfs the amount wasted by Bitcoin. Andrew and Bryan, are you listening? Potentially there is a big story here!

    I recently discovered the ultimate irony about the bullshit web. If you open the Tor browser and go to google.com and then search for anything, here is the reply you will receive:

    Our systems have detected unusual traffic from your computer network. This page checks to see if it’s really you sending the requests, and not a robot. Why did this happen?

    Hmmm. It seems that Google has now made the phrase “unusual traffic” synonymous with “privacy”…

  3. archimedes

    Another thing about web ads – if they slow down the page load, you’re doing it wrong! Print ads do not slow down your ability to turn pages.

    • Lee Dronick

      And print ads won’t refresh the page when your in the middle of typing a comment. That used to be a problem here, but I haven’t experienced it in a long time.

  4. archimedes

    Adtech is a bloated, intrusive monstrosity which needs to die.

    It’s too bad because I actually enjoy reading print ads for Apple and tech products – it is amazing how the web just got it completely wrong!!

    My advice is: host your own high-quality, curated ads for products that are relevant to the web site.

    TMO also pioneered “deals” ads which are one of the better approaches, but they can also be burdened by lousy adtech.

  5. xmattingly

    That actually seems light for 11 web fonts (but the sheer number of fonts is, itself, an absurd waste of resources). The style sheets, however is most definitely outrageous bloat. If their developers were doing their job they should have been able to cut that weight down to maybe 1/4 its size.

  6. Lee Dronick

    “Ads are necessary to keep things free, but the amount of crap that most modern websites are filled with is unnecessary.”

    And the blingy ones cause me to ignore them, to tune them out, a more static one will not.

  7. Jamie

    Agreed. The sad fact is that crassly, a lot of the discord we are seeing regarding media of all types these days boils down to nothing more than advertising revenue, the evolution of the old, misguided concept of ‘eyeballs’. Not ethics, conscience, or insight, but ad dollars. It gets my goat when quality independent sites like TMO are near the bottom of the pecking order. For those of us that were there at the dawn of the www, it became a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts the second large corporations, having been spanked by the actual freedom of choice on the web, jumped into the fray. I imagine Sir Tim Berners-Lee weeping.

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