Commuters

commuting

Most passengers in UK trains seem to fiddle with their smartphones. But not all. This from a commuter train yesterday. Mind you, they’re all reading the same (free) newspaper, so maybe it’s not as hopeful as I thought.

The ad-blocking quandary

Interesting Forbes column by Lewis DVorkin:

It was my first day of class as a first-time Skype instructor, so I got right to it: “How many of you pay for content?” I asked a dozen or so University of Iowa journalism students as the fall semester got under way at my alma mater. Two, maybe three, gently raised an arm. Then came my follow-up question: “How many of you use ad blockers?” Nearly everyone put a hand straight up, proudly admitting to installing software that snuffs out display ads from their daily Web browsing experience. “That’s wonderful,” I said. “You don’t want to pay for content and you don’t want to see the ads that fund the content you don’t want to pay for. You might want to consider another profession.”

He goes on to describe how Forbes tackled the problem.

Since Dec. 17, 2015, a small percentage of those with ad blockers received this message:

Thanks for coming to Forbes. Please turn off your ad blocker in order to continue. To thank you for doing so, we’re happy to present you with an ad-light experience.

The remainder of visitors using ad blockers became the control group. They didn’t receive a message and continued to have full access to the site.

And the results?

1) From Dec. 17 to Jan. 3, 2.1 million visitors using ad blockers were asked turn them off in exchange for an ad-light experience.

2) 903,000, or 42.4%, of those visitors turned off the blockers and received a thank you message.

3) We monetized 15 million ad impressions that would otherwise have been blocked.

As important, the ad-light experience has focused our attention on faster delivery of our digital screens to consumers.

Interesting. And resourceful.

YouTube’s first decade

YouTube-logo-full_color

YouTube turns ten this year. ArsTechnica has a nice post that reflects on its history and its significance.

Excerpt:

The site has become so indispensable that it feels like a basic part of the Internet itself rather than a service that lives on top of it. YouTube is just the place to put videos, and it’s used by everyone from individuals to billion-dollar companies. It’s obvious to say, but YouTube revolutionized Web video. It made video uploading and playback almost as easy as uploading a picture, handled all the bandwidth costs, and it allowed anyone to embed those videos onto other sites.

The scale of YouTube gets more breathtaking every year. It has a billion users in 61 languages, and 12 days of video are uploaded to the site every minute—that’s almost 50 years of video every day. The site just continues growing. The number of hours watched on YouTube is up 50 percent from last year.

It’s easy to forget YouTube almost didn’t make it. Survival for the site was a near-constant battle in the early days. The company not only fought the bandwidth monster, but it faced an army of lawyers from various media companies that all wanted to shut the video service down. But thanks to cash backing from Google, the site was able to fend off the lawyers. And by staying at the forefront of Web and server technology, YouTube managed to serve videos to the entire Internet without being bankrupted by bandwidth bills…

Great read. Recommended.

Medium is its own message

“Rather than casting our writing into the open maelstrom of the internet, Medium provides a sheltered space where writers don’t have to compete with other forms of content. Here, the written word rules, and everyone is an eager reader. If the internet is a city, Medium is a village.”

From an interesting essay by Marius Masalar reflecting on Medium as a publishing platform for writers and bloggers.

How the network is evolving

This morning’s Observer column:

Earlier this year engineer Dr Craig Labovitz testified before the US House of Representatives judiciary subcommittee on regulatory reform, commercial and antitrust law. Labovitz is co-founder and chief executive of Deepfield, an outfit that sells software to enable companies to compile detailed analytics on traffic within their computer networks. The hearing was on the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable and the impact it was likely to have on competition in the video and broadband market. In the landscape of dysfunctional, viciously partisan US politics, this hearing was the equivalent of rustling in the undergrowth, and yet in the course of his testimony Labovitz said something that laid bare the new realities of our networked world…

Read on…

More…

Wired had an interesting series about this shift, the first episode of which has a useful graphic illustrating the difference between most people’s mental model of the Internet, and the emerging reality.