back to article Why does that website take forever to load? Clues: Three syllables, starts with a J, rhymes with crock of sh...

If the web seems slow, blame third-party advertising and analytics scripts. Many internet users have already come to that conclusion but Patrick Hulce, founder of Dallas, Texas-based Eris Ventures and a former Google engineer, has assembled data that clarifies the impact of third-party scripts in the hope it prompts more …

  1. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I facepalm in your general direction, Java Script "programmers"

    _SO_ bad, it's not even funny (just pathetic and sad) when I snark all over it.

    icon, because, FACEPALM

    Got, NoScript? NoJS?

    1. RobHib
      Devil

      Re: I facepalm in your general direction, Java Script "programmers"

      Bloody JavaScript - never have it on by default.

      And guess what, I get pages that load in one third the time, ads are mostly nuked without JS and all the other advantages of improved security. It's a no-brainer really.

      If perchance I ever do need it then I've a large red/green toggle on my browser that turns it on/off. Being a large button, I can't accidentally forget to nuke it.

  2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Your JS can KMMFA.

    Don't like it? Tough fuck. You only have yourselves to blame.

    1. VTAMguy

      Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

      Amen to that. I choose what to view on my screen, not hucksters. Advertising does not help me in any way, ever, and it never will no matter how "nice" the slick ones pretend to play. It doesn't improve or enhance my life. From my viewpoint, advertisements are completely and utterly useless, and so I choose to never see them anywhere I have control. It's not my problem to figure out how websites get paid and I don't care - I didn't choose to litter the Internet with ads and I'd be happy without them forever, in any context. Sites that play gatekeeper games either have their flimsy security disabled on the spot or get dumped into /dev/null forever. Internet overlord wannabes: you are never going to be able to show me any ads, ever. If your data slurping site dies without ads, that's just fine with me - adios mother fucker, and take all your useless social media 'jobs' down with you.

      1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

        Go to phys.org -- fantastic site full of the latest science news. They have a reasonable and sad header that says it sees you are using an adblocker and why this hurts them.

        I will not unblock even for this great site, so I use it guiltily. I would be happy to pay them, but they've gone 100% ads and so I face a moral dilemma, and don't go to the site as often as I want.

        1. EveryTime Silver badge

          Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

          Feeling guilty?

          I can help what that.

          Ask them what liability they accept when their ad network serves you malware. (You don't actually need to do this... just run through the mental exercise.)

          They will tell you that they have nothing to do with the ads that are served, it really has nothing to do with them, and accept no responsibility let alone liability.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

          Your freeloading will help to bring upon the downfall of sites that you like for their content.

          1. W.O.Frobozz

            Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

            Wow, is it 2004? Funny that old canard about "you don't accept advertising and therefore you are a thief" still gets trotted out.

        3. Error 418

          Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

          When I go to phys.org I see "Did you know? You can become a Phys.org sponsor and enjoy all our sci-tech content without ads! Simply donate any amount and not only will you experience our site ad-free, but you will be part of the Science X community mission to promote science and technology knowledge."

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

        Freetards will be the downfall of an open and informative internet.

        1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
          Flame

          Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

          The internet was generally more open and informative before ads came along.

          With ads in the equation, you get more clickbait headings, salacious articles, stupip gossip, and even lies, just to hike up those ad hits. The actual infromational value of content is secondary.

          Having said that, sure there are some good sites run professionally that need revenue, and I do have sympathy for them - El Reg being one. (I'd actually pay for an El Reg subscription as long as subscriptions *weren't* necessary [ forced subscriptions would stagnate the variety of commentards ])

          But anyway, the adverisers, and many of the sites using them only have themselves to blame, displaying more and more ads, stuffing them with flashing images, and popup windows, and generally behaving obnoxiously - that's what started off the ad-blocking movement.

          Now the ads are generally less annoying, they are instead full of tracking software that tracks far more than is necessary for fair analytics.

          Of course, the reason for cookies to be restricted to the same domain was to avoid this sort of tracking - something the ad companies purposely get around by using a single domain for serving ads everywhere. Isn't that against Americas DCMA? Deliberately circumventing security software.

          Anyway, for all their huff and puff, the browser vendors aren't helping.

          One small change would make all the difference: Only allow cookies to be set in the same domain as the url of the main page) Any cookies from third-party sites (e.g. iframed, or inlined etc. should be ignored.)

          I'd also allow restrictions on js running from any third party site loaded via iframes, and also seperate restrictions on javascript loaded from third party sites by the main pages javascript.

          Don't give me all this "but it's faster for the user if they already have acme-whizzy-bling-thing cached" etc. crap... If the difference is that big, then the thing is too bloated anyway. As it stands, it's a magnet for hackers, and could also be affected by remote site downtime, and accidental code 'upgrades".

          How on earth anyone thinks its good to load third-party modules into their web pages, live from the third-party site is beyond me...

          1. EmilPer.

            Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

            "With ads in the equation, you get more clickbait headings, salacious articles, stupip gossip, and even lies, just to hike up those ad hits. The actual infromational value of content is secondary."

            I was tolerant of adds until now, you managed to persuade me to install add blockers.

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
              Happy

              Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

              :-) Even with all my spelling mistakes!

          2. Marshalltown

            Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

            Personally, I don't mind static ads that simply sit there, and possibly provide a link. But your average adster seems to think they have an actual right to waste your screen space and processor cycles. I suspect the bitterest opponents of adblockers are malware authors.

          3. rnturn

            Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

            > How on earth anyone thinks its good to load third-party modules into their web pages, live from the third-party site is beyond me...

            Ugh! Like the sites that rely on Disqus for their comment section. I find those sites' comment sections take several minutes to load... if they load at all.

        2. W.O.Frobozz

          Re: Your JS can KMMFA.

          USENET just called and said you are full of crap.

  3. Oengus Silver badge

    JS Bloat

    There was one page I accessed recently where I was having issues with the page. I downloaded the page and looked at the source. The payload (data I was interested in on the page and what the page purported to contain) was about 1 Kb. The source for the overall page with all of the scripts (not counting referenced but not in-line "third party" items) was 220 Kb. With bloat like this it is no wonder the pages load slowly.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: JS Bloat

      If you check the scripts run by The Register's article you'll see the following (at least that what NoScript shows):

      …theregister.co.uk

      …admedo.com

      …facebook.net

      …google-analytics.com

      …googletagservices.com

      …outbrain.com

      …regmedia.co.uk

      …twitter.com

      One would like to think that they should take a cue and start cleaning up their own house.

      1. MikeO3

        Re: JS Bloat

        You beat me to it... Clean your own house before complaining about the others bloat.

        1. HelpfulJohn

          Re: JS Bloat

          "... Clean your own house before complaining about the others bloat."

          "Buh... buh... But we need the *MONEY*!"

          The bottom line is, always and forever and forever will be, profit trumps *everything*.

          1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

            Re: JS Bloat

            ElReg is as fast as a super fast thing in web terms. Farceburk has now got to a state where not only does it kill my browser, it kills my PC! Yes, I have to fish out the top of a biro and press the little reset button.

            1. M.V. Lipvig

              Re: JS Bloat

              Farcebook crashing your computer sounds more like a desirable feature than a bug to me.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: JS Bloat

        I've always wondered why, with all the anti talk in el reg, there has to be a facebook script at all.

  4. revenant Bronze badge

    "By making this information available, Hulce hopes to help encourage efficient coding."

    I doubt that the culprits will give a toss. More likely, this information will enlighten more people about what is going on and lead to greater use of script-blocking tools like NoScript.

    I think the only thing that will really cause a change in developer behaviour will be a significant increase in people using such tools to avoid the mess that the developers have created.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: "By making this information available, Hulce hopes to help encourage efficient coding."

      I'm not even sure faster coding will help: some of the delay is bound to be down to the time it takes to auction and source the ad "in real time".

      Basically, the only thing that will encourage media companies to change is if enough people use ad-blockers. The current approach hands all the power to the advertisement brokers to the detriment of the users, but also of the website owners.

    2. ThatOne Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: "By making this information available, Hulce hopes to help encourage efficient coding."

      And to make things worse, those scripts are usually hosted on inadequately slow/cheap servers.

      A few days ago I made a test on a website: With NoScript, page loaded in 2-3 seconds. With Noscript disabled, page loaded in 20 seconds, with lots of messages like "waiting for x script host, waiting for y script host, etc.". That has nothing to do with execution, and no faster JavaScript engine can fix it.

      (After all, my original reason to use an ad blocker back then was to escape the 5-10 seconds delays on each page load because of "waiting for Google Analytics"...)

      .

      As about shaming the ad industry towards better practices - Sure, like they even know what the term "shame" might mean... They're greedy bloodthirsty parasites, and we're the unwilling hosts.

  5. Terje

    One of the more obvious (at least to me) reasons to block ads/scripts is not to minimize the load time, but to avoid the premiere delivery method for tasty new exploits to the masses since the ad slingers don't actually check what they are serving up.

    One news site, not sure which one I happened to stumble across a while ago did have a very nice opt out of tracking advertising cookies etc. dialog pop up when entering, I gave up when I passed the 200 mark and just left. In addition quite a few of the ones they served up could not be disabled from that site, but had to be separately opted out from from separate sites. Given the volume of crap pushed at us it's not surprising that things grind to a crawl.

    1. John Miles

      Load Times

      I started using adblockers back in 2000, the big reason was the slow load times when on dialup where I was living - now with fast access it is the pure self defence both from visual mess and the nasties from web etc.

  6. pavel.petrman

    Easy to fix: Firefox with uMatrix

    Track off you bastards, I say. After trying many many things out as well as their combinations, I've found that the uMatrix add-on is enough to get a decent browsing experience. Its presets are well thought out and easy to change. I get only what I want and need and nothing else (well, one thing, I get to see the oh so very long list of stuff the website seems to want but I don't). It lets you black- and whitelist just about anything (images, scripts, iframes even). If I want to avoid Google a bit more, I'll toss Decentraleyes in.

    Up until now I wouldn't push for FF in particular, as uMatrix worked for Chrome as well, but now Google decided it's their call and not yours about what to load and what not (in other words, it's impossible for add-ons to check your traffic in Chrome anymore) and just about everyone except Firefox uses the Chromium engine (with a custom add-on implementation being damn difficult to nearly impossible) it's just this one browser left which lets you do it.

    Final note worth mentioning: there is a good thing to all this g-suite bloatware, and that is the blazing fast, if memory hogging, V8, which for the first time in history made platform independent programming for the end-user not only possible but viable as well. Java was a good try but the JVM landscape is bad, Qt looks good but C++ doesn't look like the best solution for the developing masses, and today a decent Javascript implementation is shipped on virtually everything with a display and an input interface. Google wanted their data-slurping bloatware invisible to the average Joe, and I must say I quite like the byproduct.

    1. Leigh Brown

      Re: Easy to fix: Firefox with uMatrix

      I second your comment, although I have to say it took me a while to get the hang of uMatrix. However, once you know what you are doing it is amazing.

      With uBlock and uMatrix running in Firefox, my web browsing experience is generally lightning fast.

      1. pavel.petrman

        Re: Easy to fix: Firefox with uMatrix

        Yes, I tend to forget the fact that one does need to get the hang of how websites are built in order to be able to use the u-thing to their full potential. Which fact is not helped by Google behaving like the R. Scott's Alien - first hug your face with youtube and analytics and a fast browser and then bust out of your chest because without ajax.googleapis et al every other webpage can't seem to be able to show you a damn thing (which is what bugs me most, since you can block all other slurpers like Facebook quite easily without functional penalty).

        I grew up at the time when every user had had to understand how a computer works before attempting to use it. Companies like Apple and Google did great work for computers to be usable without understanding them - and those who don't understand make for very good slurping targets, sadly.

  7. SeanEllis
    WTF?

    Count the domains

    Since installing ScriptSafe, it's easy to see how many different domains scripts are loaded from. Most places have between 6 and 10.

    The Independent is a particular bad actor here, with over 30. The highest I have seen is over 50. What's the largest number you've seen?

    1. Cavehomme_ Bronze badge

      Re: Count the domains

      For the Guardian I've had a count of well over a hundred when reading a longer article, it's appalling...as increasingly is some of their "journalism" these days.

    2. 10forcash Bronze badge

      Re: Count the domains

      Not the largest i've seen but one I visit regularly is astronomy.com

      uBlock origin on Firefox ESR reports:

      26 elements blocked, 4 out of 15 domains connected

      addthis.com -

      ajax.googleapis.com -

      d81mfvml8p5ml.cloudfront.net -

      facebook.net -

      fonts.googleapis.com -

      google-analytics.com -

      googletagservices.com -

      gstatic.com -

      kalmbach.com +

      lijit.com -

      mkt932.com -

      pcrl.co -

      quantserve.com -

      scistarter.com +

      Ironically 'lijit.com' doesn't appear to be!

  8. Herby Silver badge

    Every web site should...

    Make its "programmers" load pages using dial-up (57k) speed. If it were a requirement, things might speed up a bit. Every time a web page loads, you get ALL sorts of stuff loaded in, taking up bandwidth as well as memory.

    While I used to use noscript, I don't know, and I might go back to is soon.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Every web site should...

      On a Commodore Vic 20 via a joystick port mounted 300baud acoustic coupler style modem running dialer software designed for the days of BBS' and z-modem protocol!

      1. s151669

        Re: Every web site should...

        Surely you mean xmodem or kermit ?

    2. Fred Daggy

      Re: Every web site should...

      I want every web front end developer to sit in a sealed glass room (one at a time please). Just a computer and a 33 k modem to the internet in the room. Freshly booted but logged in computer with a web browser open. I control the oxygen supply.

      The web jockey types in their URL. At the moment they hit enter, oxygen is completely evacuated and replaced with an inert gas. Oxygen is only released when their page finishes loading ... and does NOT jump around the screen to the slightest scroll or mouse movement. (So called "progressive" pages count as "not loaded" and don't release oxygen until loaded).

      Extra time penalties before oxygen is restored:

      Auto playing video +5m

      Auto playing music or other sound +20m

      Auto playing multimedia requiring flash +1 hour.

      Marketing Managers that request that shit receive double the penalty and are required to sit in the room too.

      All penalties are cumulative.

      Anyone surviving may continue their craft, er cruft, er um craft.

      1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

        Re: Every web site should...

        I am an old skool web developer and it seems every week I have to ask one of my frisky young team "why would we do that?" or "why is doing that better than not doing it?"

        They've been taught to do it and pointless bloat or 'but we always do it' is how you do it, so they do it.

      2. Milo Tsukroff

        Re: Every web site should...

        Even easier solution, no oxygen control needed: Issue each and every developer with a 10-year-old PC with limited RAM and the OS about to lose support. Loading web pages will no longer be a snap, it'll be, like, OMG, it's still LOADING???

      3. M.V. Lipvig
        Boffin

        Re: Every web site should...

        An even better one would be electrodes connected to various sensitive areas. Each 100ms it takes their page to load, 1V is added, at 1 amp. If it takes 10 seconds to load, that's 100V at 1 amp is coursing through their seneitive bits.

    3. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Every web site should...

      In my experience the developers then go to blame the hosting platform and install yet more add-ons to their CMS of choice, instead of doing anything to fix the fact it takes 60 bloody js scripts to load a simple web page >_<

    4. jojobeans

      Re: Every web site should...

      I'd like to point out, as one of these "programmers", that this kind of thing is largely outside of our control.. we are forced to include things like gtm for analytical purposes, which are then abused beyond belief to side load all manner of nonsense, without the actual "programmers" even being aware. Some of us do actually care about load times and are even more upset about this than you are.

      1. 10forcash Bronze badge

        Re: Every web site should...

        'for analytical purposes'

        Just wondering, what does this data include - and why is it useful? - other than the referer, number of hits and how long each visitor is on the page for, what use it? (not to the hyper-slurpers, that's obvious - they want a profile of saleable data for everyone and everything on the planet) I'm aware that 'social standing' can be approximated from location, browser, OS and referer etc. - does it really matter? There's a phrase i'm fond of using when people have them selves in a knot trying to resolve an issue - 'don't try and over-analyse things' and I suspect this is what manglement are doing with the wealth of data being slurped on their behalf. In the end, no-one benefits. (except Google & friends, obviously!).

      2. martinusher Silver badge

        Re: Every web site should...

        >for analytical purposes

        That's a very polite name for 'spyware'!

        We all know that the reason for all this scripting is to track the user, the data is then used to tune the advert ecosystem. The problem up to now has been that browsers don't directly identify users and (I'm starting to have my suspicions about the new Chrome engines) so programmers have to use algorithmic workarounds to simulate the effect of accurate tracking (sometimes with amusing results).

        The fix for the average JS programmer is to learn a real language and get a real job. JS has its place but it must rate as one of the most abused languages ever.

  9. LDS Silver badge

    Why adsneed Javascript?

    I repeat it. Why ads need Javascript? There's really no need unless they are not ads - but user data slurping front-ends.

    Thereby, it's up to the ads industry - stop trying to exploit the user, or you will be blocked. Site owners should start to be aware of that. Otherwise your business model will become non sustainable.

    1. Marshalltown

      Re: Why adsneed Javascript?

      Regardless of whether the ads use JS or not, the page overhead is the offense. The advertisers are using your gear to - theoretically - sell stuff to you. They not only expect the use of your gear for free, but hope you will toss in a tip as well. They could stick to static ads using minimum real estate on the screen, ditch the animations, voice overs and the rest of the television ad wannabe cruft and the number of complaints and contempt directed at the industry would almost vanish. But broadcast TV is dying and the admen want a new home with a minimum learning curve.

  10. trog-oz

    When my employer decided to have a new website, and they decided not to trust it to the IT department, they went to a two man company. The site regularly hangs with a little message "Waiting for fast.fonts.net...." I find this quite funny.

    1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      And presumably...

      ...300+ jQuery

  11. Camilla Smythe

    You are doing it wrong....

    Stupid users should upgrade to 128 core processors with 512GB DDR5 ram and minimum 20TB PCIe SSDs and overclock the lot. Minimum of 10GB/s fibre connection required. Here's another pizza advert. $10.50, $8.50 advertising surcharge, $2.00 to make. Please enjoy your improved browsing experience.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: You are doing it wrong....

      > Minimum of 10GB/s fibre connection required. ... Please enjoy your improved browsing experience.

      Skip Ad in 15 hours...

  12. hugo tyson
    Black Helicopters

    On the cusp...

    I have JS enabled and a blacklist of sites where it's disabled (in $Chrome). The disabled sites are the more or less the newspapers that I read daily. I experimented with globally-disabling JS and having a whitelist instead; it was about the same size so I didn't take that plan further. But it was soooo close, very much on the cusp.

    I wonder how long it'll be before disabled JS is popular enough - or the default on enough browsers - that we'll see nagware like the "you appear to have an Ad Blocker..." saying "Please enable JaveScript to continue..." :-(

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: On the cusp...

      That banner has been around for over 20 years, basically since JS was invented at Netscape, and is already becoming more common again.

    2. ChrisPVille

      Re: On the cusp...

      We're already there. A lot of websites are following in Google's footsteps with their one-page all javascript runs-in-the-browser nonsense. Other than purely cosmetic features and some specialty stuff like WebRTC, javascript and other browser delivered executable code has done nothing except introduce a lot of security vulnerabilities.

      I wonder how much electricity has been wasted worldwide over the last decade because of browser scripts. I bet it's at least in the terajoule range.

  13. adam payne Silver badge

    I understand the need to generate ad revenue but when lots of sites are loading 30+ scripts they have only themselves to blame.

  14. David Gosnell

    Crock of shipt?!

    Not really JavaScript's fault though. Just another length of rope for lazy devs. Can just as easily blame bad application of any of the core web technologies.

  15. Rudolph Hucker the Third

    Google/Doubleclick Ads?

    I have heard of these.

    But I've never seen them.

    Except in the PiHole dashboard.

    As part of all the spam traffic that's been blocked from all devices on the LAN.

    As recommended by several El Reg commentators.

    1. Is It Me

      PiHole at home, but at work I have to rely on the browser add ons

  16. Herring` Silver badge

    Ads on the web

    The ad people don't seem to get it. If you make adverts intrusive and annoying, people will start ad-blocking. Once they start blocking, they won't stop. Running a fucktonne of 3rd party JS counts as intrusive and annoying. Advertisers are the ones who have killed the goose etc.

    If someone could come up with a decent micropayments service for accessing things like news, that might be better. I pay for news sites I use all the time, but I'm not going to subscribe to sites that I look at 5 times a month.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ads on the web

      If someone could come up with a decent micropayments service for accessing things like news, that might be better.

      Well, let's do some numbers. Global digital advertising spend is reckoned to be about $350bn for 2019. There's plenty of competing figures, that'll do for me. Now let's guess how much of the digital ad spending ends up in content producer's pockets - Google's cost of sales is 43%. Let's be incredible and unrealistically generous and assume all of that is to content owners. So there's around $150bn of global ad revenues that support content producers. Now let's assume for simplicity that those costs are paid entirely by around 300m homes in developed nations - again, maths can vary, that's adequate here. That's $500 a year for each developed world internet using household, or about $1.40 a day.

      So there you have it: Ignoring the issue of ad-blockers, that's the value of your privacy AND at the same time the implied value of all currently ad-sponsored free-to-web publications. Obviously we'd need steel-jawed legislation to ensure that "pay to view" customers don't have their data scraped by the unscrupulous and untrustworthy big tech corporations (or their smaller accomplice corporations).

      I'd pay that if it ripped the arse out of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft's data scooping, where do I sign up?

      1. Herring` Silver badge

        Re: Ads on the web

        $1.40 a day sounds OK to me too.

        Maybe, instead of wasting time on the internets while pretending to work, I should set about designing a global micropayments service. I reckon you could preserve privacy too by having the service throw anonymous tokens at the sites providing the content and then bundling up all the payments in one.

        Hmm.

        1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

          Re: Ads on the web

          I'm already pay ukp2 a day for my Interwebs, job done, I've already paid.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Ads on the web

        "Well, let's do some numbers."

        For the advertising industry there's an even more terrifying set of numbers if only the raw data were available. That's the net value to the actual advertisers. The gross value is easy - the marketing department or consultants who sold them the deal can say how much it cost to place the ads, what percentage clicked through, made a purchase and what the value of that was. What they can't really get a handle on is the number of people who might otherwise have made a purchase and were so pissed of by the ads that they went elsewhere and hence they can't get that cost to be added to the cost of their advertising campaign.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Ads on the web

          I think I have a solution which should please users and advertisers. The advertising industry might have to do a bit of adjustment.

          Add a variable that shows the user's current attitude to ads. This variable is used to introduce a weighting into the auction. By default it's zero - the user doesn't care so everything works as at present assuming no adblocker. The user gets all sorts of crap shovelled at him him on behalf of hopeful advertisers. It's a gamble as to whether it does the advertiser any good but the actual probability of that is pretty poor. However if the user sets the value negative it tells the system that the user really doesn't want to see ads and will likely punish any advertiser whose wares get shoved in his face by not buying from them in future. This will weight the auction against showing any ads without actually using an adblocker (precautions need to be taken to avoid gaming the system by arranging for competitors' ads being shown). OTOH if the normally ad-adverse user is looking for something they can set the value positive. At this point the value of showing an ad rises and it becomes worth bidding high.

          Under such a scheme the users benefit - they don't get crap shovelled at them all the time but when they're looking for something to buy they get shown useful ads. The advertisers benefit because they're not getting negative value for a lot of their ads and getting good value for the ads they show. The advertising industry has to rethink the way it works. At present the advertising industry only sells one thing. It sells advertising. Not soap, not new shiny, not widgets, just advertising. It needs to change to selling results. Not just results which look good when you can't see what damage you're doing but actual results and price its services on those, not just on ads foisted on the uninterested and unwilling.

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: Ads on the web

            The problem with that is that advertisers don't give a toss.

            Either they arrogantly think that if they can get you to see an advert - even against your wishes - you'll be persuaded, or they are the sort of third party broker who doesn't care whether the adverts piss you off - they just get paid by the number of impressions.

            What you describe would seemingly be in their best interests, but if you remember when spam-blocking started - it was originally something we did at a user-level not a server/corporation level, yet the spammers still tried to get around it.

            Similarly with TPS - why phone someone who specifically says "NO UNSOLICITED PHONE CALLS"?

            Arrogance and number counting.

    2. james_smith

      Re: Ads on the web

      I subscribe to two websites, since I value their content, but I leave Unlock Origin enabled. They're major newspapers, one in the US and one in the UK, for which I pay about $7 a month in subscription fees. Both sites allow access to non-subscribers, albeit with prominent notices at the top of articles suggesting you subscribe. It would be interesting to know how much revenue this brings in for them.

      1. Herring` Silver badge

        Re: Ads on the web

        I subscribe to one that tells you it doesn't advertise/track if you subscribe. I use a blocker as well though.

  17. Potemkine! Silver badge

    Adblocker and NoScript

    and the web becomes faster!

    Bloody advertisers... there isn't a thing they don't mess with.

  18. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Holmes

    Sites need revenue

    Then offer me an easy way to support them. I keep hearing about micropayments, but nothing has come of that so far.

    Ads I don't load, let alone look at are not going to provide that revenue.

    1. a pressbutton

      Re: Sites need revenue

      popbitch goes on about something called an agate wallet

      I do not have one.

    2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

      Re: Sites need revenue

      Given that Patreon makes it easy for me to support worthy YouTube channels (hi, BazBattles) at £1 a month, the technology is sorted.

      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Re: Sites need revenue

        The way I read it, Patreon is more suited to ongoing fees (enlighten me if that's incorrect), where roughly half the payments I'd be enticed to make would be for accessing some piece of static information once, or maybe a few times over a short period.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Sites need revenue

        "Given that Patreon makes it easy for me to support worthy YouTube channels (hi, BazBattles) at £1 a month, the technology is sorted."

        That's not micropayments. That's a subscription.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Sites need revenue

      "I keep hearing about micropayments, but nothing has come of that so far."

      Micropayments has been the mantra since dial-up days at least. Maybe they've been waiting for blockchain to come along to make it practical? I wonder if it will be like fusion power, always some years in the future? Maybe they need some agile devops guys to look into it and maybe kickstart the process with crowdfunding on...erm...kickstarter?

  19. Ian Emery Silver badge

    To be fair.

    Although this is true for many sites - switching adverts back on is like going back to dial up on some sites - there is another issue that started occurring in the past year.

    TLS handshake.

    Especially when using mobile internet connection.

    I see this on some webpages that hang for 10+ seconds after all the apparent content has loaded, but you cannot DO anything. Even worse, click on a link, and you are stuck waiting for ANOTHER TLS handshake.

    Sometimes this will happen 5-6 times before the websites effected, settle down and let you get on with your life.

  20. Sebastian A

    "I'm convinced that rewarding sites that deliver positive experiences is the path forward,"

    I'm sorry, but I'll never see it. Because I browse with an adblocker. The web may slowly, a bit at a time, improve so everyone has the experience someone with an adblocker already has. The only problem I ever run into is a message that says "Disable your adblocker to access this content" which makes me evaluate "Do I wanna read that page if it has ads?" and invariably, that answer is "Nah."

  21. raygdunn

    Pages plastered with misleading download buttons

    I hope this isn't too far off topic....

    I don't usually use an ad. blocker, but this is what really tempts me.

    A download page surviving on ads and the ads have been tailored to look like the software download button.

    Yes it know it's best to just avoid them, but at times it is not practical.

  22. chivo243 Silver badge
    Happy

    PIHole all the ads

    I have a PIHhole up and running at home. Not on a Pi though, but it is good, really good, ok too good, certain things break, but that is probably my problem, as I've not really looked into tuning it to a happy balance of functionality and blocking the CRAP... Next rainy day!

    1. Symon Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: PIHole all the ads

      You might wanna consider ditching your BT hub or whatever for a box running pfSense. It can do all the PPPoE stuff. Install pfBlockerNG. While you're at it, give Quad9 a look.

  23. Steve Foster
    FAIL

    "Responsive" web design

    Once upon a time, web pages were built with simple HTML and CSS. Which is light on bandwidth, and easy for browsers to render.

    But these days, web developers don't use simple HTML - everything (and I do mean everything) has been reinvented and implemented with JavaScript frameworks.

    An example - I have to submit meter readings for an online energy company. The page used to use a straight-forward HTML form, and I could fill out all the fields and click Submit. A little while ago, the whole site was replaced with one of these damn "responsive" designs, and now that simple form is overloaded with JS that changes it from a single page fill-and-submit into a 3 page fill-one-field and click NEXT time sink. All just to make it look very pretty (probably to serve some ads too, but I don't see those!).

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Re: "Responsive" web design

      ... and of course, further annoying irony - original HTML is "responsive" if written properly. They use JS to get around their tag-soup crappy HTML!

  24. DontFeedTheTrolls
    Facepalm

    Irony not lost on Lighthouse being "available in Chrome, from a command line app, or as Node.js modules"

  25. Groaning Ninny

    Jockashit?

  26. Rich 2

    Wrong answer

    "....has assembled data that clarifies the impact of third-party scripts in the hope it prompts more efficient coding"

    As the problem seems to be with pointless (to the user) advertising and tracking scripts, "making them more efficient" seems the wrong solution. Eliminating them entirely seems far more sensible.

  27. DropBear Silver badge

    Oh really...? So do tell me, does Google still load the invisible little animated thing in the centre of the page every single time - you know, the thing I blocked years ago because it produces a sustained, continuous 50% CPU load on an older machine like mine...? Because I'm basically certain they still do... and after something like that I just don't see them giving any fucks whatsoever to the whole problem.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Get a new CPU

      Just get a 7th gen i7 or a 9th gen i5 then.. Google doesn't give a sh*t about your old ass computer, because the majority upgrade their systems. You should also get new RAM and maybe a new motherboard to support it. Use PCPartPicker if you don't know how, because you can build a part list with compatible parts. Even those who know how computers work (like me) use it as a guide to stay on budget.

  28. N2 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Adverts

    Whats that then?

    Nope, not one, thanks to fecking ginormous hosts file, NoScript, Adblock, etc

    And any site asking me to disable it with 'weve noticed you have an adblocker' can politely fuck off.

    1. bpfh Bronze badge

      Re: Adverts

      You can’t block wildcard sub domains with the hosts file. I ended up using uBlock to finally nail doubleclick and a handful of others ...

  29. FlossyThePig

    What ever happened to ...

    ...the old adage that if the page hadn't loaded within a couple of seconds you would lose the viewer?

    1. Flip
      Unhappy

      Re: What ever happened to ...

      It went to the same place that telephone quality of service metrics have gone since the widespread adoption of cellular communications. Most people just accept poor service, dropped calls, loss-of-signal, etc. as the norm.

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: What ever happened to ...

        ...and "all computers need to be rebooted every few days" after windows in the 90's...

        It won't be long before all traffic at junctions is stopped perioidically for the "traffic light reboot", and power stations.... well... *gulp*

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Not difficult

          Just get a new PC old man, its not difficult. I'd suggest getting more RAM and a new CPU.

  30. myhandler

    How much of this is down to implementations where sites are put together via Node or similar, dependency mountains get bolted in routinely, and stuff gets added because it's simple to add?

    Or does that only really affect the back end?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hulce isn't a fan of this approach. "I don't think ad-blockers are a long-term solution to the web's script problem," he said.

    Oh yeah? Fuck you, buddy.

    1. DeKrow

      I was going to post the same thing.

      "Sites need revenue, and the threat of ad-blockers in some cases actually makes the situation worse for the rest of users by triggering convoluted workaround logic and complex disguising of ads that increase script execution time."

      Hulce has his argument all arse about face in many ways. Assuming a site needs revenue, assuming that ads are a decent source of revenue, assuming javascript is necessary for ads, ignoring the issue of tracking and user-privacy and the well-documented issue of ads having been used as malware vectors (even outside of the tracking and privacy invasion issue).

      Maybe, even as an ex-Google employee, those assumptions just come naturally.

      Not blocking ads on the Internet is like unsafe sex in the 80's.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        80s?

        Get a new CPU, and then you can complain.

  32. Claverhouse Bronze badge

    Moar Power !

    Hulce hopes internet users make the ecosystem better by recognizing good behavior. "I'm convinced that rewarding sites that deliver positive experiences is the path forward," he said. "Let publishers follow the money from there."

    Never understand how the Market worshippers reckon the producers automatically work out where a blockage is that's stopping them making more money.

    They may just as well decide to determine slowly loading pages for consumers need more scripts and heavy images to improve the experience.

  33. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    But

    It doesn't actually rhyme?

    Not if you mean "JavaScript".

    (Unless I just don't know the word that it rhymes with.)

    "Analytics" rhymes with ******.

    "Advertising us" rhymes with ***********.

    "Third-party solution" rhymes with "ablution", but that is literally the opposite of dirty.

  34. Lee D Silver badge

    I close sites that take too long to load.

    A lot of American news sites suffer particularly badly, for instance. The second that tab starts slowing up and affecting the others, I've lost interest in it.

    I mean, I kind of get you using a lot of CPU if you making live dynamic heatmaps, or I've asked to load a page with a thousand products and images on it, or things like that.

    But a simple news story should load as fast as BBC News articles load, whether they have ads or not.

    I feel absolutely no guilt about blocking ads. I have run ad-supported websites myself. You only make a pittance - it's really not a viable income stream for 99% of sites at all - and it annoys everyone.

    And, as far as I'm concerned, loading third-party code from that third-party's URL and blindly executing it for all your visitors is tantamount to a virus, and certainly an easy avenue for someone to compromise your viewer's or your website in some fashion.

    Just today, I went on the TFL site to plan a train journey on a smartphone. Four times I went on, and it worked fine. The fifth time, there was some different ad at the bottom which decided that every time I was going to click on the "Starting station" textbox, it would try to invoke some kind of popup (which Chrome blocked) and thus stop the keyboard appearing. So I literally couldn't type into the box at all after a dozen or so tries. Reloaded. Got the same ad. Same thing. Reloaded a couple of more times, got a different ad, no more popups, and it started working normally again.

    That ad could easily have cost you money, TFL. Or done something even more nefarious.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      "But a simple news story should load as fast as BBC News articles load"

      Those seem to have suddenly slowed down.

  35. OffBeatMammal

    Black ads, pay with BAT?

    I'm curious if folks think that the Basic Attention Token idea (from the folks behind the Brave browser) will take off? - https://basicattentiontoken.org (or if you want to reward me with 'BAT' a referral link - https://brave.com/obm729)

    I'm happy paying what the ad would have generated in most cases rather than actually seeing it...

  36. Ole Juul Silver badge

    regmedia.co.uk

    This is where The Register goes wrong in their web design. I just spent 8 seconds waiting for that. This happens frequently.

    I encourage The Register to fix that problem.

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: regmedia.co.uk

      The Reg. wrote this article with the sole purpose of gettung free consultancy feedback on their websites usability, and you fell for it!

  37. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Not just ads

    I use AdBlock's "element hider" to get rid of obnoxious things like navigation headers/footers that take up a good 20%-25% of the page.

  38. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    How have these idiots skipped Lesson One in user interfaces: when the user does something, show a response ***IMMMEDIATELY*** regardless of whether anything functionally has actually happened. Otherwise the user is going to think: oh, nothing's happened, I must have mispressed, I'll try again... s*** I've just ordered 3 million pencils!

  39. cyclical

    I previously worked for a huge media company that made some 20% of its income through ads, and part of my job was making sure that those ads were forced down peoples throats. As part of the ongoing war between ad-blockers and ad-slingers we had to include an ad-blocker-detection script inline on each page. This was loaded via a proxy then inserted directly into the code of the page. It was initially about 25k on each page - large but not unmanageable. One day they recoded it and suddenly our lead devops started swearing loudly and copiously that the amount of data we were pushing out that morning had quadrupled - almost 500k of inline javascript, and about 600ms more load time.

    A LOT of man-hours went into minimising the impact of ads on load times, but you're tied into contracts with a lot of these advertisers, and if you don't keep up your end of the bargain by including their code where they want, and including their ads exactly where they want then they could and would cut what they paid you. It was a continual balancing act to keep cash flowing in, and trying to minimise the impact of those things on the user experience. At the end of the day we (the developers) were at the mercy of the contracts agreed between our company and the advertising companies, no matter what our opinion was of the negative performance, traffic and privacy implications.

    Incidentally we found that during trials, providing subscription/ad-free models was just about as profitable as the advert stuffing route - but only for certain markets. People in the big cities were far more willing to pay a subscription for content, but the rest of the country expected their stuff for 'free'.

  40. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

    "If the web seems slow, blame third-party advertising and analytics scripts."

    And I hear that bears sh*t in the woods.

  41. OldSoCalCoder

    What's taking so long?

    I'm guessing that 50% of page load time comes from these shit tracking scripts but what hasn't been mentioned is the other half (well, 49%). I propose that the other part of the equation is security, mainly SSL/TLS handshake, authentication cert download, multiple session encryption renegotiations. This depends on the website, but a lot of mainstream websites need good protection. HTTPS is a good thing but it comes at a price.

    As for 'it's your fault, developers' I don't know about that. If you want a quick and dirty website you'll go to Wix or some canned wordpress theme and ya gets what ya get, no tweaking allowed. I got off the phone with a Google Ads rep yesterday after she stepped me through changing my paid ad campaigns. I'm not using tagged advertising but it's pretty easy to see how someone could have a lot of slop code running on their website without knowing it.

  42. JulieM Silver badge

    What about ad-blocking at the ISP level?

    For some time now, I have been wondering about the viability of setting up a premium ISP business with "transparent" ad-blocking, including half-proxying i.e. fetching the file but never actually delivering it to the browser. Basically I think I'd just need a simple Linux server with some customised Bind zonefiles, and some broadband to re-sell.

    I'm sure people would pay extra for no advertisements.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      I think it is harder than that.

      I think that advanced advert-handling will defeat the kind of ad-blocking that you describe, and by "defeat" I mean that if you don't see the ads then you don't see the web page content either. I get that at The Register sometimes, or I used to, not by blocking but I think when I loaded several pages at once and that either means ads arrive too late or it's just Not Allowed. I reload the scolding news page and it usually comes up fine.

      What seems to happen is that JavaScript in the web page detects whether the advert actually arrived in the browser, which is what you proposed to prevent happening. The JavaScript then would prevent the advert-avoiding user from seeing the story on the page.

      Almost the simplest ad block possible is to run a browser without JavaScript or page images included at all, which I did happily for years with the old Opera, on dial up, because I could just press G to turn image display on in a page when I wanted to see graphics.

      Another model uses a proxy server on the PC itself, which just refuses to download adverts from known advert sources. Or, I'm not sure this existed, but it doesn't download advert-sized graphics to the browser, but to read the picture size, the graphic file has to be downloaded to the proxy server - which is your proposition.

      Another Opera product has or is basically a proxy browser; the browser runs in the cloud (not called that at the time, I think) and on your PC or phone (I think the target was phones with low bandwidth) there is something like "remote desktop" so that you see what the browser is displaying. That theoretically could prevent showing adverts to the user although they were present in the browser. But I don't know if it did. It is cheating, after all.

      But - it can be done.

      I think that a browser with a "reading mode" - discarding junk from a web page and showing you the useful stuff - also amounts to doing something like that.

  43. martinusher Silver badge

    Its not just the scripting

    The protocol used to load web pages is a kludge, and a bad one at that. At its root is the practice of carrying out protocol exchanges over a stream protocol, something it inherited from FTP which is maybe tolerable for the occasional file transfer but is utterly unacceptable for general use as its grossly inefficient and none too reliable.

    But then, as I've learned over many years of working with this stuff, programmers just don't seem to care. They just grab resources without thinking of their impact on the system (or the network) and when performance comes up short they witter on about "Moore's Law" and grab yet more resources. Its always the user's fault that you need what would have once been a high performance supercomputer just to open and display a web page.

    The rot isn't confined to web pages. All this bloat has spread to the cloud, its management and to the so-called "Internet of Things" (or, as someone aptly put it, the "Internet of Vulnerabilities"). Its a mess but its one with so much momentum behind it that I have no idea how we are to unwind it. Maybe we should start by redesigning web protocols (I believe that Mr. Berners Lee has suggested this) -- they were a kludge, they're messy, unreliable and insecure and could very easily be cleaned up and made a whole lot more efficient.

    Even the JS fiasco is preventable. Just start with a decent user model, recognize that anything that comes in from 'outside' needs to be sandboxed as its own user with very restricted capabilities. It won't happen, though, because Marketing needs that cross site capability to snoop on the user...so the arms race continues....

  44. Tree

    Use Kill Spinners

    There is an add-on called Kill Spinners which will stop a page from loading after the number of seconds you specify.

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