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Weekly wire: The global forum

Roxanne Bauer's picture

These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

Researchers identify opportunities to improve quality, reduce cost of global food assistance delivery
MIT
Food assistance delivered to the right people at the right time and in the right place can save lives. In 2016 alone, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) delivered over 1.7 million metric tons of food assistance to over 30 million people in 50 countries around the world. However, USAID estimates that over $10 million of that food never made it to the plates of people in need due to spoilage and infestation. Proper food assistance packaging can be a major contributing factor toward preventing spoilage and infestation. The right kind of packaging can also reduce the need for costly fumigation — which also has the potential to harm human and environmental health if misapplied — and diversify the types of commodities that can be shipped to communities in need, improving recipient satisfaction and nutrition. MIT researchers have just released a new report detailing an experimental study examining how different packaging approaches and technologies can reduce cost and improve quality of food assistance procured in the United States and shipped abroad.
 
An ad-supported internet isn’t going to be sustainable in emerging markets
Quartz
Can you imagine an internet without advertisements? It’s difficult. Since the web’s genesis, advertising has been the reigning business model. The vast majority of online content and services — from entertainment and journalism to search engines and email — are supported by banners, displays, and leaderboards. Today, two of the world’s largest companies—Google and Facebook—earn the bulk of their revenue through advertising. Put simply: The phrase “ad-supported internet” can seem redundant. But as the internet expands into emerging economies like Nigeria, Kenya and Rwanda, this may no longer be the case. As billions more digital citizens connect this decade, a critical question arises: Does the internet’s current business model work in newly-connected regions?

Media (R)evolutions: Ad blockers popular worldwide because they improve web browsing experience

Roxanne Bauer's picture

New developments and curiosities from a changing global media landscape: People, Spaces, Deliberation brings trends and events to your attention that illustrate that tomorrow's media environment will look very different from today's, and will have little resemblance to yesterday's.

There’s a lot of discussion right now about ad blocking. As a consumer, you may think ad blocking is a protector that improves your web browsing experience, but if you run an online business you may think it’s a growing problem that reduces your revenue. What appears to be clear, however, is that the use of ad blockers is expected to grow. 

Ad blocking software blocks online advertisements before they are loaded by a user’s web browser. Once installed, the content of the page is stripped of ads before they even get the chance to load.

Ad blocking vastly improves the Web-browsing experience. The average web page is a mess of third-party analytics, plug-ins, and advertising tags, which make pages bulky and distracting.  Since ad blocking prevents those elements from loading, it speeds up page load times, reduces the amount of data consumed, and cuts back on the number of things competing for attention. There are also privacy benefits to running ad blockers. Most ad networks and tracking tools collect information about page visits and user behavior, but the ad blockers prevent third-party tracking tags from loading and following people across sites. Moreover, the display ecosystem is still the largest part of online ads and includes a mixture of video, audio and other media that seek to create more “interactive” and “engaging” ads. To enable these features, ad networks have allowed third-party JavaScript and Flash files to run in ad slots, which also allows for malicious code to be run and provides a way for viruses and malware to spread on a massive scale

GlobalWebIndex found, as part of their regular reporting, that regardless of  gender, age, income or the region in which they live, people are most likely to be blocking ads because they feel that too many of them are annoying or irrelevant and because they believe there are simply too many ads on the internet.