Must-read: Internet advertising is a company town by Trevor Jim

Big tech companies suck you into their ecosystem, they build their own company town, you work for them.

17 June 2020 Updated 17 June 2020
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When searching for something on the internet you sometimes bump into an article that perfectly describes what you are already telling friends, colleagues for many years. Whether you are a publisher, a software developer, an advertising company, this Trevor Jim's article is a must-read. Here are the first lines:

Internet advertising is a company town

February 28, 2017

If you’ve watched a lot of Hollywood westerns, you’ve probably seen a company town. It could be a town built by a mining company next to its mine: the company owns the land, the houses, the general store, the school, the saloon, the church. The company pays the miners to work the mine, but the miners pay the company to live in the town. Sometimes the miners get payed in 'scrip', which can only be spent in the town. This could be a benevolent arrangement, but the company has the power to take all of the profits if it wants to, and, at least in the movies, often did.

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Internet advertising is a company town

No Apple apps development

In 2010 I bought an iMac mini. At that time I thought it could be a good idea to start developing apps for the iPhone. I made a start but in 2011 I thought: how can you be so stupid. I do not want to support the Apple ecosystem. If other people do this, let them do it. I will not. Not only Apple uses me to develop apps for them, they also take some 30% of the price of my app. Later, fortunately my iMac mini appeared useful for something else, video editing (useless for rendering though). When the projects were finished I sold my iMac mini for a nice price.

No Android apps development

It is tempting to develop apps for Android. After all, Android is open source. I bought the Ubuntu Aquarius Bq4.5 when it was released. Finally an OS that did not spy on you. On a holiday to the UK I lost my phone. I bought a OnePlus 3T and installed LineageOS on it.

LineageOS is a great initiative. Wonderful people porting open source Android to all kinds of phones. Also LineageOS tries to make your phone really secure. But there is a problem. Google, the developer of Android, is trying very hard to get your data. Watch out for DNS entries like and When you search a contact, Android by default does not only search your phone but also the internet. You must take action to switch this is off. This means that LineageOS may be very secure but it certainly is not protecting your privacy.

Even if the developers of LineageOS would want to release more privacy friendly software, they cannot because Google is updating Android every year and every release has new privacy related issues. You can develop privacy aware apps for Android and add them to the F-Droid app-store. But again, what is the use of this when the OS sucks. Do you really want to support this ecosystem?

Memory-safe programming languages

Of course Trevor Jim is totally right about the C and C++ nightmare. That it is not possible to build memory-safe programs with these languages. But I believe there is more to a language. It is also about a programmer attitude. If you are talking about programming languages nightmares then I can mention a lot.


Big US tech companies suck you into their ecosystem, they build their company town, you work for them. Think of all the advertising money, developer money flowing from you, your company, your country to US companies like Google, Facebook, Apple. There is an alternative but it will take a huge effort and time. But one day you must do it.

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Internet advertising is a company town

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