Topic: Ad blockers
Several trade groups representing parties involved in online advertising have sent an open letter to the Coalition for Better Ads (of which they are themselves among the largest members) pushing for faster implementation of self-regulatory moves intended to stave off the threat of browser-based ad blocking. The context here is moves by browser makers – notably Google and Apple – to get tougher on bad ads and cookie-based tracking respectively, both of which threaten the online ad industry. The industry would therefore like to put in place self regulatory measures which have been discussed for some time but not implemented as a way to try to stave off more of this stuff, though the Apple changes have already gone into force and Google’s are likely to do so as well. The online ad industry only has itself to blame for failing to self-regulate sooner and more effectively and thereby maintaining an environment in which such moves by tech companies are deemed necessary. Poor online advertising really serves no-one well in the long term but the industry’s short-termism in allowing it to continue unchecked is now leading to nasty long-term consequences which it is essentially powerless to reverse.
via Marketing Land
There were reports a while back that Google was planning to incorporate some limited ad blocking features into its Chrome browser, and Google has now confirmed those reports and explained exactly what it’s planning. As the reports suggested, Google isn’t planning to implement a broad ad blocker but rather will block just those ads deemed annoying by the Coalition for Better Ads, of which Google is a member. It sounds like Google has started reaching out to publishers to explain the forthcoming change and will be providing detailed guidance on how they can ensure their sites are in compliance. As I said when the earlier reports surfaced, it’s smart for Google to be part of the push for limited ad blockers even if that may seem counterintuitive, because if it can focus that activity on egregious ads rather than all ads indiscriminately, it has a much better shot at protecting its own massive ad revenue than if others take more of a blanket approach. We can be certain that none of Google’s own sites or ad formats will be affected by this filter, but we can also guess that there will be something of an outcry from publishers feeling that Google is favoring itself while disadvantaging others. It’s going to be fascinating to watch this play out over the next few months.
★ Ad Standards Consortium Considers Action Against Bad Ads (Apr 21, 2017)
This story puts the recent Google ad blocker story in some useful context. That Google story suggest Google was going to act unilaterally in adding an ad blocker to its Chrome browser to target bad ads, though it would use standards developed by the Coalition for Better Ads as its benchmark. This story suggests the Coalition itself is debating taking a unified stand on bad ads, which would give Google useful cover as a member of a broader group rather than a single company transparently acting in its own interests (especially given that the EU Competition Commissioner has already said she’ll watch what Google does here closely). And as I said in the earlier piece, being part of a group which bans bad ads but allows the ones that generate 90% of its revenue would obviously be good for the top and bottom line at Google. Update: see also this later piece from Bloomberg, which adds some useful additional context and detail.