Lately I’ve been irritated by the Internets. And by blogs, although I’m someone who still reads them, someone who still writes them, and still thinks the longer form is useful.
All is not well in Blogland, and like the song from Music Man where he sings about Trouble and it means the new billiard table in town, our trouble is the concept of “monetize.” It can be lucrative to place ads on blogs, and I have no problem if a blogger wants to make some cash. Money is always good, and hey, it’s their blog.
But I do get irritated when some of the ads have positively gotten out of hand, so much so that ads pop up on top of pictures, intrude on the blogger’s writing, and blink and pop across content. Some of the ads are disgusting (see below for examples), with that creepy crawly worms thing the worst. Because of this, I had stopped reading some blogs, but in the end, I liked the quilter and what they did, so had to find new ways to read.
Using a Reader to read blogs
So I started by using a reader. I subscribe directly to some blogs, and their post notifications come directly into my emailbox. But I don’t want all my blogs to come there. A reader will gather all your reading into one list, and can categorize the blogs (I read both ways). One well-known reader in quiltland is Bloglovin’ but I have moved over to Feedly.com.
I used to use Bloglovin’ a lot, but I found it frustrating at how many clicks I had to use to get the blog to leave a comment (I love a good conversation). And then I started noticing this:
They won’t send you to the blog, they send you somewhere in their universe, which as a blog writer, is not helpful news. It means a reader might might never actually visit a blog, to see the layout, the way the blogger has designed their space. Some writers believe that Bloglovin’ has taken content (without permission) for their in-house blog, broadcasting it on their website. The blogger-who-wrote-it will not see any of these comments. Yes, this has happened to me, and frankly, it’s kind of weird, like somebody stole my content. They will link back to me, but it’s after the fact, so that if I’m not on top of it backstage, I will never know it happened.
So I said, I’m done, and left them for Feedly.
I never log in with Facebook, instead setting up an account using my email.
This is what I see when my Feedly page pops up, with the category Fabrics/Quilting highlighted. I chose the magazine view, but you could also choose a list view. It allows me to read the first few lines of any blog post, and then decide if I want to expand it. I find I am actually reading more of my colleagues’ posts this way, as I also don’t lose them in the deluge of emails.
The blogs I added (see the very bottom left: +ADD CONTENT to add the blogs you want), I arranged by categories. The numbers show the unread blogs.
Here’s Afton’s Quilting Mod, as an example. I clicked on it from my list and the full blog shows up. I scroll through and read it, then decide I want to leave a comment.
At the bottom of the page, I click on VISIT WEBSITE, and I’m sent to her blog in a new window in a new tab (although this preference can be changed). Notice the address that shows up in the lower left — I’m referred directly to Afton’s blog to leave a comment, a real plus.
Using the Reader View in your browser to make posts easier to read.
Sometimes I’m not in my Feedly, and have clicked on one of my ad-filled blogs. So I use the Reader View. Safari has always had this, and now Firefox has it too. First, Safari.
There is an icon of stacked documentson the left in the address bar.
Click on this, and you’ll be taken to the above view (compare them). All you are getting is the writer’s content, plus their photos. All animations, ads, colors, and videos are removed (although you will see placeholders for them). Click on the stack icon to go back to their website.
I just downloaded the newest version of Firefox. Above is the webpage without the Reader View.
The webpage with Reader View. Click on the little grey page icon on the right of the address bar to be taken to their Reader View.
See also those little greyed icons at the upper left? Those are also new. I’m quite interested in the third one, the soundwave icon. My mother is mostly blind, and now I can now have my Dad set up the webpage for her in Reader View and it will read it to her. Hooray for easy accessibility for webpages!
Ads placed to drive the blog writers to pay. It worked!
I’d developed an alphabet of improv letters when I ran the Spelling Bee blog some time ago.
Knowing that if I put them down somewhere in my Sewing Room, they would disappear, I documented how I made them and put them up on a blog. For a while, WordPress and I had a bargain: they could put up an ad on the bottom of my post, and I’d keep using their stuff for free (I had converted this blog over to a paid blog some years earlier).
Then I started seeing this:
The dreaded creepy crawly ads I hated were now in between my text, obliterating the the instructions for my wonky and fun letters and words (see the one in the box in the upper left). I didn’t want to pay a yearly fee to have them keep the ads out (and I suspect — just a little — that some of the more obnoxious ads were designed to encourage me to pay), so I did the next best thing: I moved the entire blog.
It’s now back in Google’s arms at: https://quiltabecedary.blogspot.com. I have links from this blog, above, so you don’t have to remember the address. But if you ever need some wonky improv letters and words, don’t forget that it’s there.
White I spend a lot of time on Instagram, I still think that there is a place in our lives for blogs: it’s where we put up tutorials, we comment on the state of the world, we have space to write about quilts and things that interest us (by the way, congratulations if you made it this far). I don’t want to see blogs go away, so I hope this post will make your reading easier.
NOTE: If you want to start making your own Feedly list, I’ve put just about all the blogs I read way below, in the footer, but like anything, it’s a work in progress and subject to change. I update it about every quarter.
22 thoughts on “Irritated by the Internet”
All very interesting Elizabeth. I used Bloglovin and Feedly for a short time when the panic about Blogger changing its reader view happened a few years ago, but didn’t like them. As my blog is still hosted by Blogger I still use their reading list very successfully. I still don’t know what the panic was about? Those blogs that don’t use Blogger I subscribe to via email, like yours! The advertisements drive me batty and I even gave up following those bloggers whose blogs were littered with them. I also find it interesting to see you use Safari and Firefox. I moved over to Chrome, mainly because our workplace advised us to. Do you know how they are different or better? You certainly have a good idea of reading and commenting on blogs! I don’t think I could remember my bloglovin or feedly passwords anyway…..! 😆
I totally agree.
I’m heading off to find Feedly
Yikes, I never imagined that all this could get so complicated. Thanks for trying to explain this too me!
Ugh, that vegetable ad drives me CRAZY. I’m also not sure bloggers know how their blogs appear. A columnist I follow posts her new columns on Facebook. They are almost unreadable and sometimes I’m not inclined to reopen in safari, mostly because I am so annoyed ! Thinking about blogging. I feel like it might help me keep track of some things and be a motivator!
I’ve used Feedly since Google shut down Google Reader. I’m quite happy with it.
I’ve also used Feedly for a long time, and decided to pay for Feedly Pro, because I want to keep them in business. And I use an ad blocker, but do turn it off for quite a few sites.
I use Bloglovin’ and I haven’t noticed this, but it is troubling. I have heard someone else complain about something similar and hope it is not coming to my computer anytime soon. I see a short blurb about a blog post, and when I click on it, it takes me directly to that blog, where I can see it set up the way the blogger has set it up. I use an ad blocker which reduces, but does not eliminate the popups and advertising. I wonder if it has to do with some settings. I do hope my own blog isn’t hidden like this.
Thank you for complaining as a blogger about these incessant ads. Now I’m getting little videos popping up that you can’t immediately get rid of. I hate them! I understand some bloggers state they have to have ads to pay for their time. How much money does one get per ad? I don’t mind reading sponsors at the end or beginning but most ads have nothing I care about..We really need to get a handle on too many ads. Again thanks for bringing it up.
Man, I used to use Blogspot years ago, then moved to WordPress based on a few other quilter’s recommendations. I can’t say that I am happier, as there are many things that I cannot do with the free version. I am wondering if I need to see what changes have been made on the Google Blogspot accounts since my departure flight. This was a great post. Thank you for writing it.
Very interesting. I’ve never used bloglovin’ or feedly. And ads drive me nuts
I have been using an iPad vs computer for 7-8 years. Feedly is a great app. I love that my email is not loaded with the 100s of messages- I love lots of blogs! It’s very frustrating to try to read between the ads. Thanks for sharing.
I made it to the bottom! Information was very well presented and organized. This is all greek to me. I use Chrome with an Ad Blocker and that seems to work okay. New ideas to try now. Thank you for the homework. 🙂
Very interesting read. I wish I was more knowledgeable about all of this computer stuff as I am sure my woes in blogging would be simple fixes for those with the needed skills. I am really getting tired of the ads on blogs. They seem to take so long to load and often block what I’m there to view. I have stopped following many of those. Time is too valuable.
Yes, I paid to make my blog ad-free. I use WordPress, and it didn’t cost much. I do have trouble leaving comments on posts hosted by some other platforms.
You should try an ad blocker (uBlock Origin is the best one). I haven’t seen an ad in years, even on the very spammiest of sites.
uggg . . . I feel your pain with the ads. It’s one reason I rarely use the internet on my phone for blogs or websites. The ads are just too annoying!!! There are a few blogs I would like to read but just don’t bother with because of the ads. I use an ad blocker but that doesn’t help much with some sites. As for the Bloglovin thing, I’m too overwhelmed to figure it out and change anything right now. Don’t know about the content thing you mention. I have been frustrated with not being able to pin from Bloglovin. My computer is older and the browsers can’t be updated any longer so I’m sure that creates at least half my problem. But getting a new one just adds another level of frustration too. I want things to work but lack the tech knowledge and motivation to make them work. It’s all enough to chuck it altogether. I would definitely get more quilting done. Someday I may motivate to research more about Feedly and will refer to this but for now I’d rather sew. Thanks for the info. Hang in there. : )
Thank you for the information. I learn from your research. I wouldn’t have known where to start with ads in blogs. I just figured they are there and I have to deal with them.I should look at my blog from some other computer and see how it looks. I will admit I am so overwhelmed by all the ins and outs of computers and the internet now, I just want to leave it all! I have so many emails on a daily basis it depresses me to think I have to search to find the ones I really want and it is so time consuming to go to unsubscribe to get rid of the rest (they just come back in a few months anyway). How did I subscribe in the first place?
The comments from others to this post have been have given me some insight to useful tools and the frustration of others.
If I find time to look into Feedly, I might try it. Thank you for the post.
Thank you so much for this post! I have spent a LOT of time in bed the last couple of years (two surgeries on my neck and just found out that I didn’t heal). Therefore, I spend entirely too much time on my laptop. I read a lot of blogs! (no Instagram for me either) Two of my favorite blogs which use ads drop the blog when the ads start popping in…it’s there and then the screen is blank. Not sure if others know what I’m talking about, but it is annoying! I now have to go directly to these two blogs and not through Bloglovin’ to not have the problem. I will definitely try to switch over to Feedly! I’m pretty computer illiterate but I will sure try–that’s why it’s so nice of you to write this post. Is there a way you can make this post into a pdf? I would love to download it! Thanks again for your help!
Interesting post. I do still appreciate the longer form of blogs, for sure. I don’t really see a lot of ads. My bigger problem with blogs is that sometimes I spend way more time on blogs, than on my quilting (!). I dropped out of Bloglovin too, but have simply gone back to the routine of using Blogger’s reading list. I stick with Chrome. Something about Safari didn’t work for me and someone at Apple told me to stick with Chrome, if I’m using Blogger. My only glitch is that when I comment on a WordPress blog such as yours, I have to quickly log in to my wordpress account (which I guess I set up for the express purpose of making comments? Must have been a long time ago, I don’t remember, ha ha). On another note…. cute improv alphabet!
I like Feedly and haven’t had any problems with it. I don’t know what I will do it if goes kaput!
I’ve used feedly for a while. I like it. There are a lot of blogs that I stopped reading not just because of ads, but because I felt they were always trying to sell me something. I understand trying to carve out a space in the quilty world, but if that’s all you’re going to talk about is your book/fabric/ whatever, no thank you.