Adblock Plus Letting Some Advertisers Pay To Avoid Its Filters

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Adblock Plus Letting Some Advertisers Pay To Avoid Its Filters.

And lo, on the day of the ninth release, the Lord Cook did cry ‘havoc!’ and let slip the dogs of flamewars, and permitted ad blockers in iOS; and there was much rejoicing, and much wailing and gnashing of teeth, because freaking everyone had a strong opinion on the subject. APPLE-ORIENTED ad blocker Crystal has already been a big hit with its App Store download, but it’s now about to make a whole bunch more revenue through a sponsored whitelist.But don’t fall into the smug trap of seeing advertising as a scourge that can at long last be wiped out by technology, leaving consumers to live their lives in information Valhalla. The app’s UK based designer, Dean Murphy is already said to have netted $75,000 according to the Wall Street Journal, with over 100,000 downloads in its first week. The leading vendors of response systems to ad blockers – PageFair and Sourcepoint – use as their calling card primary research on the extent of blocking and the demographics and motivation of those who do.

Fortune‘s Dan Primack was so outraged he informed Apple: “I’m seriously thinking of robbing your store at the local mall.” Marco Ament introduced his ad blocker Peace with the announcement: “Web advertising and behavioral tracking are out of control. Overall, 600,000 ad-blocking apps were downloaded during the first week of iOS 9, the first to allow such apps, leading to concerns that the lack of ad views may lead to a demonetisation of the web, which in turn could lead to paywalls like those offered by The Sun and The Times becoming commonplace. But the money from the app sales seems to be not enough for owner of Cystal because the creator of the app has signed an agreement with Eyeo GmbH, the creators of Adblock Pro to allow the whitelisted companies to pass through ad filters of Crystal.

The problem with this proposal is that mass-market, Madison-Avenue-style ads have never been very successful on the short-attention-span, increasingly small-screen internet. Jackson, as usual, saw further ahead than most, predicting a move to harder-to-block server-side ad networks that are even worse for privacy: Well — ads matter to people. The ‘block it unless we deem it acceptable’ method has been used by Adblock Plus for some time, with high-profile clients including Google, Microsoft and Amazon taking the opportunity to let their missives through the net.

Meanwhile, as more and more ad-blocking apps appear on the iOS App Store, the designer of Peace decided that he felt guilty about his creation and discontinued it, offering refunds to purchasers. A shift came from most publishers being careful with nicely designed sites, stricter rules around permitted ads, and minimal invasions of reading space. Some want them better targeted, so they’re more relevant; some are horrified at the notion of their privacy being ransacked so that advertisers can better learn the emotional buttons that might make them spend money more irrationally; but nobody doesn’t care. Publishers, meanwhile, have to see the numbingly obvious: There is a point when the combination of advertising and tracking stops being useful and drives customers away.

Apple has fired the first salvo by showing that it is more interested in you using its apps, which generate revenue for it, rather than the mobile internet, which generates money for ad companies. Eyeo, the company behind Adblock Plus, says that any company seeking to avoid their filters must abide by their “acceptable ads” policy. “This service cannot be completely taken over by volunteers nor be sponsored through donations, as it happens with common filter lists….Therefore, a few very large entities who take part in the Acceptable Ads initiative compensate Eyeo for its service. It’s true that many seem not to mind fighting their way through the gruelling obstacle course of popups, interstitials, autoplay videos, etc. that infest the modern mobile web. “Wake me up when ad-blockers are installed by default,” says MG Siegler, dismissing the whole furore as a tempest in a teapot (for now.) Nilay Patel, Josh Elman, and Jason Calacanis view the whole issue as collateral damage in the ongoing war between the Stacks–Apple vs Google, in this case–rather than driven by a change in the relationship between publishers and users. Google, on the other hand, banned ad-blocking software from its Play Store in 2011, but it owns a huge advertising network which it leverages within free apps anyway. Eyeo’s service is provided free of charge to all other participants (roughly 90%).” Being able to avoid an ad-blocker’s filter may sound like a good thing for publishers and advertisers, but it might not be such a great idea after all.

At a more here-and-now level, Narisetti told me, premium sites with long-time paid subscribers should be in the best shape since they keep intrusive advertising to a minimum. He told the Journal, “I decided that’s a good feature to provide, and from what I’ve seen the ‘acceptable ads’ policy doesn’t let through what I’d classify as bad ads.” However, Eyeo is not very transparent itself about the criteria it uses for whitelisting ads. So far, the advent of ad blocking in Appleland has done very little, according to figures quoted in the WSJ, but the next few months will prove very telling as we see an acid test of just how influential the mobile ad industry really is. µ It has been hard to escape news about ad blocking over the past couple of weeks, after Apple’s iOS 9 software was released, allowing ad blocking on iPhones for the first time. Sergey doesn’t want folks coming up to him at parties and asking him about why they are trying to kill Yelp, Mahalo, and eHow (trust me, I have the inside line on this one).

Other problems include a flat-out collapse of revenue from display ads, which will drive a rise in native content, where brands are more directly involved with the support of stories. Major advertisers like Heineken and Kellogg’s are questioning the efficacy of their digital ad spending after finding that huge chunks of their ads are being delivered to non-humans through all sorts of bogus means, including the use of computer-powered bots. He views Crystal as a way to challenge himself and improve his programming skills, he said, describing the app creation process as “a labor of love”.

But the last and most telling take, as usual, comes from the incomparable Maciej Ceglowski, in his typically superb, bleakly savage talk “What Happens Next Will Amaze You,” which you should rush out and read right now. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, one developer pulled his app from the Appstore after realizing he didn’t want to be a furnisher of an ad-blocking app. If you’ve downloaded Crystal, what do you think about this new development? “It feels like you should probably make your ads better, and I would only do that only after I’d exhausted other avenues”.

New York-based startup Secret Media, for example, says it’s now working with 10 publishers in the help them deliver video ads in a way that can not be detected by ad-blocking tools. But so-called ad blockers are off to a tumultuous start on the platform, as people from all corners of the Internet ecosystem offer their first impressions and second thoughts about the technology. As it turns out, ad-blockers, which now effectively act as gatekeepers of what readers see at their end, also need money to sustain their business – what a surprise.

The phenomenon whereby ads are tied to the complete invasion of privacy is a recent one. […] The winners in this game are the ones running the casino: big advertising networks, surveillance companies, and the whole brand-new industry known as “adtech”. The losers are small publishers and small advertisers. […] But the biggest losers are you and me. […] I don’t believe there’s a technology bubble, but there is absolutely an advertising bubble. Facebook saw one billion people on its site in a single day recently. “Many people already receive our journalism for free online, with digital advertising paying only a portion of the cost”, a Post spokesperson was quoted as saying. And then we’ll see if all these dire warnings about the dangers of surveillance were right. […] As ad blocking becomes widespread, we’ll see these tensions get worse, and we’ll also see more serious technical countermeasures. […] Ad blockers help us safeguard an important principle—that the browser is fundamentally our user agent.

Aside from a few specialist publications – the FT springs to mind – putting publications behind paywalls doesn’t work; and with ad blockers installed all over the place, they are not going to get display advertising revenue. And think how valuable targeting the audience using an ad blocker is with a relevant ad or brand: young, tech-savvy and part of the “new internet generation”. If an Android phone was half the cost of an iPhone, the cost difference is $10 a month – or about one hour of work for the lowest paid folks in the United States. And here too, I’m optimistic that there will be a renaissance in creativity and innovation once everyone fully understands the channel and learns to marry it to good old-fashioned storytelling.

He goes on propose solutions to these larger problems (next to which the issue of which publishers will survive the change to more acceptable ads is laughably trivial) and rant about how “Everywhere I look there is this failure to capture the benefits of technological change.” I don’t agree with everything he says, or his proposed solutions — but even the parts I/you may bitterly disagree with are a valuable and a refreshing change from the Silicon Valley echo chamber. In fact, Google bought Oyster which was the “Netflix of books”. “All of a sudden you’re getting hammered with stuff you’ve got no interest in”, he said. Google wants to be proud of their legacy, and tricking people into clicking ads and selling our profiles to advertisers is an awesome business – but a terrible legacy for Larry and Sergey. I really don’t mind that the Public Theatre in New York has been following me around online since I went gaga in January for the musical Hamilton, which premiered there. – Steve Jobs to Walter Isaacson in 2010. “Facebook is monetising you – your data is valuable”. Send us speaker recommendations for brilliant executives, founders, and investors so we can make our stage look like the world we want our kids to inherit!

It’s yours to take, re-arrange and re-use. […] Asking for permission is like asking to keep a rock someone just threw at your head. […] They never asked for your permission, don’t even start asking for theirs. If the ads publishers served weren’t awful, intrusive, deceptive if not fraudulent toxic waste, the overwhelming majority of people would be completely happy to surf without ad blockers, accepting the occasional ad as a reasonable compromise.

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