Friday Factday: Ads & Trackers
Friday Factday

Friday Factday: Ads & Trackers

Ben Thornton
Ben Thornton

Good day, dearest readers, and welcome to Friday Factday! I am your Encyclopedic Extraordinaire, Ben, and in this weekly piece, I will be expanding your minds with tantalizing tidbits of knowledge about cybersecurity, digital privacy, and, of course, Windscribe.

"But what use is such information?" I hear you ask. "Why should I spend my time filling my head with yet more useless facts that I may never use?"

To that, I say, "FAH! Knowledge is power, my friend, and 'tis a noble endeavor to expand one's understanding! Also, you're sat on the toilet; what else are you going to do with your 2 minutes?"

So, without further ado, let us begin our first foray into Friday Factday!

Today's Topic: Ads & Trackers

Choosing the topic to launch this series was an interesting task - there are so many different options! In the end, I settled on a topic that almost everyone is aware of, but few know details about: ads and trackers!

Adverts are a mainstay of modern society, no matter how much the general populace complains about them. They're loud, invasive, and manipulative. In the digital sphere, many have turned to Ad Blockers in order to streamline their internet experience, and it's easy to see why.

Less obvious, however, is the impact of Trackers and the benefit of blocking them. Trackers are insidious little things that can appear as something as simple as a single, unnoticeable pixel on a web page. These trackers use things called cookies that are installed on your computer whenever you click "Accept", and record information about your activity. This information is then sold to data brokers so that they can better manipula- errr, target their Ads.

The sheer amount of digital information the internet collects about you is mind-boggling. That's why we recommend you block them with Windscribe or Control D.

The Printing Press

If you'll indulge me for a moment, I'd like to begin with a fact that isn't directly related to digital advertising - but is nevertheless an absolutely crucial milestone in the development of advertising as a whole. That milestone is the advent of Johannes Gutenberg's Printing Press. His invention is world-famous for introducing the era of mass communication during the Renaissance, exposing the masses to ideas and information on a level never before seen.

One of the consequences of this was the introduction of the handbill as a way to quickly and easily advertise products and services, opening the way for all kinds of charlatans to spread their influence and proving that even incredibly groundbreaking and positive inventions can come with nasty side effects.

Big Bucks Advertising Budgets

The most expensive advertising campaign of all time was in 2004 when Chanel spent $33 million USD - including a $3 million fee for Nicole Kidman - on a 3-minute long advert directed by Baz Luhrmann for Chanel No. 5. This marks the height of self-satisfied and pretentious advertising, shifting from selling the product itself to selling the idea of luxury and glamour - though I have to admit, it did well for them!

Something else worth noting is that a full THIRD of all digital advertising budgets are spent on social media, which reinforces the idea that social media is really just a place for your information to be bought and sold.

Ad Blockers are Green!

It turns out that ads are not just annoying, but they're bad for the environment, too. Every ad that is loaded on every device takes a minuscule amount of electricity - so small that you wouldn't notice the blip on your bill. But when you consider the sheer collected volume of ads loading across the globe, suddenly, you've got a major amp in electricity consumption and environmental impact!

So, what are you waiting for? Both Windscribe and Control D (our highly customizable DNS service) can safely and easily block Ads & Trackers for you, making you less stressed, less monitored, and more green!

Video Killed the Blog Writer Star

According to recent research, videos are shared up to 1200% more than links and text combined. Viewers retain up to 95% of the information seen in a video, compared to 10% of the information read in text. Clickthrough rates are also up to 96% higher on video content compared to text.

These statistics are enough to trigger an existential crisis in someone such as myself, as editor and writer of Windscribe's blog... but, fortunately, we also get to make awesome video content here at Windscribe, and there's only going to be more going forward!

Windscribe's Offensive Line is Ironclad

Windscribe has a very active Ad Blocking feature that is constantly keeping those pesky pop-ups at bay. At the time of writing, on average, Windscribe is blocking nearly 2,000 ads/trackers per second via R.O.B.E.R.T., our server-side domain and IP blocking tool. That's nearly 120,000 every minute, and a whopping 7,200,000 every hour!

Blocking ads and trackers with Windscribe is also super easy. In our desktop and mobile apps, head over to the R.O.B.E.R.T section and toggle on Ad + Trackers to Blocking. In our browser extension, you just need to navigate to Preferences > Blocker and toggle on the "Ad Crusher" and "Tracker Eradicator" features - et voila! You can now navigate the web safe from pesky Ads and invasive Trackers!

Ben Thornton
Ben Thornton