Cloud of Shame LifeBuzz by LifeBuzz Media

The Lifebuzz.com web site

You’ll never believe how many trackers this ONE web site has. – Ed.

Is this the worst site on the web?

LifeBuzz’s 172 trackers costs Americans over $4M a month in mobile data charges.

The web is a sewer but some sites take things to altogether new and absurd levels. In our study of the top 5,000 web sites according to Alexa, LifeBuzz topped our list with 172 unique third-party trackers.

Every time you load LifeBuzz, those 172 trackers waste 2.58MB of data* and a little over 2 minutes of load time.* (Not coincidentally, those are also the amounts that Better saves you on every load.)

Those numbers alone are shocking, however, what’s really staggering is when you take into consideration that LifeBuzz gets over 250,000,000 page views a month1. This means that every month, LifeBuzz wastes approximately 645 terabytes of our bandwidth and over 1,000 years of time just to load its trackers8, 9.

It gets worse: given the percentage of LifeBuzz’s traffic that’s from the US5 and the percentage of traffic in the US that’s from mobile phones3, we can calculate – conservatively – that LifeBuzz wastes over 314 terabytes of mobile data in the US every month11. Given that the average cost of 1GB of data in the US is $13.012, LifeBuzz costs Americans over $4,000,000 in mobile data charges alone every month12.

All that extra loading time also translates into wasted electricity. Again, to be as conservative as we can in our estimates, let’s assume that every one of LifeBuzz’s mobile users has the most energy efficient phone possible and gets close to 31 hours of web browsing on one fully-charged battery6. Even then, it would mean that over 240,000 extra charges of mobile phones a month can be attributed to the energy wasted by the trackers on this one site10. To further put this into perspective, the amount of energy wasted per month for all these additional charges is more than the amount of energy the average household in Brazil uses in a year7, 13, & 14.

Again, don’t forget that this is just one site – albeit, quite possibly, the worst site on the web.

Consider now that the web today basically runs on behavioural advertising and tracking. Think of the millions upon millions of sites that take part in this business model. Consider the mind-boggling amount of time, energy and resources wasted. To say nothing about the qualitative ramifications that this mass erosion of privacy has on our societies and on democracy.

So the next time you hear the behavioural advertising industry playing the victim and whining about how their rights are being trampled on by content blockers like Better, ask yourself who are the real victims here? The multi-billion-dollar monopolies carrying out mass surveillance on the world’s population for financial gain or the individuals who are trying to protect themselves from it?

If you are a policymaker, here are the numbers you need – and the arguments you need – to do your job and to regulate this toxic industry. You have no excuse not to. We cannot tie the future digital infrastructure of our lives to the toxic business model of tracking, analysing, and monetising people. Ethical alternatives are possible and it is up to you to support them while regulating the abuses of the current mainstream.

While LifeBuzz wins our first Cloud of Shame Award, we fear that it won’t be the last. If you know of any sites that are worthy of the honour, please let us know.

Ethical design violations

(Learn more about Ethical Design.)

After Better

Summary of site performance statistics (before & after Better)

BeforeAfterImprovement
Requests: 57 requests 37 requests 35%
Weight: 1.09 MB 947.3 KB 15%
Speed: 6.6 seconds 5.17 seconds 22%

Statistics by Better Inspector based on the page as on Thursday, May 4th 2017

Notes

Screenshots

LifeBuzz: Measured Results

LifeBuzz Media promises customers ‘measured results’ and a ‘highly engaged audience’. – Ed.

LifeBuzz: Most valuable audience

You’re very valuable to LifeBuzz. You’re the product they sell to their customers. – Ed.

LifeBuzz: Most responsive traffic

Is this what they mean by ‘responsive design?’ – Ed.

References

  1. LifeBuzz.com gets “over 250,000,000 page views a month” LifeBuzz
  2. The average price of 1GB of mobile data in the US is $13.01 (2013) Forbes
  3. 56% of traffic in the US is from mobile (2015) SimilarWeb via MarketingLand
  4. 82% of LifeBuzz’s traffic is from mobile LifeBuzz
  5. 87% of LifeBuzz’s traffic is from the US LifeBuzz
  6. The Gionee Marathon M5 is the most energy efficient phone in the GSM Arena Battery Test. It gets 30:51 hours of web browsing on a single charge (= 1,851 minutes)
  7. “[G]iving a full charge to an iPhone 6 uses about 10.5 watt-hours of electricity.” Opower
  8. 250,000,000 page-views/month (see 1) × 2.58 MB wasted* = 645,000 GB wasted/month
  9. 250,000,000 page-views/month (see 1) × 2.17 minutes wasted* = 542,500,000 minutes wasted/month = 1,031.45 years
  10. 542,500,000 minutes wasted/month (see 9) × 0.82 (see 4) ÷ 1,851 minutes (see 6) = 240,329.55159 extra mobile phone battery charges/month
  11. 645,000 GB wasted/month (see 8) × 0.87 (see 5) × 0.56 (see 3) = 314,244 GB of US mobile data wasted/month
  12. 314,244 GB of US mobile data wasted/month (see 11) × $13.01 (see 2) = $4,088,314.44 wasted in data costs/month
  13. 240,329.55159 extra mobile phone battery charges/month (see 10) × 10.5 watt-hours (see 7) = 2,523,460.2917 watt-hours of energy wasted = 2,523.4602917 Kw/h
  14. Household electricity consumption (kWh/year) – Brazil: 1,834, Russia: 2,419, Italy: 2,777. World Energy Council

About Better

Better is a Safari content blocker for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. It protects you from trackers and malvertising by enforcing the principles of Ethical Design.

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