Ads are coming to the website
Duolingo staff has recently announced that the website code rewrite is about to be launched to all users. For the past month, all new users have had the updated website. I created a new account and took a look. it looks really nice, is faster, and wait... what is that?
Yes, an ad. They have arrived at last. Happily, it is small and unobtrusive. I hope Duolingo keeps them this way, and maybe works them into our learning by having the ads be in our target language. But for a big change like this, I think the transition will be fine.
Honestly, as long as the ads don't take the form of unmuted videos that automatically play, I have no problem with this! (Seriously, those types of ads are beyond frustrating - take note, Duo!) Normal ads are hardly an inconvenience if they help to keep the website up and running with no mandatory fees. :)
Actually I would prefer a big X button especially when I'm using a mobile device. Sometimes it is almost impossible to hit the X without triggering the ad and most of the time I don't have time to look at the ad right then anyway. The Android app is especially bad right now, they used to have a nice green button at the bottom of the screen that was real easy to hit, and now they have a very tiny x at the far top left of the screen and usually I have to make several tries before I finally manage to close the ad. It's such a simple thing, what was wrong with the bigger button?
Given that Duolingo is using an exteral ad providers, you'll only see ads that were designed for your region, and they will be in languages that are spoken in your region. So English and Spanish in the US, English and French in Canada, multiple languages in the EU (if the ad is applicable for multiple countries) and so on. You said you're getting Spanish ads, but since you're from the US, I bet you don't get much German or French ads. It's just that the ad networks simply started thinking that you are of Latin American descent and you're getting similar ads your neighbour Juan usually gets.
I don't mind if they add ads as long as they don't get in the way of functionality.
I will also add, though, that I would willingly sit and watch minute-long video ads if they were in my target language. I can say from experience that I actively listen and remain engaged when watching German commercials in order to improve listening skills rather than tuning them out the way I do for English adverts.
Thanks for pointing that icon out. Now I know what to look for in the future.
Google might be better than some, but I don't trust them all that much. If Duolingo doesn't host (and take responsibility for) the ads, they're not getting unblocked. Sorry. I've cleaned malware off enough computers, some of which came through infected ad servers I'm fairly certain, that I don't feel like doing that again. You don't even have to click on the ads to become infected, just view them, as readers of Forbes discovered last year: https://www.extremetech.com/internet/220696-forbes-forces-readers-to-turn-off-ad-blockers-promptly-serves-malware
I fully respect people's freedom to nondisruptively access the internet using any browser with any addons. People should have total freedom in which remote computers they communicate with and how they interpret the data sent from those computers. It's especially important when it comes to users' security against the very real dangers of online advertising and users' finances when it comes to their limited data plans.
That being said, I'll give Duolingo and Google a bit of benefit of a doubt, since I consider Google to be a low-risk ad provider, and I won't enable any ad blocker on Duolingo, at least for now. But I fully understand people who do not want to let Google track their duolingoing habits while serving shiny pictures luring them to buy stuff.
Everyone I know who owns a computer uses an ad blocker, at least you can whitelist websites.