No more ads, no more trackers

You might have noticed that I changed the design of this site a month or so ago. As part of the process, I also eliminated advertising.

That’s the culmination of a transformation that’s been going on since last year, when I removed the Google Analytics code from this site. I shut down my Google AdSense account and removed the code serving ads from the network I was previously part of.


With those changes, there are no longer any web trackers on this site. I do have the Stats widget (part of the WordPress Jetpack add-in), which counts site visitors and helps me determine which posts are most popular and which search terms visitors used when coming here via search engines. It doesn’t gather any additional information about visitors, as far as I know.

I have nothing but respect for the people who run my former ad network, Federated Media. They’re professionals of the first order.

The advertising industry, on the other hand, seems to be engaged in a race to the bottom. I finally got tired of ugly, misleading ads, which in turn were accompanied by tracking code that aggressively monitors your movements on the web.

So for now, at least, this site is free. If you want to support my work, I hope you’ll buy my books. I occasionally also recommend products here, from online merchants I trust. Those recommendations might include affiliate links. If they do, I include a disclosure as part of the post. (The link to at the beginning of this paragraph is an affiliate link, in fact.)

Ad-supported business models are becoming increasingly less tenable for small publishers like me. And the advertising industry is getting worse, much worse, in the way it tracks us.

I don’t have any answers for fixing the Internet. But at least in this one small plot of online real estate, I can make a statement.

13 thoughts on “No more ads, no more trackers

  1. If they were only annoying it would be bad enough. But the ads are getting much more aggressive and I, for one, appreciate your statement on your little plot!

  2. The current ad supported model galls me, and I very much appreciate your gesture. I will gladly pay for quality content that I want, rather than be barraged with obnoxious ads. Ads are showing up in devices (GPS, Kindles, etc.), software (Windows 8 apps), Sirius Radio (on a PAID subscription!) and I don’t like it at all. Thanks for your stance Mr. Bott!

  3. And the real problem is bigger than just the ad-revenue model. We’ve got to get some way of paying people who create for a living. The “I want it so I should be able to get it for free” model is not sustainable.

    From software (“release it as open source or at most charge 99 cents”)

    to music performance (“give away the recording and make a living by going on tour and selling t-shirts”)

    to graphic arts (“donate your design for that band’s t-shirt and make it up in the publicity”)

    to photography (“prove that we stole your photo in court or it’s ours now”)

    to music composition (“don’t think of our sampling your recording as theft, think of it as an honor”)

    we don’t have any way for creative content people to make a living and the costs of that are starting to damage our society in ways that go beyond tracking beacons and spyware disguised as add-ons.

  4. Ed, you continually show yourself to be a man of honor and integrity. You make me proud that I own several of your Inside Out books.

  5. I commend your decision, but I wonder how much money you are leaving on the table. Isn’t your publisher interested in a sponsorship of their author’s web site? Even if it was only an affiliate arrangement, it would be the same or better than Federated.

    1. I appreciate the thought, Kent, but book publishers don’t generally advertise. O’Reilly, which produces my books under the Microsoft Press imprint, has its own website. I can set up an affiliate agreement with them, but that would be separate of online advertising. Something tells me they’re not interested in paying me to write here. 🙂

  6. I was going to say I’ve done the same, but I’m on hosted WordPress and ads are ‘sometimes’ inserted into my posts. After weeks of putting it off, I’m heading over to the control panel to pay for the non-ad version.

    A bargain at $30.

  7. Ed: So the Date Women over 50+ that just popped up with this email doesn’t count as an ad? Are you personally screening them? The women and the ads?

    1. Casey, I use a free RSS-to-email service called FeedBlitz that is ad-supported. You’re one of about 320 people using that service. I don’t make a dime from those ads and I don’t like them myself.

      I’d like to change that, but I am also sensitive to the fact that I don’t want to inconvenience those 320 users. Meanwhile, please cancel your Feedblitz subscription (link is in the email you received) and use the Subscribe box on the right side of this page instead.

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