How to Make Your Browser Run Faster, and How That Will Alter Internet Economics

A while ago, I bemoaned all the crap on webpages that eat up memory and make your browser (or computer) sluggish. I recently came across a add-on that really helps, Ghostery (note: I have no financial ties to Ghostery). It blocks (and you can determine what it blocks and for which sites) advertising, analytical tools, trackers, and widgets. Since people do like to know what’s going with their sites, I do keep some things turned on that are used by independent and personal blogs (e.g., Sitemeter, WordPress). But most stuff is blocked. Not only do things take up less memory, but things run faster.

The weird thing is that Ghostery is billed as a privacy protector–if you’re tired of being creeped on while surfing the intertoobz, it (along with other programs) is for you. But I like it because it’s a script-killer (since using it, I haven’t once received those ‘slow script’ warnings Firefox will give you while you face the pinwheel of doom).

But while this brings the Mad Biologist joy, it’s an economic disaster. Basically, every way the web is ‘monetized’ (Intelligent Designer, that’s a horrible misuse) is annihilated by Ghostery. Ads are gone. My tracking info is inaccessible to third parties. And there is a lot of monetization (ugh) going on. One io9.com page has the following things you probably didn’t realize were running in the background: ChartBeat, Criteo, DoubleClick, Facebook Connect, Facebook Social Plugins, Google +1, Google Analytics, NetRatings, SiteCensus, New Relic, Parse.ly, Quantcast, ScoreCard Research Beacon, SkimLinks, Twitter Badge, Twitter Button, Adobe Typekit. That’s a lotta crap, much of it which does me no good. But people are making money off of it, until they have to deal with assholes like me who nuke their business with add-ons.

This could be a real problem, I think.

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4 Responses to How to Make Your Browser Run Faster, and How That Will Alter Internet Economics

  1. Markk says:

    NoScript and AdBlock and derivatives have been around for a long time to do this in Firefox. I am not sure that the fraction of people that will bother to run these tools is enough to matter, and the fact that someone with these tools visited a website will be some information that is ‘monetized’ as well. The problem is that people will start to tie essential functions of a website into these all in one script so you won’t be able to use the page without them.

  2. george.w says:

    I hope advertisers will adapt by making their ads less memory-hungry. They need to recognize that people notice stuff they’re looking for. Hitting them over the head with stuff they’re not looking for just trains them to look for the “x”.

  3. Tiercelet says:

    Funny, I was just reading this article: http://www.thenation.com/article/172887/you-are-what-you-click-microtargeting?page=full#

    Frankly, given what these folks are up to, I have no problem whatsoever with cutting the money out of the web. I’d be happier if Facebook didn’t exist, because then I wouldn’t have people I actually know a) ignoring talking to me in favor of just broadcasting their lives and b) harassing me to use it more.

    I mean, at the end of the day, most of the Internet uses that I actually value don’t *need* to be monetized. Most of the people who write blogs that I follow — like yourself — do it as a hobby. Those who fund them (Yves Smith ferex) have pledge drives or other direct monetization from consumers. Zappos and Amazon are actual businesses, my use of their sites *is* the monetization.

    Frankly, the Internet would be a better place if those revenue streams were completely unavailable.

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