Is it time for a return to simple display ads?

In a previous post, I wrote about Privacy Badger. This browser add-on blocks tracking cookies. When you enable it, you’ll find that – as a by-product – it also blocks a lot of advertising. Apparently, those ads require cookies to even display. I think that’s weird.

For a while now, I’ve been thinking that perhaps the time is right for a “new”, ethical type of internet advertising agency. One that simply serves ad images, with links to the pictured products or services. No tracking, no cookies, no personalisation, no animations/javascript/whatever. Just the way web ads worked in the early days.

If something like that existed (and I trusted the organisation behind it) I might whitelist such an ad network in my ad blocker. It’s not the ads I dislike, its the tracking. Not being blocked could be(come) a major advantage for clients.

Serving ads through an honest platform might even make the advertisers look good. And placing ethical ads could appeal to otherwise reluctant publishers.

What do you think? Would you allow ads if you knew they weren’t tracking you? If displaying them could help the publisher whose content you’re reading, without invading your privacy?

Roy Tanck
I'm a freelance WordPress developer, designer, consultant, meetup organizer and speaker. In my spare time I love to go out and take pictures of things.

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