We’ve reached a crucial point in the life of ad blockers. Web sites have finally taken notice of ad blocking traffic and are beginning to create countermeasures. Most of these practices involve paywalls, which detect ad blocker users and either ask them to disable their protection or pay a fee to access the site’s content. Paywalls are a response to lost revenue, but advertisers believe it’s the best solution available. The International Advertising Bureau has gathered over fifty major online networks, such as Amazon, Buzzfeed, and Gawker Media, to join its DEAL initiative. DEAL distributes an ad blocker-detecting script to these sites as well as an outline of possible practices for engaging the user. Here’s a picture outlining the four steps of DEAL.
Detect ad blocking, in order to initiate a conversation
Explain the value exchange that advertising enables
Ask for changed behavior in order to maintain an equitable exchange
Lift restrictions or Limit access in response to consumer choice
What does this accomplish besides maintaining the status quo? What is the point of a dialogue if the result is the same? The tactics that the IAB puts forth do nothing for the advertising landscape, which shows the true nature of what this battle is about: advertisers do not want consumers to have autonomy on the internet. DEAL is giving a speech, not creating a dialogue. None of the major issues of consumers are addressed.
We would like to respond on behalf of ad blocker users. Like we said, autonomy is key; no one is going to respond favorably to advertising when held captive to the format. Provide users the opportunity to skip video ads and disable tracking. Perform actual research into ad targeting rather than use an algorithm. Get rid of clickbait, and stop harming site performance. Each of these suggestions align with global research performed by Teads. Instead of explaining your business plan, do something about these concerns. Maybe then there will be a chance for a useful dialogue.
The problem is that to achieve fairness, advertisers will have to abandon their Wild West practices. It’s hard to imagine that happening, but a fair deal (or DEAL) requires give-and-take, and advertisers have done a lot of taking. The last time advertisers relented was with pop ups. It seemed universally accepted that pop ups were abused by spammers, viruses, and phishing attempts. Where is that understanding now? As we’ve previously mentioned, the most popular ad networks and websites are subject to malvertising. DEAL fails to address or acknowledge the security and privacy risks the current ecosystem has. Why must the consumer be guilted into taking back their choice to block ads?
Will consumer-minded changes take place? Probably not. The influx of money into online advertising is going to make things worse. Every country that was surveyed by Teads unanimously agreed that mobile ads are more intrusive. Phones and tablets will become the majority of internet traffic in the coming years, and ad blocker adoption is not as widespread as it is for desktops. The fact is that mobile devices are the primary target for advertisers right now. Android users, join us in making the World Wide Web a better place for all of us. Browse safer, securer, and faster with AdClear.
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