Unwired

Mar 14, 2016 · By Darren Mothersele

Thoughts

In a bold move, Wired have removed themselves from the open web.

I enjoy buying the printed version of Wired magazine. Packed full of glossy adverts, I assumed this supported the online version. It seems that is not the case.

I understand why Wired are doing this. With a more tech savvy audience, I guess they are suffering more from the rise of adblocking than others. Reports have claimed publishers earn less from advertising than users pay in bandwidth charges. Using an adblocker is now a necessity. It saves money, and improves the experience and performance of the open web. I’m sure Wired have taken this all into account. It is clear we need new a new model, and it’s brave of Wired to push this on us.

The open web is the platform we are all building together. Our competition are the walled-garden silos. We are building a free and open ecosystem. Our competition are the closed monoliths with a single gatekeeper. The variety of experience across the open web can be our strength, but also our weakness. Our competition has tight control over user experience and strives to remove all friction. They may disrespect and exploit users in many ways, but they do respect user experience.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t just remove Wired from the open web. This is a blow to everyone building the open web. It degrades the experience for our users. It contributes to the ruining of the open web, pushing users to centralised silos.

I hit this barrier when following a link to an article on Wired from the open web. Wired refused access. Unexpected blockages like this create a bad experience for our (the open web’s) users. By degrading the experience on the open web we push people to centralised silos.

How are we going to deal with this on the open web? Do we need some way to mark up links that lead away from the open web?

Can we make it clear when links go off to centralised silos? Can we markup links to paywalls, adblock-blockers, or with otherwise unexpected behaviour?

Can we (the open web) innovate a way to remunerate publishers? Can we do this without blocking, creating friction, or otherwise ruining user experience?

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Darren Mothersele

Darren is a software developer who builds simple, creative, and independent technology. Read more »