Developer Update: Privacy and Images

Developer Update: Privacy and Images

Manuel Becker Manuel Becker in Changelog
15.11.2022 · 3 min read
Photo by Manuel Becker

With the recent massive changes, I feel it's time for a short developer update because most of you won't visit the 'What's New'-page regularly. And since they are hopefully not even visible, I still want to give you an overview because I want to validate that the platform is moving in the right direction.


In October I already removed these annoying Google ads. While they helped me cover at least some of the server costs in the beginning, Google enabled more and more experiments over time like the overlay at the bottom of the screen. This was no active decision by me, but it tripled the income from around 100€ / month to over 300€. With months of over 1 million page impressions, that's still nothing compared to what the platform maintenance costs me. But it was a start so I kept it like that. It did annoy me a lot because I love clean and beautiful designs but I always felt that this was simply necessary.

Hint: I decided to share the actual revenue numbers for the ads here because I think it's important to understand that this platform couldn't exist without the Premium Subscribers. Thank you so much for your support. This means the world to me.

Recently, I saw more and more scam ads or ads that follow you around the web and all your devices. This only helped me to finally take the leap and move forward without any external ad service. I looked at a few after they wrote me and while some of them promised a little higher income than Google Adsense, they were selling the generated data to even more ad networks and that's the point that I simply can't align with my conviction and integrity.

I designed the new ads by myself to fit the visual quality of the platform and while they will result in a lower income for me, this was only the first step in the plan I had in my head for so long.

Be the Change you want to see in the World

I am sure you like these cookie hints as much as I do. On almost every page you have to click them away, nobody reads them anyway although the information is so valuable because websites work with your data. The basic idea behind GDPR is great and it's so important to secure the data in the best possible way.

That's why Locationscout doesn't have a cookie hint anymore, simply because the platform doesn't use any tracking or ad cookies anymore. I worked hard to find a solution for this, but I want the web to be a better place and that's why I want to lead by example. Changes like this are usually not financially rewarding which is why most companies won't go this path until they have to, but that's simply the change I want to see and why I decided to offer 0% licensing fees or to invest in multiple environmental non-profits quite some time ago although the platform isn't financially sustainable yet.

To get at least some anonymous insights, I switched to Plausible which is a privacy-focused Google Analytics alternative. It's not for free but it's the right choice in my opinion to protect our data.

All new Images

Stephan and I worked for over a year now on the new image service and it was finally time to invest more time to finish this project. With this day, almost all images are generated dynamically by our new service, resulting in much smaller sizes with better quality. I tried so many options and configurations and I think this is the best possible outcome, making sure that your beautiful photos will be shown as perfectly as possible while still saving traffic to users who are on the go away from their wifi. This should also improve the user experience for everybody because everything will load faster.

The small preview images are still jpg but all large-size images shown inside the spots or articles are now webp, which is a modern image format that saves around 30% size with the same quality. I compared a lot of photos in the last few weeks and webp is definitely sharper in the details, has less grain in general, and allows us to serve a bit higher resolutions without sacrificing loading time. Very clean skies with just very little structure look a bit different though than the usual grain that was simply a result of the jpg compression algorithm. I think this is the only part that I need to get used to but it's not even worse, it's just different and well worth the other benefits in my opinion. Some images might initially load a bit slower now because they need to be generated first, but this is only done once, and afterward, the loading time should be super fast.

Your opinion

What do you think about these changes? With even less tracking I am more dependent to get personal feedback from you but that was and always will be the most important factor by which I measure my work anyway. Also, feel free to write me at any time if you experience any issues with the latest changes.

Comments (14)

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Michael Betz
Michael Betz 28.11.2022
I like the evolving of this page. Easy use with minimum distraction is key for a good user experience. Like the way you feel the needs of your "customers". One things that keeps bugging me ist the fact that the thumbnails do not close with a second click on the pin but that i need to use the "x". Not sure if this is needed feature for the map/thumbnail overlay. But please keep on going with the great work.
Manuel Becker Team
Manuel Becker 28.11.2022
Hey Michael, thank you so much for your feedback. You mean the overlay opened when you click on a pin inside a location right? I always wanted to replace that with the much more beautiful version that I implemented for the iOS/Android app... I will put that again on my to-do list because I fully agree that this can be super annoying. If you ever tried the app, definitely let me know if you like the solution over there.
Michael Betz
Michael Betz 28.11.2022
Hi Manuel, yeah, the way in the app is much more comfortable. If this would be implemented with a mouse-wheel-zooming it might make the usability of the map much more comfortable.
Manuel Becker Team
Manuel Becker 29.11.2022
You can already zoom with a double-click but I can check that again. I disabled the scrolling on purpose because otherwise, you have no chance of getting back to the top or seeing the entire map because you can't scroll to this position. I wanted to rework/improve the locations and countries anyway in the next few months, maybe I find a solution that allows me to enable it again. Fully agree that it's usually better to use with the scroll wheel.
Sean Sutton
Sean Sutton 23.11.2022
As always, Locationscout keeps going from strength to strength. Amazing work from Manuel!
Manuel Becker Team
Manuel Becker 24.11.2022
Thank you very much dear Sean. Always nice to hear from you and that you are a part of this journey! :-)
Chris Beere
Chris Beere 17.11.2022
You are doing an outstanding job of leading by example Manuel. The site is beautifully designed and the performance has always been excellent.
Manuel Becker Team
Manuel Becker 17.11.2022
Thank you so much dear Chris for your kind words. There is always room for improvement and I will do my best to keep the current speed in updates and new features :)
Chris Beere
Chris Beere 18.11.2022
Good attitude Manuel. Of course there is room for improvement but in the case of LocationScout its marginal. I look forward to any aesthetic tweaks that you think might be positive
Manuel Becker Team
Manuel Becker 18.11.2022
Haha thank you, so happy that you believe so. My todo list is huge... but I keep you updated and if you feel that there is something missing feel free to write me at any time. Always happy about feature requests which help me plan my priorities.
Christian Lamine
Christian Lamine 16.11.2022
Hey Manuel, great work and thank you for all the effort you put into Locationscout! Perhaps you want to put out a flattr link or something similar to buy you a coffee once in a while? :-)
Manuel Becker Team
Manuel Becker 17.11.2022
Thank you as well dear Christian for being a part of this journey, really appreciate it :-) Being a Premium Subscriber or supporting the platform with content is already helpful enough, so no worries about that.
Rudolfo Dalamicio
Rudolfo Dalamicio 16.11.2022
Great update @manuel and love to see the results of the performance in some weeks/ months
Manuel Becker Team
Manuel Becker 17.11.2022
Thank you dear Rudolfo, I still owe you some feedback via mail. Didn't forget about it! Different page speed tests already show a 100/100 for the desktop version but I still need to work on smaller images delivered for mobile.
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