Lion of the Blogosphere

Practical advice, not NY Times whining

Let me re-iterate what I’ve written before:

1. Turn off third-party cookies
2. Install uBlock Origin on Chrome desktop. For mobile Safari on an iOS device, install AdGuard. Both are free. Both, by default, include privacy blocking as well as ad blocking. Ad blocking has the additional benefits of: (1) web pages load faster; (2) saves bandwidth which is limited on mobile devices; (3) you don’t see annoying ads.

And a word about VPNs: I have a subscription to Private Internet Access. I had some problems with it when I first started using it and had to mess with DNS settings. A VPN is a must if you are using any torrent software. For regular web browsing, it can be more of a hassle than the benefit of hiding your IP address. Sites with cookies know who you are anyway, and turning off first-party cookies makes much of the web unusable. Sites also have software which sometimes detects you are using a VPN, and they will block you from using their sites. Netflix, some e-commerce sites, block VPN users.

* * *

How I know about ad blockers?

Because the company I work for is run by a bunch of incompetent morons who don’t know what they are doing, I’ve had to multiple times bring to their attention problems where our website behaves in a buggy manner (or in some cases totally failed) when the user is using an ad blocker.

As a consequence, I’ve learned a little bit about how ad blockers work. I always have to remind people not to rely on Adobe Omniture for exact counts of user volume because a certain percentage of users are not tracked because they use ad blockers that block it. (However, by default, most ad blockers do not block Adobe Omniture. That’s why I recommend uBlock Origin, which does block Adobe Omniture, Google Analytics, and other things like that by default. It also blocks Adobe DTM, but the dumb people at my company have ignored my advice to rely on Adobe DTM as little as possible.)

That said, Adobe Omniture is a very valuable tool for analyzing behavior of people using your website, figuring out where your website has problems, figuring out the relative success of different ad campaigns, etc. In most cases it’s used in a non-sinister manner. The company I work for does a lot of scummy things, but I don’t consider using Adobe Omniture to be one of the scummy things.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 23, 2019 at EDT am

Posted in Technology

6 Responses

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  1. The problem is my Android uses Chrome by default. I do have Brave downloaded and I use that when I think of it but it’s just so easy to use Chrome.

    gothamette

    August 23, 2019 at EDT am

  2. Any reason for AdGuard vs any of the others that pop up at the App Store?

    Steverino@steverino.com

    August 23, 2019 at EDT am

    • AdGuard is most similar to uBlock Origin in that it uses open-source lists to block ads and trackers, and allows you control over which lists it uses.

      And for all that power, it’s free.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 23, 2019 at EDT am

  3. Adding to Lion’s list: get a Pi-Hole for your home. Simple network-wide DNS filtering. (In simplified terms, it essentially serves a similar function as uBlock Origin, but for every device on your network, including for family members and guests.)

    Maximus_Aurelius

    August 23, 2019 at EDT am

  4. I’ve been pretty happy with my VPN (go with a paid one; they’re not very expensive); if nothing else, it blocks your ISP from “tracking” you, and for me it hasn’t affected streaming. BTW, I can attest that Netflix doesn’t block all VPNs. Also set your browser to dump everything (cookies, history, etc) when it shuts down. And turn on fingerprinting protection, though that only seems to partially work. One shopping site I visit behaves as though it’s pretty sure it’s me, but not completely certain.

    Some sites and extensions apparently think you’re using Chrome when you use Brave.

    J1

    August 23, 2019 at EDT pm


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