MDN Ads are actually really nice

Embedded advertisements get a bad rap. They have gotten more and more intrusive in recent years and I think its safe to say that most of us are either using Ad block explicitly or have developed some sort of subconsious filtering of their existance. Let's not even comment on the fact that most advertisements are a privacy nightmare, being targetted at you via mountains of collected data that you never explicitly consented to providing.

Imagine my surprise today then, when I was browsing MDN and saw a little advert on the side of the documentation. For one thing, I saw this advert and wasn't annoyed at all. It was unintrusive, simple, and the only advert on the entire page. I had noticed the ad imediately but because it didn't actively distract from the page's content I was actually happy I had noticed it. MDN has been one of the best free resources for developers for a really long time and I wondered, in a slightly concerned way, if MDN had been forced to make this change and if this ad was targetted or if this was a generic ad generally aimed at their very well defined audience.

The advert I saw for gitlab
The advert I saw for gitlab

Thankfully, you can get more information on their ads by clicking the little "Mozilla ads" link at the bottom of the block. This took me to a page which clearly stated that these ads were "Privacy-First"; No tracking pixels, that the ads were context based and don't involve data sharing. All good things. The whole affair feels very clasically Mozilla.

Mozillas privacy claim
Mozillas privacy claim

I've had many discussions over the years about the fact that we can't take MDN for granted as a resource. The number of DevRels that are likely working, to keep web api documentation up to date, at any one time is almost certainly costing them a lot. Not to mention the cost of hosting and bandwidth. I'm not suprised they've moved to monatise the service but I am glad that they've done so in such a user friendly way.

Going forward, my hope is that MDN can continue to be funded by maintaining this strategy. CPM on static advertisements has never been particularly high, but if it works and we can continue to use MDN for free going forward then I think it's a very small price to pay as a user.

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