26bytes was born out of our experience running BuySellAds.
Yes, BSA is an ad network, and ads get a bad rap – but ads empower the web. Our desire has always been to help publishers and creatives monetize their content while still being good stewards to end-users.
The web needs ads, and users need privacy and respect. How do we, as an industry and society, balance that?
For us, this isn’t a hypothetical or philosophical question – we live this. Back in 2010, BuySellAds was the first ad network to support an asynchronous ad code so that users wouldn’t have to wait for ads to load before they could start reading content. More than a decade later and this is finally (finally) the norm.
When privacy regulations like GDPR took effect, many of our advertisers told us effusively that while ad performance across the board fell off in the wake of limited tracking, their spend with us had no ill-effect. BSA-run networks had no performance penalty because we were privacy-conscious from day 1: we don’t depend on nefarious tracking to find success for marketers, which means the lack of cookies has minimal impact.
The name 26bytes comes from BSA’s standard blank 1x1 pixel: while most ad networks use a 43 byte image, BSA has always used a 26 byte image. It may not make a measurable difference to any given user, but it’s the attitude that matters: it provides a constant reminder to us that our craft is part of the process. We do this because we care.
26bytes is our R&D playground for developing and providing open tooling, best practices, and future-looking ideas to progress the goal of making the web a better place. Some of this may be ad-related, some of it won’t be. Our goal is to keep the web experience great while still helping content creators put food on the table: the web needs to monetize, but this shouldn’t be at the expense of users.
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