In Why Web Pages Suck Ben Thompson takes off on John Gruber’s complaint about fat slow websites, and basically argues that publishers don’t have a choice, and in effect, neither do advertisers. Ad exchanges and programmatic advertising work well enough (I know, except when they don’t) that advertisers can’t ignore them.

Advertisers’ strong preference for programmatic advertising is why it’s so problematic to only discuss publishers and users when it comes to the state of ad-supported web pages: if advertisers are only spending money — and a lot of it — on programmatic advertising, then it follows that the only way for publishers to make money is to use programmatic advertising.

… the price of efficiency for advertisers’ is the user experience of the reader. The problem for publishers, though, is that dollars and cents — which come from advertisers — are a far more scarce resource than are page views, leaving publishers with a binary choice: provide a great user experience and go out of business, or muddle along with all of the baggage that relying on advertising networks entails.

Of course there are lots of reasons websites suck that are not directly related to advertising, including poor design, extra non-advertising related code, and insufficient maintenance. It may be a useful exercise to test your site as it is, with ads and ad blocking, and with no ads. Read Thompson’s full postRead Gruber’s post