Ad blockers, competition, and feedback on dull work

Apple will allow ad blockers in iOS 9, which just went into public beta. It’s a fun topic in the tech world right now, because everyone gets to pick sides about whether Apple does that because it’s altruistic, or because it’s competitive move against Google, or both, or whatever. This means there’s been a bunch of news and think pieces lately about ad blockers.

There have been some fun highlights (like Tonx’s casino analogy), but by my favourite quote comes from John C. Welch:

So I spent over six years working for an ad agency, and you know who hates sh***y ads and flash ads and popovers/unders more than them?

NO ONE

As a person who has to make those terrible ads at times, that made me laugh. One thing that lessens the pain is if those crappy ads at least go to some kind of custom page. It used to pain me when there was no custom page, or no analytics on the custom page that made the ad worth its while. Now I just don’t do ads like that anymore.

Unlike John, I’ve not seen the numbers firsthand, so I can’t speak to the effectiveness of those ads. But I do know that if I’m going to make an ad that I feel shame to be associated with, I at least want to know with confidence that at least my client benefitted well from my labour. I think all designers want to make something beautiful, but we are a service industry, and it’s nice to see the work produce results.

Everyone benefits from a solid feedback loop, even when it’s for a mundane task.

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