RUSH: To the phones, Tyler, Dubuque, Iowa. You’re up first. Great to have you on the Rush Limbaugh program. Hi.
CALLER: Hey, Rush, it’s great to talk to you. I’ve called a couple of times. Always a pleasure to talk to one of the greatest talk show hosts in radio history, at least in my opinion.
RUSH: Thank you, sir, very much. Very flattering, and I appreciate that.
CALLER: So I told Snerdley that I was gonna talk to you about the iPad and their ad blockers, but it seems like that was a little bit of a snippet that you were using to talk about Ben Carson and Donald Trump’s treatment in the media —
RUSH: No, no, no, I took your call because you want to talk about the ad blockers.
CALLER: Okay, well, yeah, I wanted to say that I think in the end the consumer is what’s gonna win out here. It’s already happened on desktops, and I think that eventually that the customer or companies are either gonna have to adapt or they’re gonna go out of business, just like Blockbuster did. I mean, Blockbuster tried to compete with Netflix, and there’s not too many Blockbusters around left. So I think what’s gonna happen is they’re either gonna have to find a way to make the ads in such a way that consumers will —
RUSH: See, that’s the thing. Some of my little tech blogger buddies — they don’t know that they’re my buddies. I just call them that. They probably would be really offended if they thought that I was really their buddy. I just call them that. But they work in this business, and some of them will even admit to you that they’re culpable in this, that they’ve allowed their websites to just get overpopulated with garbage.
But, folks, look, on an iPhone, particularly a smartphone, when you have a website that takes 45 seconds to load everything, I mean, things you don’t even see being loaded, the trackers you don’t see. You see the video player being loaded, you see the ads being loaded, but there’s much, much more. All the trackers and the analytics from Google that are being loaded on these websites, you never see it, but it’s why your bar never finishes for 45 seconds. You can read what’s on the website maybe within 20 seconds, but your battery is churning for that full minute while all this stuff is loaded. And sometimes the content doesn’t load fully until all these things do.
And then you’re shown how you can have every website you visit load in 10 seconds? What are you gonna do? So the genie is out of the bottle. One of the problems is that tech bloggers are not fully into capitalism, even though they practice it. They’re obligated to condemn it, speak out against it. And the way that manifests itself is they are now ripping Apple, because Apple created the possibility of the content blockers in iOS 9 and at the same time Apple has set up its own news app, and they’re making deals with news providers. They can put everything on their website, their news stories and Apple’s news app and sell all the adds they want, Apple gets a take, and there are no blockers. (interruption) Yeah, well, you could white list the sites you like, but that’s not gonna solve the problem.
White listing is not gonna solve the problem. The genie’s out of the bottle. So what’s gonna happen, this guy is exactly right, the consumer is gonna determine what happens here, and the advertisers, Madison Avenue is not just gonna sit there and say, “Oops, we have been snookered.” What’s gonna happen is there are gonna be all kinds of creativity. We’ve already led the way here in radio years ago on this. We are truly the trailblazers. What’s gonna happen next online is advertising is not gonna look like advertising. And it’s not gonna have pictures. It’s gonna present to you as a news story.
Creative writers are gonna write stories about a product or that you’re gonna think is a review or maybe somebody really recommending, when in fact it’s gonna be an ad. And it can’t be blocked because traditional blockers haven’t yet been written to block that kind. Or they’ll come up with some way of disguising what looks like content as an ad, in order to get past the blockers. I mean, too many people are depending on this revenue, too many websites. And not all of them are like us. You know, we can charge. We have rabid fan base that pays for our content here because I’m special. But most websites cannot get people to pay for their content. That’s why they have to sell advertising. We do both. That’s because we’re good.
RUSH: No, no, that’s a good point. It’s not just on Wi-Fi. It’s also on cellular that your websites can load in five seconds or less, even on cellular. So you save data, charges save battery. A lot of battery and data charge. But there are a couple of other things about this that I probably should pass along to you.
RUSH: Just two other observations about the new content blockers that Apple has made available on iOS 9. They are for the web browser Safari only. They do not work on Google’s browser, Chrome. Strictly Safari. But two things about this. It really may be the primary reason Apple is doing this. And there are perhaps three major reasons. But I would have to say the top reason that Apple is doing this, and this is my wild guess based on things that I’ve studied and read.
Steve Jobs, before he died, declared back in the days when Apple only — I say only. Their cash reserve was $40 billion. Now they’re over $200 billion. Back when they had $40 billion — and it was still more than anybody else had — Jobs said he would spend all of it to destroy Google. He said he was ready for thermonuclear war. The reason was Android, he believed, was stolen from iOS. Eric Schmidt used to be on the Apple board. He was on the Apple board when the iPhone first came out in 2007. If you look at Google’s Android phones around then they were clunkers. They had keyboards, hard button keyboards on them. They were nothing like what the iPhone is or any other smartphone today.
Shortly after that Google announces they’re totally redoing their phones and Android phones begin to look just like iPhones, as Samsung’s did, and Jobs was not mad at Samsung — well he was, but the focus of his anger was Google. Well, Google’s primary source of revenue is advertising sales all over the Internet. And the best way, the fastest way to launch an attack on Google is content blockers, ad blockers on Apple because the percentage of iOS users in the developed world, with customers that spend money, is an overwhelming percentage using Apple’s iOS. So if Google sees a severe decline in revenue from iOS devices, iPhones, iPads, and all that, it would be a huge chunk out of their revenue stream. I think that’s among whatever other reasons there are for this, that’s one of the big ones.
But there’s another thing to consider here, too. We talk about the conservative media, folks, and a large part of the conservative media is online. There are blogs and there are conservative websites. And of course the vast majority of those are advertiser supported. I don’t know how many conservative websites have pay walls. I don’t know how many conservative websites actually charge for subscriptions in order to access content. If there are some, it isn’t very many. They’re all advertiser supported.
However, the left has their websites, too. I mean, every major network website is a Democrat Party website, for all intents and purposes, plus CNN, and they have most favored nation status with advertising agencies and ad buys. CNN with no audience still sells out. Even if it may just be for $5,000 a spot, they still sell out because little activist media buyers make sure that some money goes to CNN to keep them afloat. That kind of decision doesn’t help, say, Fox News or other conservative outlets.
The point being that if a lot of conservative websites are harmed by virtue of the ad blockers, it could be the end of some of them, because they’re otherwise not independently supported. Maybe some get donors, I’m sure some of them have benefactors and so forth. But the point is, liberal or Democrat websites, if you go look at the ’em, you’ll see the Democrat Party is a regular sponsor. You won’t find the Republican Party is a regular sponsor on a whole lot of conservative sites. The Democrat Party is a built-in sponsor.
The Drive-By Media websites will survive whether there are content blockers or not. The game is rigged on their behalf. They’ll find a way. But it might be tougher for these conservative websites and blog sites to survive. And what you’re already seeing is the sites are acknowledging the existence of the blockers now and asking users to white list them. Now, what that means is, in each one of these blockers — well, not all, but most of the blockers that you would download and buy, if you go into the settings, you’ll find a way to white list various websites, meaning no blocking, and every ad and every tracker that’s on that site will come to you. If you want that site supported by your clicks, then you can white list it.
But that’s asking for an act of loyalty and customer behavior that is not common. Customers patronize ads on websites, and that’s the statement. But then to go further, they opt to get a series of blockers on their phone and then decide they have to go white list various sites. I mean, some users will do it, very loyal ones, but how many have ever even heard what white listing is?
So it does have a potential. It’s gonna hurt a lot of websites who can’t find ways of adapting. By the way, that’s what life is, folks. Life is ever-changing. I don’t care if it’s sports, politics, entertainment, all of life, the human condition is about adapting. Those who do prosper. Those who can’t or don’t, have problems. It’s also the story of animals and their kingdom and so forth, they have to adapt. We have to adapt to various things. Others do. If you don’t have the ability to adapt, rather than stay locked into something while change passes you by, you’re running a much greater risk of becoming obsolete.
So once these things happen and the so-called genie is out of the bottle, it’s up to the business interests involved here to adapt. The content blocker thing, I don’t know how it’s ever gonna get put back in the bottle. I can see down the road where some member of Congress at some point might speak out against them and members of, say, Apple’s board of directors or the executive team is called up to explain this. Congress can do anything they want, and I just don’t see a successful effort to eliminate blockers via statutory law. But stranger things have happened. Depends on the powers that be and how much money they want to give to a politician or two to effect something like this.
But it is just in its infancy now, just starting out. It’s like anything else, if you listen to this program you’ll be on the cutting edge. You’ll know of mainstream events long before they become mainstream, and this is one of them. Keep a sharp eye ’cause this is rattling a lot of chains. It’s dealing with a lot of people’s livelihoods, their income streams. And this is a direct assault on the income streams of a lot of people. Internet service providers and website operators are kind of operating at a — I don’t know if you call it a disadvantage or not, but the Internet, from its earliest days, content was free. And it became expected that everything on the Internet is free, including streamed video, music, textual content, whatever it is, it’s supposed to be free. It’s always been free.
And people that come along and start charging for it have had beaucoup problems if they have not had vast, great popularity, if their content has not been special. Like the New York Times has not figured out how to do it yet. The New York Times, I don’t know how many times they’ve tried their pay wall, they’ve tried “You get 10 articles free every month and then starting with article 11 you must start paying.” They’ve tried every which way they can. But for how many years was the New York Times, every word in it and more, el freebo on the World Wide Web? And look what’s happening to the print version of all of these papers and all of these magazines? They can’t sell advertising in them. Their circulation is down. The number of pages are down. The number of readers is down. Advertising revenue is down.
The Internet was looked at as a way to counterbalance that, either with subscription pay walls or with advertising sales, but they had created such expectations of free in terms of content on the Internet that when they started trying to charge for it, it backfired on even the biggest providers, such as the New York Times. I mean, the Wall Street Journal gets away with it, their content is somewhat special and related to finance in and of itself. But you don’t need to pay to find out what’s in the New York Times, because it’s everywhere in the Drive-By Media. You don’t need to pay to see what’s in the Washington Post. And you don’t need to pay to see what’s in the LA Times, because it’s gonna be found everywhere else.
So they’ve got big problems. Content blockers coming along and attacking the only revenue source they’ve really been able to depend on is gonna cause major upheavals. And as I say, the way it’s gonna manifest itself is these advertisers and their agencies are gonna try to come up with new ways to have their advertising presented to you, disguised as news stories or, who knows, contests, promotions, you name it. But whoever comes up with the most creative way of getting around the blockers is gonna get rich. It’s the way it always happens in America, while America’s still America, so act fast.
RUSH: One more, before we get back to the phones here very quickly. One more observation about these content blockers. It’s not just on the smartphone or the iPad. Desktop computers. I gotta be honest with you, and I’m this close to naming them. There are some websites that I used to use religiously in prepping this program that I no longer use because there’s so much garbage and clutter that you can’t find the content. And when you do find the content — these are news sites — when you find the content, it’s not formattable. You can’t find a way to print it. I can’t. So for my purposes there is so much clutter — and I’m not talking about the unseen things like trackers and the analytics that help websites analyze who’s using them and so forth, I’m just talking about the ads.
There’s so much clutter that it makes these sites impossible to use anymore for show prep. So they don’t get mentioned by me anymore because I don’t use them. It has become a problem. You can’t find one entity to blame here. It really is a chicken-or-egg question. But I think the ad blockers, you give the consumer a chance to buy ’em, they’re the number one app downloaded on the App Store right now. People are craving them because it’s just gotten out of hand.
So chicken or egg, whichever, but the point is it’s gone way overboard here to the point that it’s counterproductive for advertisers. These websites, these, too, I don’t even try to load anymore, and I have gigabit Internet. I have fiber here, I’ve got fiber speed, and I’m just not gonna put up with it. And the end result after the load, after the page load, it’s unusable on some of these sites. And to try to just focus only on the content to cut and paste, you can’t even do that the way the sites built. So it’s useless to me for my purposes, fine and dandy. It’s just that those sites don’t get referenced here and I don’t patronize them so whatever clicks they might get don’t happen with me. I’m not saying I’m any big deal in that regard. I’m saying that this stuff has happened and when the consumer has a response to it and has the ability to react to it, the consumer will.
You can blame Apple all you want, but ad blocking software for desktop browsers has been around for years. It’s only on your mobile devices that it’s new, and it’s much more prevalent there because websites on mobile devices load much slower anyway. Processors are not as fast, and mobile speeds generally are not as fast as Wi-Fi speeds, although that’s changing. But when you put a blocker, you’d be stunned at how fast just the content of a Web page will load. You’ll be stunned, as in the difference in 45 seconds and 10 seconds.