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charlesarthur : adblocking   87

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Google relents slightly on blocking ad-blockers – for paid-up enterprise Chrome users, everyone else not so much • The Register
Thomas Claburn:
<p>Google Chrome users will continue to have access to the full content blocking power of the webRequest API in their browser extensions, but only if they're paying enterprise customers.

Everyone else will have to settle for extensions that use the <a href="">neutered</a> declarativeNetRequest API, which is being developed as part of a pending change to the way Chrome Extensions work. And chances are Chrome users will have fewer extensions to choose from because some developers won't be able to rework their extensions so they function under the new regime, or won't want to do so…

…developer Raymond Hill, who created popular content control extension uBlock Origin, contends blocking capabilities matter more than observing. Losing the ability to block content with the webRequest API is his main concern.

"This breaks uBlock Origin and uMatrix, [which] are incompatible with the basic matching algorithm [Google] picked, ostensibly designed to enforce EasyList-like filter lists," he explained in an email to The Register. "A blocking webRequest API allows open-ended content blocker designs, not restricted to a specific design and limits dictated by the same company which states that content blockers are a threat to its business."

Google did not respond to a request for comment. The ad biz previously said its aim with Manifest v3 is "to create stronger security, privacy, and performance guarantees."

But Hill, in <a href="">a note</a> posted over the weekend to GitHub, observes that performance problems arise more from bloated web pages stuffed with tracking code than from extensions intercepting and processing content.</p>

So, basically, Google is making harder to have adblocking extensions that actually block ads. (Thanks Stormyparis for the link.)
chrome  security  adblocking 
may 2019 by charlesarthur
Google backtracks on Chrome modifications that would have crippled ad blockers • ZDNet
Catalin Cimpanu:
<p>At the root of Ghostery's benchmark into ad blocker performance stands Manifest V3, a new standard for developing Chrome extensions that Google announced last October.

The long-winded document contained many new rules about what Chrome functions and APIs an extension should use. One of the modifications was for extensions that needed to intercept and work with network requests. Google wanted extension developers to use the new DeclarativeNetRequest API instead of the older webRequest API.

This new API came with limitations that put a muzzle on the number of network requests an extension could access. It took some time before ad blocker developers caught on to what this meant, but when they did, all hell broke loose, with both extension developers and regular users accusing the browser maker of trying to kill third-party ad blockers for the benefit of Chrome's new built-in ad blocker (which wouldn't be impacted).

Chrome engineers justified the change by citing the performance impact of not having a maximum value for the number of network requests an extension could access.

But the Ghostery team disagreed with this assessment.

"This work [<a href="">referring to the study</a>] was motivated by one of the claims formulated in the Manifest V3 proposal of the Chromium project: 'the extension then performs arbitrary (and potentially very slow) JavaScript', talking about content-blockers' ability to process all network requests," said Cliqz, the company behind the Ghostery ad blocker.

"From the measurements, we do not think this claim holds, as all popular content-blockers are already very efficient and should not incur any noticeable slow-down for users," they added.</p>

Basically, it seems Google wants to stop any adblockers that aren't its own, because it wants the choice of which ads are blocked to be its own, not users'.
chrome  extensions  adblocking 
february 2019 by charlesarthur
Adblocking in the UK 2018 • eMarketer Trends, Forecasts & Statistics
<p>How many people in the UK are using ad blockers?

Rates of ad blocking in the UK remain relatively low compared with other Western countries tracked by eMarketer. We estimate that 12.2 million people in the UK will use an ad blocker at least monthly in 2018, representing 22.0% of internet users, compared with 28.7% in France, 32.0% in Germany and 25.2% in the US. Growth in user numbers will slow to single digits for the first time.

How prevalent is ad blocking among 18- to 24-year-olds in the UK?

As is so often the case when it comes to digital trends, behaviors are more pronounced among certain younger age groups. In the millennial cohort, for example, ad blocking user rates are much higher than in other age brackets. We expect 43.0% of UK internet users ages 18 to 24 will use an ad blocker this year.</p>

Since you're wondering, 38% of them are doing that on smartphones - up from 16.3% in 2014.
february 2019 by charlesarthur
Facebook's hidden battle against ad-blockers • BBC News
<p>The methods Facebook uses to thwart ad-blocking technology have been criticised by web developers.

The social network injects dozens of lines of code in every page to make it harder for ad blockers to detect and hide sponsored posts. But that makes the website less efficient and stops software such as screen readers used by visually impaired users from working properly. The BBC has contacted Facebook for comment.

In order to block advertising, developers look for patterns in a website's code that can be consistently identified and hidden. It would be easy for a plug-in to spot the word "sponsored" or to find a container labelled "ad" inside the webpage code, so companies, including Facebook, use coding tricks to obfuscate their ads.

The tricks Facebook uses to fool ad-blocking plug-ins include:<br />• breaking up the word "sponsored" into small chunks only one or two letters long<br />• inserting extra letters, as in "SpSonSsoSredS", hidden to the viewer<br />• adding the word to all regular posts on the news feed, even ones that are not ads, and then using another piece of code to hide it on the non-ads.</p>

The convenience of the disabled is always the collateral damage in such wars; this one is ongoing, though the adblocking developers are <a href="">doing their work in the open</a> by posting what they're looking for and finding on GitHub.
facebook  adblocking 
december 2018 by charlesarthur
Researchers claim to have permanently neutralized ad-blocking's most promising weapons • Boing Boing
Cory Doctorow:
<p>Last year, Princeton researchers revealed a powerful new ad-blocking technique: <a href="">perceptual ad-blocking</a> uses a machine-learning model trained on images of pages with the ads identified to make predictions about which page elements are ads to block and which parts are not.

However, <a href="">a new paper from a group of Stanford and CISPA Helmholtz Center researchers</a> reveals a powerful machine learning countermeasure that, they say, will permanently tilt the advantage toward advertisers and away from ad-blockers.

The team revealed a set of eight techniques to generate adversarial examples of slightly modified ads that completely flummoxed the perceptual ad-blocker's model: from overlaying a transparent image to modifying a few pixels in the logo used to demarcate an ad.

What's more, the team showed that they could cause the perceptual blocker's model to erroneously identify a page's actual content as an ad and block it, while leaving the ads unblocked.

The team says that these techniques will always outrace the ability of perceptual blocking models to detect them, suggesting that perceptual blocking may be a dead letter.</p>

Dead letter? Dead end maybe. Please now view this advert for "arms race".
november 2018 by charlesarthur
Ad blocking as a radical political act • Terence Eden's Blog
Terence Eden:
<p>Aside from unavoidable billboards and the occasional magazine, I just don't see advertising any more. I'm not sure why any sane person would want to.

Even when I worked in the mobile ad industry, I blocked ads. Everyone did. The first thing that the IT helpdesk said to people who complained that they couldn't log into their work email was "yeah mate, you need to turn your ad-blocker off..."

I've been blocking Facebook adverts since before it was fashionable. As a result, I'm bemused by the claims that my information has been microtargetted and used to manipulate me.

I thought it was common knowledge that you could <a href="">set your Facebook preferences to block creepy use of your data for advertising purposes</a>. Even if you didn't want to block adverts, why wouldn't you do that?

Perhaps Facebook themselves have been subtly manipulating what stories they choose to show me. Perhaps my friends are activated Manchurian Candidates swamping me with fake news. Or perhaps I just block the obviously dodgy news sources and unfriend anyone daft enough to share them.
Perhaps we need a word to describe the people who willingly watch adverts? The technology to block them is simple to use, and information about blocking is widely disseminated.

People who watch adverts are like anti-vaxxers - blissfully unaware of the benefits of herd-immunity.</p>

Advertisers (and a lot of publishers) see it quite the other way round, of course.
april 2018 by charlesarthur
The false teeth of Chrome's ad filter • Electronic Frontier Foundation
Alan Toner:
<p>The Coalition for Better Ads [which determined which ads could and could not be shown through the new adblocking Chrome] lacks a consumer voice. The Coalition involves giants such as Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, ad trade organizations, and adtech companies and large advertisers. Criteo, a retargeter with a history of contested user privacy practice is also involved, as is content marketer Taboola. Consumer and digital rights groups are not represented in the Coalition.

This industry membership explains the limited horizon of the group, which ignores the non-format factors that annoy and drive users to install content blockers. While people are alienated by aggressive ad formats, the problem has other dimensions. Whether it’s the use of ads as a vector for malware, the consumption of mobile data plans by bloated ads, or the monitoring of user behavior through tracking technologies, users have a lot of reasons to take action and defend themselves.

But these elements are ignored. Privacy, in particular, figured neither in the tests commissioned by the Coalition, nor in their three published reports that form the basis for the new standards. This is no surprise given that participating companies include the four biggest tracking companies: Google, Facebook, Twitter, and AppNexus. </p>

Taboola in particular is cited disapprovingly for "helping fund the underbelly of the net".
Chrome  adblocking  google  eff  privacy 
february 2018 by charlesarthur
Google will block spammy ads (just not many of its own) • WSJ
Douglas MacMillan:
<p>The Coalition [For Better Ads]worked with [coalition member] Google to improve the research, including deciding on a number of additional ad formats to test, said one person involved in the process. Google tested 55 desktop ad formats and 49 mobile formats and presented the findings to the group.

The coalition ultimately deemed 12 ad formats unacceptable.

Google’s leading role in the standard-setting process troubled some of the coalition’s members, who observed that the blacklisted ad formats generally don’t apply to Google’s own business, according to people who were part of the process. Google generates most of its revenue from text search ads and rectangular display ads, rather than the visually rich media ads that will be banned by the coalition.

“They are creating a standard that doesn’t apply to them,” said Ryan McConville, president of mobile-ad startup Kargo, one of 17 members on the coalition’s board.

Some of the members lobbied the coalition to make exceptions, including Facebook, which argued that the social network should be excluded from a rule banning videos that automatically play with sound. Bounce Exchange Inc., a pop-up ad maker, argued the pop-up ad rule should be changed to exclude ads that appear when a user is idle for more than 30 seconds. Both efforts were successful.

Google didn’t test one of its own most prominent ad formats, the ads that run on YouTube videos for several seconds before users can skip them.</p>

Surprrriiiise! The blocking will begin today (Feb 15) on the updated version of Google Chrome, the world’s most widely-used browser on desktop and mobile.
Google  adblocking  chrome 
february 2018 by charlesarthur
The Spectre of an advertising meltdown: what you need to know • Lawfare
Nicholas Weaver:
<p>The information security world is focused on two new security vulnerabilities, “Spectre” and “Meltdown”, that represent vulnerabilities embedded in computer hardware. Lawfare readers should respond in two ways: keep their operating systems up to date and, critically, install an ad-blocker for your web browser. (Here are guides on how to do so in Chrome and Firefox.) In fact, a proper response to Spectre should involve ad-blocking on all government computers. Other than that, don’t worry.

Readers who just wanted to know what to do can stop reading. But for those curious about some of the technical background on these vulnerabilities and why ad-blocking is an essential security measure for a modern computer, read on.</p>
spectre  meltdown  adblocking 
january 2018 by charlesarthur
Google reveals sites with 'failing' ads, including Forbes, LA Times • Digiday
Lucia Moses:
<p>On June 1, Google <a href="">rolled out its Ad Experience Report</a>, a tool it’s using to evaluate and score websites based on their ad creative and design. It provides screenshots and videos of ads that have been identified as annoying to users, such as pop-ups and autoplaying video ads with sound, and “prestitial” ads with countdown timers.

So far, Google has identified about 700 sites as warranting corrective action out of around 100,000 sites it’s reviewed so far. Half of the roughly 700 got a “failing” status and the other half a “warning.” Pop-ups were the most common problem Google found, accounting for 96 percent of violations on desktop and 54 percent on mobile.

Most of these sites are out of the mainstream, such as entertainment sites and But a couple dozen are a who’s who of traditional media. Those listed as failing include Forbes; Tronc-owned Orlando Sentinel, Sun-Sentinel and Los Angeles Times; Bauer Xcel Media’s Life & Style and In Touch Weekly; The Wrap; Chicago Sun-Times; Tribune Broadcasting’s Fox 13 Now; and Sporting News.

A similar number of mainstream sites got warnings. They included Kiplinger, Gizmodo Media Group’s Lifehacker, The Jerusalem Post, The San Diego Union-Tribune, Cox Media Group’s WSB-TV in Atlanta, Tronc’s Baltimore Sun and Chicago Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, the U.K. Independent, The Daily Caller, Reader’s Digest, All You, Smithsonian, New York Daily News, Salt Lake Tribune and CBS News.</p>

Basically, warning them that if they don't change, they'll die once Chrome gets an adblocker.
adblocking  google  chrome  advertising 
august 2017 by charlesarthur
The global state of ad blocking - Digiday
Max Willens:
<p>• 615 million, or how many devices have ad-blocking software on them, worldwide. That’s up 30 percent year over year, according to PageFair.

• 90 percent: The overwhelming majority of the mobile devices equipped with an ad blocker – all 380 million of them – are located in Asia, where limited, expensive bandwidth plays just as big a role in the adblocking wars as user experience.

• 1%: For a time, publishers could take solace in the fact that very few any mobile devices in the U.S. had adblocking apps installed, according to eMarketer research. With Safari and Chrome both poised to begin blocking ads on mobile, this number is going to change a lot in the coming year.

• 17%, 22%, 27%: Adblocking might be surging in Asia, but in many advanced digital media markets, it’s either stabilized or declining. These three numbers represent the adblocking rates in Canada, the UK and Germany.</p>

With Google Chrome and Apple's Safari about to add adblocking in the near future, things are hotting up on this front. Adtech companies may only have a limited time to get their act in order.
june 2017 by charlesarthur
Google will help publishers prepare for a Chrome ad blocker coming next year • WSJ
Jack Marshall:
<p>Google has told publishers it will give them at least six months to prepare for a new ad-blocking tool the company is planning to introduce in its Chrome web browser next year, according to people familiar with the company’s plans.

The new setting, which is expected to be switched on by default within the desktop and mobile versions of Chrome, will prevent all ads from appearing on websites that are deemed to provide a bad advertising experience for users.

To help publishers prepare, Google will provide a self-service tool called “Ad Experience Reports,” which will alert them to offending ads on their sites and explain how to fix the issues. The tool will be provided before the Chrome ad blocker goes live, the people familiar with the plans say…

…Unacceptable ad types include those identified by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group made up of various trade bodies and online advertising-related companies that says it aims to improve consumers’ experience with online advertising.

The group’s initial list of unacceptable ad types, released in March, included pop-ups, auto-playing video ads with sound and “prestitial” ads that count down before displaying content. Google is a member of the group, alongside fellow ad giant Facebook , and Wall Street Journal parent News Corp .</p>

This is antitrust territory. Dominant search engine; dominant browser; a dominant advertising supplier. What's the harm to the consumer? The lack of choice in what they see, and the inability to decide what ads they do and don't see. I hope Margrethe Vestager is on this preemptively; I'm sure publishers in Europe will be at her door.
google  adblocking  antitrust 
june 2017 by charlesarthur
35% of Google Chrome users blocking ads on desktop • GlobalWebIndex Blog
Katie Young:
<p>Rumors emerged last week that Google could be planning to add default ad-blocker functionality to its mobile and desktop versions of Chrome – a move that could potentially halt the growth of third-party options and give Google more control over the definition of what is an ‘acceptable ad’.

<img src="" width="100%" />

GlobalWebIndex’s research shows that Chrome is by far the most popular desktop web browser at a global level. And usage of ad-blockers has taken off among its users: over a third of those who use the desktop version of Chrome are currently blocking ads on their main computers, with figures on or above the 30% mark in all the 5 regions.

Clearly, then, this move by Google could resonate with a large section of its user base. And there is another key aspect here – mobile. Mobile ad-blocking has been slower to take off in the West, but it’s not hard to see how default ad-blocking in a mobile browser as popular as Chrome could be a game-changer here.</p>

Looking at that graphic, it looks more like Google wanting to ensure that in fact the ads that get blocked aren't theirs - because at the moment I bet a lot of that 40% in the US (and nearly the same in Europe) hits them. So ironically an adblocker would mean more of Google's ads being shown.
google  web  adblocking  chrome 
april 2017 by charlesarthur
Google plans adblocking feature in popular Chrome browser • WSJ
Jack Marshall:
<p>The ad-blocking feature, which could be switched on by default within Chrome, would filter out certain online ad types deemed to provide bad experiences for users as they move around the web.

Google could announce the feature within weeks, but it is still ironing out specific details and still could decide not to move ahead with the plan, the people said.

Unacceptable ad types would be those recently defined by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group that released a list of ad standards in March. According to those standards, ad formats such as pop-ups, auto-playing video ads with sound and “prestitial” ads with countdown timers are deemed to be “beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability.”

In one possible application Google is considering, it may choose to block all advertising that appears on sites with offending ads, instead of the individual offending ads themselves. In other words, site owners may be required to ensure all of their ads meet the standards, or could see all advertising across their sites blocked in Chrome.</p>

This has been rumbling for some time. <a href="">Here was Lara O'Reilly at Business Insider in May 2016</a>:
<p>Google is exploring the creation of an "acceptable ads policy" that appears to suggest it wants to create an industry-standard for online ad formats.

Several executives with knowledge of these discussions confirmed to Business Insider that Google has been looking at spearheading such a policy. Google has been meeting with several companies and industry trade bodies to discuss how it might be implemented in practice. Whatever form it takes will likely lean heavily on new research Google is due to publish in the coming weeks about the types of ads consumers find unacceptable.</p>

The antitrust implications are huge. Chrome is the dominant browser, worldwide (outside China). Google can get outside organisations to decide "acceptable ads", but if it's choosing which organisation feeds its whitelist - and there will be a whitelist - then it has a clear conflict of interest. Any ad definition that would block a Google ad won't be allowed. This will require transparency on a huge scale.

But this looks like Google getting out ahead of the curve. Adblocking is a problem; it's the equivalent of pop-up windows back at the start of the century, which browser makers all moved to block pretty fast. (<a href="">Remember the X10?</a>)
google  adblocking 
april 2017 by charlesarthur
PageFair 2017 ad blocking report: Usage up 30% • Business Insider
Lara O'Reilly:
<p>The largest geographical driver of mobile ad blocker use has been in the Asia-Pacific, where 94% of mobile ad blocking takes place.

There hasn't yet been mass adoption of a mobile ad blocking app in North America or Europe yet, but PageFair predicts mobile ad blocking would accelerate in those regions if device manufacturers or distributors began to pre-configure ad blocking software as standard.

Security was the main reason cited for downloading an ad blocker among consumers polled in the US for the report. 30% of those surveyed said virus and malware concerns drove them to download an ad blocker.

The next most-cited reason for getting ad blocker software was "interruption" (29%), according to the report.

Dr Johnny Ryan, PageFair's head of ecosystem, said in the company's previous reports, privacy has been the primary motivation to downloading an ad blocker.</p>

<a href="">Full report</a>. Growth faster on mobile than desktop, but pretty big in both.
february 2017 by charlesarthur
One in five iOS devices in the US are limiting ad tracking • eMarketer
<p>Advertisers are keen on collecting audience insight wherever possible, but as technology evolves, options exist for consumers to take them off their trail and ensure privacy. According to October research, 20% of iOS devices in the US have been opted-in to the OS’s limit ad tracking feature.

<img src="" width="100%" />

In October, a few weeks following the release of Apple’s iOS 10, mobile attribution and analytics provider adjust gathered data from iOS devices on its platform running iOS 10 or later. Overall, 18% worldwide had the limit ad tracking option enabled. The feature, which allows device users to block ads, first appeared in iOS 6.</p>
ios10  adblocking 
october 2016 by charlesarthur
Could Limited Ad Tracking make Apple the largest ‘adblocker’? • MIDiA Research
Karol Severin:
<p>You may have noticed the setting on your iPhones and iPads called ‘Limit Ad Tracking’ – LAT (Setting➡️Privacy➡️Advertising➡️Limit Ad Tracking), or if you are most people, you may not have. Toggle it on, and much of your user data tracking for ad purposes will be disabled.

If you’re wondering what it is and why I’m writing about it, in short this means that ad companies are unable provide as individually targeted ads to LAT users as they can when LAT is off. In other words, they can’t sell their best products to their customers that are using the iOS version of their apps. This creates an ecosystem-within-an-ecosystem dilemma. This forces them to make a choice:

1) Sell a sub-par ad experience to LAT users to avoid revenue decline, but at the risk of annoying them even more


2) Stop serving ads to LAT users altogether. As crazy as this may sound, this option could make sense for Facebook and Google.</p>
october 2016 by charlesarthur
The Coalition for Better Ads is destined for a glorious failure • Marketing Week
Mark Ritson is a columnist:
<p>The main reason people block advertising is not because of poorly conceived creative or annoying, data-heavy executions. It is because they hate advertising and prefer their media without it. In a recent survey of British ad blockers by KPMG, for example, almost half the sample (46%) said they would use an ad blocker because – and I quote – “they do not like advertising at all”.

In contrast, the Coalition believes that “better” advertising will reduce the adoption of ad blockers. They say that because they are all marketers and marketers are the only people on the planet that think people like advertising. They think that because of what psychologists call ‘post-hoc rationalisation’, or what we might also call ‘how the fuck could I go to work each day if I really admitted how much people hate what I do?’.

So you can see how this one will play out. The Coalition spends several million quid creating inane legislation that slightly improves online ads. At which point consumers, who still have their ad blocking software up in the right hand corner of their screen, completely ignore the whole charade and keep blocking ads. They will do that not because the Coalition will fail to improve online advertising, but because the only good ad for most consumers is the one they do not have to download and be distracted by while they consume digital media.

None of this is digital’s fault by the way. If consumers had a similar opportunity to block TV ads, they would jump on it. Oh, hang on, they do and they have.</p>

Ritson seems pretty good at hitting nails on the head.
september 2016 by charlesarthur
Adblock Plus finds the end-game of its business model: selling ads • Ars Technica
Joe Mullin:
<p>Eyeo GmbH, the company that makes the popular Adblock Plus software, will today start selling the very thing many of its users hate—advertisements. Today, the company is launching a self-service platform to sell "pre-whitelisted" ads that meet its "acceptable ads" criteria. The new system will let online publishers drag and drop advertisements that meet Eyeo's expectations for size and labeling.

"The Acceptable Ads Platform helps publishers who want to show an alternative, nonintrusive ad experience to users with ad blockers by providing them with a tool that lets them implement Acceptable Ads themselves,” said Till Faida, co-founder of Adblock Plus.

Publishers who place the ads will do so knowing that they won't be blocked by most of the 100 million Adblock Plus users. The software extension's default setting allows for "acceptable ads" to be shown, and more than 90% of its users don't change that default setting.</p>

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
advertising  adblocking  eyeo 
september 2016 by charlesarthur
Ad Blocker Beta • Optimal
<p>We’ve been building a better ad blocker that will give you more fine-grained control over your online experience. In early tests running 20+ tabs in Chrome across the top 50 news websites, it outperforms the most popular ad blocker (which itself saves just 6% browser memory vs. no blocking). It led to less tracking (66% fewer URLs loaded) and also cuts down on bandwidth use tremendously: 39% less memory, 52% less data.</p>

Sign up for the beta.
july 2016 by charlesarthur
New York Times 'exploring' ad-free digital subscription • AdAge
Jeremy Barr:
<p>The New York Times is "exploring the possibility" of selling an ad-free digital subscription package, chief executive Mark Thompson said at the IAB Ad Blocking & User Experience Summit Monday.

"We do want to offer all of our users as much choice as we can, and we recognize that there are some users -- both subscribers and non-subscribers -- who would prefer to have an ad-free experience," he said, according to a copy of his remarks provided in advance to Ad Age. (The all-day summit, which is intended for publishers, is not open to the press.)</p>

Love the irony in that last sentence. The article's conclusion:
<p>Generally speaking, Mr. Thompson said marketers "need to think like programmers rather than as traditional advertisers," by "offering consumers content which actually has value to them."

Advertising will always be a vital revenue source for the Times, he said, pointing out that some 107 million of the 110 million people who access the Times are not paid subscribers.</p>

adblocking  newyorktimes 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Forbes has quit bugging (some) people about their adblockers • Nieman Journalism Lab
Laura Hazard Owen:
<p>Forbes was still preventing me from visiting the site with an adblocker on Tuesday, but several of my colleagues accessed it with adblockers on. Forbes did not respond to multiple requests for comment on Tuesday, so we can’t be sure whether or not it’s a policy shift or a backend snafu.

In recent months, sites like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal have taken cues from Forbes and Wired and are getting tougher on users with adblockers enabled. Both the Times and the Journal are greeting some adblocker users with messages asking them to whitelist the sites or subscribe; even some people who already pay for subscriptions are seeing the adblocking messages. The Guardian has also said that it will consider “stricter” measures against adblocker users (for now, it just gently notes at the bottom of a page that it has detected an adblocker).

Not surprisingly, all of these policies have annoyed certain users, but Forbes’ appeared to inspire particular aggravation and mocking, perhaps in part because Forbes is not viewed as an essential news source…</p>
news  adblocking 
june 2016 by charlesarthur
2016 Mobile Adblocking Report • PageFair
<p>Quick Facts:

• At least 419 million people (22% of the world’s 1.9bn smartphone users) are blocking ads on the mobile web.
• Both mobile web and in-app ads can now be blocked.
• As of March 2016 an estimated 408 million people are actively using mobile adblocking browsers (i.e., a mobile browser that blocks ads by default).
• As of March 2016 there are 159 million users of mobile adblocking browsers in China, 122 million in India, and 38 million in Indonesia.
• As of March 2016 in Europe and North America there were 14 million monthly active users of mobile adblocking browsers.
• A further 4.9 million content blocking and in-app adblocking apps were downloaded from the app stores in Europe and North America since September 2014.
• Adblocking is now the most hotly discussed topic in the digital media industry.</p>

Those figures for China, India and Indonesia add up to 319 million - leaving about 111 million outside those three countries. Adblocking is most prevalent (ie most urgent to users) where data is expensive and phones are slow(er).

Here's the presentation:
[slideshare id=62542427&doc=adblockinggoesmobile-160530153920]

<iframe src="//" width="595" height="485" frameborder="0" marginwidth="0" marginheight="0" scrolling="no" style="border:1px solid #CCC; border-width:1px; margin-bottom:5px; max-width: 100%;" allowfullscreen> </iframe> <div style="margin-bottom:5px"> <strong> <a href="//" title="Adblocking Goes Mobile - 2016 PageFair Mobile Report" target="_blank">Adblocking Goes Mobile - 2016 PageFair Mobile Report</a> </strong> from <strong><a href="//" target="_blank">PageFair</a></strong> </div>

There's a <a href="">PDF report</a> too.
june 2016 by charlesarthur
Three network to run 24-hour adblocking trial • The Guardian
Jasper Jackson:
<p>Mobile provider Three is to run a 24-hour adblocking trial in the UK in the first step towards removing ads for all its customers.

The company is planning to contact customers and ask them to sign up for the trial, which will take place in mid June.

Three claims it wants to introduce adblocking to improve customer privacy, reduce data costs and provide a better experience accessing the web on phones. The company said advertisers should pay for the data costs associated with ads, but that it isn’t trying to get ads removed completely.

Three UK chief marketing officer Tom Malleschitz said: “This is the next step in our journey to make mobile ads better for our customers. The current ad model is broken. It frustrates customers, eats up their data allowance and can jeopardise their privacy. Something needs to change.”

“We can only achieve change by working with all stakeholders in the advertising industry – customers, advertising networks and publishers – to create a new form of advertising that is better for all parties.”

Despite Three’s insistence it wants to work with the companies that are showing its customers ads, many publishers will view the move as an all-out attack on their businesses.</p>

This could get ugly.
three  mobile  adblocking 
may 2016 by charlesarthur
Adblocking puts $32bn at risk globally by 2019 • Optimal
Rob Leathern:
<p>We recently collaborated with Wells Fargo Securities on a survey of US smartphone users, asking them about their ad blocking preferences, and as a result we produced a US model of display ad revenue lost to blocking ($12.1 billion by 2020, the full model is available with registration here). The data we shared also assisted Wells Fargo (along with MagnaGlobal figures) to produce the following estimates of global ad spend at risk from ad-blocking. You’ll need to be an accredited investor to read their report and see their reasoning, but they gave us permission to reproduce the top-level figures here ($ in millions):

<img src="" width="100%" /></p>

Leathern thinks those figures are "conservative".
may 2016 by charlesarthur
The main reason why people are not already using ad blockers should worry publishers • Business Insider
Lara O'Reilly:
<p>The principal reason why most people haven't yet switched on an ad blocker is simply because they are not aware they could block ads — a stat that should worry businesses that rely on online advertising to make money.

Wells Fargo Securities and — a startup that offers an "ethical" ad blocker — surveyed 1,712 US smartphone users to ask about their attitudes to ad blocking.

Of the 1,320 respondents who don't already block ads (either on desktop or mobile,) 45.6% said they were not aware they could do so.

<img src="" width="100%" />

(That survey number suggests 23% already blocking ads.) Notice also of those not yet blocking, there are 22% who either know of it but can't figure out how, or else intend to when they "have the time". Those who don't mind ads, or don't want to harm content creators: 18.1%, or less than one in five.

Rob Leathern of Optimal <a href="">goes into more detail</a> about what the figures mean.
may 2016 by charlesarthur
The mobile-ad world sucks, and Vungle's chief wants to make it better • VentureBeat
Dean Takahashi:
<p>The popularity of so many ad blockers means one thing to Zain Jaffer, chief executive of Vungle, which helps mobile game and app publishers acquire more users and make money via in-app video ads

“It tells us the advertising world sucks,” said Jaffer in an interview with VentureBeat. “Consumers are so sick of ads being intrusive that a website doesn’t even load. You need an ad blocker just to browse the Web. Advertising has become a game of … it’s the opposite of transparency.”

Vungle tries to generate more revenue for mobile-app makers and get better exposure for brands as they follow consumers into the huge mobile-apps market and the $34 billion mobile-game market. Roughly half of Vungle’s business is in games. Vungle’s video ad technology is used in apps that generate billions of views a month. And Jaffer wants to keep improving return on investment and performance so that the value of the advertising is transparent.</p>

I'm puzzled by how people who want other people to see more adverts always start from those who use adblockers, and say "clearly, people are sick of ads! So we need to figure out how to show them ads."
adblocking  mobile 
may 2016 by charlesarthur
Forbes tests new tactics to combat adblocking • WSJ
Jack Marshall:
<p>For the past couple of weeks, users with ad blockers turned on have gotten another option: they can still access so long as they register for a Forbes account, providing personal information, or log in via Facebook or Google. Forbes might not be able to deliver ads to those users, but obtaining that information instead might be a valuable alternative.

Users who sign in via Facebook agree to share information with Forbes including their email address, name, profile picture, age range, gender and other information that’s “public” from their Facebook profiles.

Users who sign in via Google give Forbes access to their email address, full name and any publicly available information from their Google+ profiles. Forbes is also granted permission to manage users’ Google contacts.

“Email address is always very valuable and, with proper terms of service, figuring out a way to monetize these things in the right way could be interesting,” Mr. DVorkin [of Forbes] said.</p>

"Interesting". Can these people not hear what they sound like?
adblocking  forbes 
may 2016 by charlesarthur
AdMop vs Springer — our story » Medium
Vikram Kriplaney and Sebastian Vieira built a free, then paid-for adblocker for iOS 9:
<p>Axel Springer says that users are not free to see editorial content without ads, and we are violating their copyright because we replace the ads with something else. Despite the fact that shows a landing page which forces the user to buy a subscription or deactivate the ad blocker.

Their real foe is Eyeo GmbH, which has already won six cases. They are not without controversy, since they sell whitelisting. By defeating us and other indie developers, Axel Springer is building a case for the final ruling against Eyeo GmbH.

Firefox, Asus, Opera… everybody is doing ad blocking now.

Axel springer went as far as going against a youtuber because he gave instructions to how to disable’s anti-ad-blocking technology

It seems that if you do something that Axel Springer does not like, you are doing something illegal.</p>
ios9  adblocking 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
The Guardian eyes content blocking, while Eyeo pleads legitimacy with independent verification » The Drum
Ronan Shields:
<p>On the opening day of the week-long event, the IAB hosted a panel session entitled ‘Ad Blocking: A New Deal or a Modern Day Protection Racket?’ where representatives from the indsutry’s buy and sell-side, were joined by privacy and ad blocker advocates to debate the issue.

Tim Gentry, The Guardian’s global revenue director, told attendees the title had recently become “far more persistent” in its charge to counter the effect of ad blockers, and this strategy could eventually include blocking access to content if it detects a user has one installed on their browser.

“With a small section we’ve tried to be far more persistent, asking them to either whitelist us, pay to become a member, tell us you’re a subscriber, and with a small sub-sect of people we’ll start to block access to content,” he said.

“What we’ve seen is that up to two-thirds of ad blocker users are willing to whitelist us, because they want quality content,” added Gentry.

Guy Philipson, CEO, IAB, UK, also recounted how “six-or-seven” publishers were exploring the option of following a similar approach adopted by French and Swedish publishers to act in unison to request that users either whitelist them or switch off their ad blockers altogether, or else be refused access to content. </p>

The incremental moves by the publishers here are like a chess game where they're unsure of the strength of their opponent. Ask nicely? Block back? Offer alternatives? The problem is that no tactics works on more than a third, or fewer, of those who use adblockers. So who's "winning"?
april 2016 by charlesarthur
Saving money by blocking ads » Optimal
<p>Do you have an iPhone and ever go over your carrier’s data plan allowance? (over 30% of us do!). Mostly unbeknownst to us, video and banner ads and hidden tracking URLs are using a lot of our mobile data plan and draining our battery. Use this calculator (defaults are typical for US users) to estimate how much you could save by installing an iOS 9 content blocker, and how many unnecessary URLs are loading on your phone.</p>

Only tricky thing is knowing how much browsing you do when not on Wi-Fi. I don't think most people would have a clue.
iphone  adblocking 
april 2016 by charlesarthur
Why I got rid of Adblock Plus » David Hewson
Hewson is a novelist and journalist:
<p>Ad blockers take away important revenue streams from companies that need them. Only last week the Independent, where I worked during its launch thirty years ago, shut up shop as a print title. I don’t suggest for one moment it would have survived if ad blockers didn’t exist. But it might have done a little better. The Guardian now, like more and more titles, nags you to turn off its ad blocker these days. Given the phenomenal losses it’s incurring — £53m last year — who can blame it? If things don’t turn round it could be the next to go — and what a loss that would be.

So turning off the ad blocker pays a little towards the news I read for free and I’m happy to go along with that idea. But something else changed my mind too, and it was, oddly enough, a speech by the Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, in which he <a href="">described ad-blocking as ‘a modern-day protection racket</a>’. Nor is he the only one to think this.</p>

Whittingdale's ire was actually aimed at Eyeo (purveyor of Adblock Plus); there are however other adblocking solutions which don't use Eyeo's systems. The problems at The Guardian and The Independent aren't caused by adblocking, though.
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Crypto-ransomware spreads via poisoned ads on major websites » Tripwire
Graham Cluley:
<p>Some of the world’s most popular news and entertainment websites have been spreading poisoned adverts to potentially hundreds of thousands of visitors, putting innocent readers at risk of having their computers hit by threats such as ransomware.

Famous sites which displayed the malicious ads and endangered visiting computers include MSN,, the New York Times, AOL and Newsweek.

As a result, researchers at Malwarebytes say that they saw a “huge spike in malicious activity” over the weekend.

Security analysts at TrendLabs and Malwarebytes report that the attack is one of the largest ransomware campaigns seen in years, taking advantage of a recently-updated version of the notorious Angler Exploit Kit to spread malware.

Just last month the Angler Exploit Kit was found to be targeting PCs and Macs after it was updated to take advantage of a known vulnerability in Microsoft Silverlight…

…It seems glaringly apparent to me that there is so much malicious advertising on the internet that anytime you surf even legitimate sites without an ad blocker in place, you are putting your computer’s data at risk.</p>
adblocking  malware  ransomware 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Opera becomes first big browser maker with built-in ad-blocker » Reuters
Eric Auchard:
<p>Norwegian company Opera is introducing a new version of its desktop computer browser that promises to load web pages faster by incorporating ad-blocking, a move that makes reining in advertising a basic feature instead of an afterthought.

Faster loading, increased privacy and security and a desire for fewer distractions are behind the growing demand for ad-blockers.

However, their popularity is cutting into the growth of online marketing for site publishers and corporate brands, who rely on reaching web and mobile users to pay for their content rather than restricting access to paid subscribers.

Opera has a history of introducing innovations that later become common in major browsers such as tabbed browsing and pop-up blocking, which helped users control an earlier generation of in-your-face ads and malware disguised as advertising.</p>

It's that last paragraph that's important: Opera introduced <a href="">tabbed browsing</a> in 2000, and by 2001 it was in Mozilla, then Safari in 2003, and IE in 2006. Adoption of new features could be even faster now.
opera  adblocking 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
We need to save online journalism from ad blocking – and here's how » Alphr
James O'Malley:
<p>Historically, journalism has had two major sources of income: Advertisers and readers. But now publishing is being squeezed from both ends. Thanks to the internet, and the explosion in ‘content’ (that’s what we call it now), people are very reticent to pay to read news, like they would have done for a print newspaper. And now thanks to ad-blockers, fewer people are looking at the adverts.

So what to do? How can a business model be found that will make journalism pay? Is there anything that can save this noble trade?

Bizarrely, the solution to this problem has already been invented. Six years ago. By one of the last people you’d expect to have an interest in paying people for their work.

Flattr was co-founded in 2010 by Peter Sunde, who is better known as one of the co-founders and former spokesperson for The Pirate Bay. Given that his website is responsible for distributing huge swathes of pirated content, you can’t help but wonder if Flattr was his attempt at atonement.

Flattr is a “microdonation” platform. The idea is that you sign up and allocate a fixed amount of cash to pay in every month – say £10 for the sake of argument – and then if you’re reading an article online that you like, you can click the “Flattr” button nestled amongst the existing social media sharing links. At the end of the month, your £10 is then divided up between the publishers of the articles that you’ve chosen to flattr. So if you flattr two articles, they earn £5 each. If you flattr ten, then each gets a pound. And so on.

The genius is that it solves the biggest problem with any micropayment system: Friction.</p>

Neat idea. The problem now is just adoption by publishers and readers (and getting users of adblockers to see it in the first place).
adblocking  flattr 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
How adblockers drive YouTubers to shill for mobile game makers » GamesBeat
Jeff Grubb:
<p>“I think what many people still don’t realize is that: YouTube Red exists largely as an effort to counter Adblock,” PewDiePie <a href="">wrote on his blog</a>. “Using Adblock doesn’t mean you’re clever and above the system. YouTube Red exists because using Adblock has actual consequences.”

The biggest of those consequences is a reduction in the CPMs (cost per 1,000 views) that marketers will pay to YouTube and the video creators. And that dropping value leads to the creation of services like YouTube Red and

“It’s not a secret to anyone that the CPMs people have been earning are dropping lately,” content producer Elena Nizhnik told GamesBeat. “So a lot of gamers that are doing this full-time have been looking for additional ways to get supplemental income. If it’s not direct sponsorships for gear or something brick-and-mortar, many have been looking at doing deals with mobile publishers.”

An estimate from anti-adblock service Pagefair claims that 198 million people use software to black ads on the Web, and that number is growing rapidly. Nizhnik says she makes YouTube videos herself, and the dropping CPMs are affecting her.

“I’ve seen how my earnings have been dropping this year compared to last,” she said. “So many people are using Adblock. And you only monetize the views where Adblock isn’t on.”</p>

The consequence is that they start to push "cost per install" deals from games companies. But do they really believe what they're pushing?
adblocking  youtube 
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Expect lots more publishers to start asking people to turn off their ad blockers » Business Insider
Lara O'Reilly:
<p>The US digital advertising trade body, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB,) has released advice to publishers on how they should deal with the growing number of ad blocker users visiting their sites.

The IAB wants publishers to "DEAL" with it, by taking these four steps:

• D: detect ad blocking, in order to initiate a conversation (The IAB also released an ad blocking detection script for its members to add to their websites on Monday.)

• E: explain the value exchange that advertising enables.

• A: ask for changed behavior in order to maintain an equitable exchange.

• L: lift restrictions or Limit access in response to consumer choice.

In other words, it looks like far more websites are going to start asking users to turn off their ad blocker or pay some sort of subscription or make a micropayment in order to access their content.</p>

M-i-c k-e-y m-o-u-s-e acronyms are nice, but it's a big risk to take that people actually do love your content so very much that they'll take all those ads once more, having stopped. Or will publishers and advertisers just dial back on the ads only for adblocking users? Or for everyone? The inconsistencies multiply.
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Adblocking is a 'modern-day protection racket', says culture secretary » The Guardian
Jane Martinson:
<p>Adblocking companies acting as a “modern-day protection racket” have been slammed by culture secretary John Whittingdale, who offered government support to those such as newspaper websites hit by the technology.

In a speech at the Oxford Media Convention, the culture secretary said the fast-growing use of software that blocked advertising presented an existential threat to the newspaper and music industries.

He vowed to set up a round table involving major publishers, social media groups and adblocking companies in the coming weeks to do something about the problem.

“Quite simply – if people don’t pay in some way for content, then that content will eventually no longer exist,” he said. “And that’s as true for the latest piece of journalism as it is for the new album from Muse.”

“Ten years ago, the music and film industries faced a threat to their very existence from online copyright infringement by illegal file-sharing or pirate sites,” he added.

He said that in the current climate, adblocking potentially posed a “similar threat”.</p>

Important difference: unlike file-sharing or using pirate sites, adblocking is not illicit. And that round table has already happened: Eyeo, which controls AdBlock Plus, had one in February. Notice also that the proposed round table is missing representation from one key group: the users who are blocking ads.
march 2016 by charlesarthur
Fifth of UK adults block ads »
<p>Ad blocking in the UK is growing at the rate of roughly one percentage point a month, as new figures reveal 22% of UK adults are currently using ad blocking software, up from 18% in October.

The data comes from the latest wave of the Internet Advertising Bureau UK's Ad Blocking Report, conducted online among 2,049 adults by YouGov.

The highest level of ad blocking occurred amongst 18-24 year olds (47%), while 45-54 year olds were the least likely to block ads (16%), along with women (14%).

Publishers are adopting a variety of strategies to address the problem, and it appears that, in the UK at least, a straightforward request to turn off can frequently have the desired effect.

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of respondents who had downloaded ad blocking software said they received a notice from a website asking them to turn it off. And over half (54%) said that, in certain situations, they would switch off their ad blocker if a website said it was the only way to access content. And this figure rose to nearly three-quarters (73%) of 18-24 year olds.</p>

One percentage point <em>per month</em>. Wonder what it's like on mobile.
march 2016 by charlesarthur
How to disable ads on your Windows 10 lock screen » How-To Geek
Chris Stobling:
<p>If you’re like me, you might have opened up your Windows 10 laptop today only to see a giant ad for Square Enix’s Rise of the Tomb Raider plastered across your login screen. This is the work of the “Windows Spotlight” feature in your Personalization settings, and thankfully, you can turn it off for good.</p>

adblocking  advertising  windows 
february 2016 by charlesarthur
In 2016, 14% of users are blocking ads » Medium
Rob Leathern:
<p> is building an adblocking service to help consumers, and we also give major websites tools to measure the rate at which users are blocking ads on their pages.

Below is a summary of data we’ve collected anonymously from over 30 million users from 1/1/16 to 2/13/16. We plan to release more aggregate information in the near future, especially to understand the many differences between mobile and desktop ad blocking. On this latter point for now I will only say that desktop adblocking is approximately 10x more prevalent than mobile adblocking (for the time being).</p>

11.7% in the US; 16% in the UK. Poland, Ukraine, Greece, Czech Republic are way above, in the 25-30% range.
february 2016 by charlesarthur
Wired Is Launching an Ad-Free Website to Appease Ad Blockers - Bloomberg Business
Joshua Brustein:
<p>More than 1 in 5 people who visit Wired Magazine’s website use ad-blocking software. Starting in the next few weeks, the magazine will give those readers a choice: stop blocking ads, pay to look at a version of the site that is unsullied by advertisements, or go away. It’s the kind of move that was widely predicted last fall after Apple allowed ad-blocking in the new version of its mobile software, but most publishers have shied away from it so far. 

Wired plans to charge $3.99 for four weeks of ad-free access to its website. In many places where ads appear, the site will simply feature more articles, said Mark McClusky, the magazine’s head of product and business development. The portion of his readership that uses ad blockers are likely to be receptive to a discussion about their  responsibility to support the businesses they rely on for  information online, McClusky said.</p>

I'd like to see McClusky's spreadsheet where it shows that every user who accesses the Wired site is worth $1 per week. Then we can talk. I'd guess the real number is perhaps one-fiftieth that size.
wired  adblocking 
february 2016 by charlesarthur
Google Boots Ad Blockers From Google Play | TechCrunch
Sarah Perez:
<p>According to Rockship Apps founder and CEO Brian Kennish, maker of Adblock Fast, Google’s app reviews team informed him the app was being removed for violating “Section 4.4” of the Android Developer Distribution Agreement.

This is the section that informs developers they can’t release apps that interfere with “the devices, servers, networks, or other properties or services of any third-party including, but not limited to, Android users, Google or any mobile network operator.” 

If that text sounds a little broad-reaching and vague, that’s because it is. It’s also what allows Google to react to changes in the industry, like this one, on the fly.

Kennish says that Google’s app reviews team informed him that he could resubmit after modifying his app so it didn’t “interfere with another app, service or product in an unauthorized manner.”

“We’ve been trying to contact Google through their public channels since Monday, and I tried through private ones all day yesterday…but we haven’t gotten any official response from a human – just autoresponders,” notes Kennish.

He suspects that Adblock Fast was the first to be pulled from Google’s app store because it had climbed the charts so quickly and had achieved a 4.25 rating. Kennish says that the app had around 50,000 installs at the time of its removal.

In addition, the company could have gotten on Google’s radar by pushing out an update that offered a better user experience. (Some people didn’t realize it only worked on Samsung’s 4.0 browser and left 1-star reviews. The update was meant to better highlight the app’s requirements.)

Meanwhile, as of the time of writing, other ad blockers are still live, including Crystal and Adblock Plus (Samsung Browser). However, that may not be the case for long.

Crystal’s developer Dean Murphy also just submitted an update that’s just been declined by Google’s app review team for the same reason cited above. Again, Google references section 4.4 of the Developer Agreement as the reason for stopping the update from going live.

“I have appealed the update rejection, as I assume that I am rejected for ‘interfering’ with Samsung Internet Browser, citing the developer documentation that Samsung have for the content blocking feature,” explains Murphy. “I’m still awaiting their reply.”</p>

Wow, that was fast. Crystal was still there on Wednesday. This is going to ratchet up tensions between Google and Samsung (again); in the comments on the Verge article on this topic (which has less detail) there are people who switched to iOS because of adblocking, or are considering moving back because they can't get it on Android. A small but possibly significant group.

Google has clearly set its face against adblocking on mobile, but the pressure is starting to build up behind the dam.
android  google  adblocking 
february 2016 by charlesarthur
Following Apple’s move, Samsung rolls out adblocking to Android devices » TechCrunch
Sarah Perez:
<p>Soon after Samsung’s announcement of <a href="">an API for content blocking</a>], ad blocker makers launched versions of their apps for supported Samsung phones. This includes Crystal and Adblock Fast, which were among the first out of the gate. The latter claims over 200,000 users for its app that’s also live on Chrome, Opera and Safari. It offers seven optimized filtering rules which make websites run, on average, 51 percent faster, the company says.

Crystal offers a similar filter list, and blocks tracking technology, malware and social networking annoyances, while also offering users the ability to support sites that conform to the Acceptable Ads criteria by allowing non-intrusive advertising.

Expect more to follow. The question now will be whether or not Samsung owners will rush to install these applications, as the iOS audience once did. Even if they don’t show up in droves, the move by Samsung, which had a 22.2% share of the smartphone market in 2015, could see other Android smartphone makers doing the same, as the tech could be seen as a competitive advantage.</p>

Only for Samsung Galaxy devices running Android 4.0 and above, but that's still a lot. Samsung is clearly responding to Apple; how long before adblocking is natively included in mobile browsers, and how long before it's enabled by default?
adblocking  samsung 
february 2016 by charlesarthur
Unpacked: global ad blocker usage on smartphones » Tech.pinions
Ben Bajarin (on a paywalled piece, hence no diagram below) has data much the same as Global Web Index:
<p>over 20% of the global internet audience is already using an ad blocker on their smartphone. 16.1% have not begun using an ad blocker but are interested in doing so. Just over 30% haven’t used an ad blocker and aren’t interested in going through the trouble to install one.

In light of what Matt and I discovered, I decided to slice the answers by demographic to see how different age groups answered the same question.

In line with the discovery Matt [Richman] and I made, ad blocking is most common among the millennial demographic. I can’t stress enough how valuable this demographic is from an advertising standpoint. As ad blocking becomes more the norm with this group, on smartphones and on PCs, it will require significant adjustment. What is also interesting is many of these ad blocking services are not free. Currently over 25% of millennials using an ad blocker paid for it. This has massive consequences for this with advertising-supported business models.

I’ve articulated before my conviction that free-with-ads business models may become things of the past. They certainly are no longer viable in emerging markets. </p>

The point about emerging markets is important: India is a big source of adblocking on mobile, for example.
january 2016 by charlesarthur
37% of mobile users are blocking ads » Global Web Index
Jason Mander:
<p>According to GWI’s latest wave of research, it’s a significant 37% of mobile users who say they’ve <a href="">blocked ads on their mobile</a> within the last month. That’s a pretty sizable number if you consider that these tools have only relatively recently come to the attention of consumers. It also shows just how keen users are to improve their mobile experience and to prevent their data allowances and battery lives from being drained.

No less striking is that another 42% of users say they haven’t blocked ads so far but are interested in doing so in the future. That means almost 80% of the mobile audience could be engaging with blockers before too long – a stat which underlines why this is a trend which is unlikely to burn out any time soon.</p>

Big numbers. People have responded by saying that they're not seeing those figures, but equally adblockers often block Google Analytics too - so adblocking users are ghosts; you'd have to check against server logs to see what's really happening. GWI has a <a href="">large sample base</a>, weighted towards the US and UK, though it doesn't say how many were sampled for this particular survey.
january 2016 by charlesarthur
Brave is the name, ad-blocking the game of new browser » Computerworld
Former Mozilla CEO (for 11 days) Brendan Eich is behind a new browser for desktop and mobile which blocks all ads and tracking by default:
<p>"We are building a new browser and a connected private cloud service with anonymous ads," Eich <a href="">said</a>.

In effect, Brave will first scrub websites of most of their ads and all tracking, then replace those ads with its own. But the latter will be aimed not at individuals but at the anonymous aggregate of the browser's user base. If enough people gravitate to the browser, Brave will share its ad revenue with users and content publishers.

"We will target ads based on browser-side intent signals phrased in a standard vocabulary, and without a persistent user id or highly re-identifiable cookie," Eich said. "By default Brave will insert ads only in a few standard-sized spaces. We find those spaces via a cloud robot."

No user data will be recorded or stored by Brave, Eich promised.

Elsewhere, Eich said that 55% of Brave's revenue would be shared with site publishers, and 15% with users, who could then turn that money over to their favorite sites or keep it.

Al Hilwa, an analyst with research firm IDC, applauded the concept of creating an alternate revenue stream from traditional advertising, but wondered whether the browser could compete, even in the niche that Eich described. "This is a laudable idea, but fighting 'free' is always risky," said Hilwa in an email reply to questions.</p>

Not sure the world has an appetite for a new browser, but one can envisage adblocking becoming built in and then enabled, just as pop-up blocking in browsers went from "pop-up what?" to "optional" to "on by default".
brave  browser  adblocking 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
IAB dis-invites us, disses compromise and buries dissent » Adblock Plus
Ben Willians:
<p>Adblock Plus has some very good relationships within the IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau), which is the trade organization that represents advertisers and publishers. We coach many IAB members about our Acceptable Ads guidelines for reasonable, nonintrusive ads, and we have spoken on some IAB panel discussions (especially in the UK).

Unfortunately, the top brass at the US IAB don’t want us coming to their Leadership Summit next week in Palm Desert, California. We attended last year, and we signed up again for their 2016 meeting … including paying the hefty entrance fee. We were fully confirmed and they even listed us on their website as a participant.

Then this week we got one of those sudden emails that land in your inbox innocently, then floor you with something weird, unbelievable or ridiculous when you click on them. This one came from an unfamiliar IAB address, and it informed us that our registration for the summit was canceled and our fee refunded.</p>

The IAB hasn't said anything about why, as of the time of this post. Apart from a statement which said that “The IAB Annual Leadership Meeting is for serious conversation among important digital industry stakeholders.” Does it think adblocking isn't serious, or isn't important?
adblockplus  adblocking 
january 2016 by charlesarthur
Trends 2016: adblocking is here to stay » Global Web Index
Jason Mander:
<p>Adblocking has captured a lot of headlines in recent months, despite the fact it’s still just 28% of online adults who say they are deploying one of these tools.

The heaviest consumers of the internet, 16-24s, are at the very forefront of the trend, with over a third of them blocking ads. But that presents something of a paradox: older groups are the most concerned about their privacy and personalized recommendations/ads and yet are the least likely to be blocking ads.

That’s surely a symptom of awareness; currently, older groups are the least likely to know what ad-blockers are. As such tools become more mainstream, there can be little doubt that usage levels will creep upwards and show fewer variations by age. It’s certainly telling that 55-64s are already about as likely as 16-24s to be deleting cookies on a regular basis, an action which is rather more established and well-known among internet users.

In light of these trends, trying to resist the spread of ad-blocking feels rather futile.</p>
december 2015 by charlesarthur
iPhone users in India embrace ad blocking: survey » Livemint
Dhanya Ann Thoppil:
<p>iPhone users in India are warming up to the US phone maker’s move to introduce ad blocking on its devices, as mobile banner blocking gains grounds in one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world.

A recent survey by market researcher GlobalWebIndex shows that 42% of India’s iPhone 6 users use the software to block ads on their devices compared with a global average of 31%…

…“There’s a sizable audience who are likely to adopt a similar approach on their smartphones and this is a behaviour which could spread quickly across devices, which could spell the end of the mobile ad banner,” the survey said…

…India ranked fourth among the 34 countries surveyed by the market researcher—after Russia, Poland and Indonesia—in terms of adoption of ad block.

To be sure, Apple accounts for only a tiny share of India’s smartphone market. According to Counterpoint Research, Apple has a 1.5% share of the 190m smartphones sold in India thus far. Android-based devices accounted for 93% of the market.</p>

Interesting split. Bandwidth is really expensive in India. But so of course are iPhones.
adblocking  india  iphone 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Focus by Firefox: content blocking for the open web » The Mozilla Blog
Denelle Dixon-Thayer, Mozilla's chief legal and business officer:
<p>We want to build an Internet that respects users, puts them in control, and creates and maintains trust. Too many users have lost trust and lack meaningful controls over their digital lives. This loss of trust has impacted the ecosystem – sometimes negatively. Content blockers offer a way to rebuild that trust by empowering users. At the same time, it is important that these tools are used to create a healthy, open ecosystem that supports commercial activity, instead of being used to lock down the Web or to discriminate against certain industries or content. That’s why we articulated our <a href="">three content blocking principles</a>…

…we’ve based a portion of our product on a list provided by our partner Disconnect under the General Public License. We think Disconnect’s public list provides a good starting point that demonstrates the value of open data. It bases its list on a <a href="">public definition</a> of tracking and publicly identifies any <a href="">changes</a> it makes to that list, so users and content providers can see and understand the standards it is applying. The fact that those standards are public means that content providers – in this case those that are tracking users – have an opportunity to improve their practices. If they do so, Disconnect has a <a href="">process</a> in place for content providers to become unblocked, creating an important feedback loop between users and content providers.</p>

Disconnect is the company whose product was <a href="">banned from Google Play</a> for "interfering with" other apps. Disconnect formally <a href="">complained in the EU</a> in June, but hasn't apparently done so with the FTC in the US.
ios  mobile  mozilla  adblocking 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
The mobile adblocking apocalypse hasn’t arrived (at least not yet) » Nieman Journalism Lab
Madeline Welsh, Joseph Lichterman and Shan Wang:
<p>Even sites with unusually high desktop blocking rates — think German sites, or technology sites — aren’t seeing huge numbers on mobile. About a quarter of all Internet users in Germany use an adblocker, but the percentage is even higher for some sites like Golem, a German-language tech site that’s seen an outright majority of its users blocking.

“As far as I can remember, it’s always been an issue for us,” said the site’s editor-in-chief, Benjamin Sterbenz. “As soon as adblock software was available, our readers installed the software and experimented with it. I’m sure that a lot of our readers also contributed to the development of adblocking software.”

But compared to adblocking on desktop, Golem readers using adblocking technology on mobile is in the single digits. Though it saw a little bump in September with the release of iOS 9, it’s otherwise remained constant, which Sterbenz said surprised him.

At Ars Technica, the Condè Nast-owned tech site, about 6% of mobile users block ads, “which is just a bit higher than what it was previously,” Ken Fisher, the site’s founder and editor-in-chief said in an email. On desktop, about 30% of users block ads, he said.</p>

Odd, in light of the preceding.
adblocking  advertising 
december 2015 by charlesarthur
Axel Springer goes after iOS 9 adblocker in new legal battle » TechCrunch
Sarah Perez:
<p>German media giant Axel Springer, which operates top European newspapers like Bild and Die Welt, and who recently bought a controlling stake in Business Insider for $343m, has a history of fighting back against ad-blocking software that threatens its publications’ business models. Now, it’s taking that fight to mobile ad blockers, too. According to the makers of the iOS content blocker dubbed “Blockr,” which is one of several new iOS 9 applications that allow users to block ads and other content that slows down web browsing, Axel Springer’s WELTN24 subsidiary took them to court in an attempt to stop the development and distribution of the Blockr software.</p>

Final ruling on 10 December; court seems likely (based on preliminary hearing) to side with Blockr.
november 2015 by charlesarthur
O2 explores ad blocking across its network » Business Insider
O2 is one of the UK's four big carriers, with about 25m customers:
<p>O2 executives told Business Insider the company is actively testing using technology that can block mobile ads at a network-level before they even get served. In addition, the company is considering whether to offer customers easy access to ad blocking apps and browser extensions. O2 is also working with advertisers to improve the standard of mobile advertising.

The hope is that the carrier can help customers filter out bad advertising that interrupts mobile browsing, eats up consumers' data allowances, and ultimately puts a strain on its own network infrastructure. One ad blocking company estimates that ads are gobbling up between 10-50% of customer's data plans each month.</p>

This comes after EE, the biggest UK carrier, said it was looking at the same thing. Notice that "working with advertisers to improve the standard of mobile advertising": no doubt such work has a price.
adblocking  o2 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
EE proposes restrictions on mobile adverts » Telegraph
Christopher Williams:
<p>EE, Britain’s biggest mobile operator, is considering introducing technology that will hand smartphone users the power to control the advertising they see online, in a clampdown that would cause major upheaval in the £2bn mobile advertising market.

Olaf Swantee, EE’s chief executive, has launched a strategic review that will decide whether the operator should help its 27 million customers to restrict the quantity and type of advertising that reaches their devices, amid concern over increasingly intrusive practices.

The review will look at options for creating new tools for subscribers that would allow them to block some forms of advertising on the mobile web and potentially within apps, such as banners that pop up on top of pages or videos that play automatically. EE customers could also get the ability to control the overall volume of advertising.

Mr Swantee told The Sunday Telegraph: “We think it’s important that, over time, customers start to be offered more choice and control over the level and intensity of ads on mobile.

“For EE, this is not about adblocking, but about starting an important debate around customer choice, controls and the level of ads customers receive."</p>

It's about adblocking. And potentially creating a whitelist.. in paid-for manner?
ee  mobiel  adblocking 
november 2015 by charlesarthur
Content paywalls on the agenda for digital news sites »
Matthew Garrahan:
<p>Business Insider, which was acquired by German media group Axel Springer last month for close to $390m already charges for its research service and is now on course to be one of the first digital only news operations to erect a paywall around some of its general content. John Ore, Business Insider’s product manager, said in a recent <a href="">blog post</a> that the company was planning a broad “subscription offering” for readers “who prefer to pay us directly”.

Sweeping changes to the online advertising market mean other free news sites may follow suit. Sir Martin Sorrell thinks all newspapers should charge for content: the chief executive of WPP, the world’s largest advertising group said this week that paywalls were “the way to go”.

The problem, he says, is the lack of growth in digital advertising — an issue which is likely to get worse as ad blocking software grows in popularity. Ad blockers pose a real threat to the revenues generated by news sites. Meanwhile, rampant online ad fraud and the fact that brands often do not know whether their campaigns are being seen by real people, has shaken confidence in an industry that could do without the additional anxiety.</p>

Would Business Insider try to block people using adblockers, as Axel Springer has?
paywall  adblocking 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
Adblock Plus and (a little) more: Smells like censorship, Big Brother » AdBlock Plus
Eyeo, which runs Adblock Plus, has been accused of behaviour tantamount to blackmail by saying it will allow "acceptable ads" from some sites that pay it money. Axel Springer in Germany, meanwhile, decided to institute an "non-paywall" which would prevent people using an adblocker from seeing its content on etc. Then:
<p>One of the independent moderators of <a href="">our free and open forum</a> discussed a workaround to the blockade, because they still wanted to access the site. Basically, they just talked about how to write a specific filter that users could add to their ad blocker to get around “Axel’s Wall.”

Last week, Axel Springer demanded that we take down those forum posts, in effect demanding that we censor what people had written on our own forum. Our response basically channeled former basketball player/current journalist Jalen Rose: Nah … not gonna be able to do it.

Just a few minutes ago, a court in Hamburg served us with papers FORCING us to remove these specific forum posts. Apparently Axel Springer felt so strongly that they went to a court to get people to stop saying things they didn’t like. This is not without precedent: <a href="">this week they sent a YouTuber a similar order</a> after he decided to make a video describing how to circumvent …. the Wall.</p>

<a href="">Damn you, Internet Archive</a>.
october 2015 by charlesarthur
City AM becomes first UK newspaper to ban ad blocker users » The Guardian
Mark Sweney:
<p>City AM is launching a trial from Tuesday that will blur out text of stories on for desktop users of Firefox browsers who are detected using ad blocking software.

Readers will be encounter a message saying: “We are having trouble showing you adverts on this page, which may be a result of ad blocker software being installed on your device. As City AM relies on advertising to fund its journalism, please disable any adblockers from running on to see the rest of this content.”

Martin Ashplant, the digital director at City AM, said about 8% of the site’s 1.2 million monthly browsers use Firefox on desktop and around 20% of those have ad blocking software installed.

The trial currently does not include any other browser types or non-desktop devices such as mobile phones and tablets.</p>

Let's see if we can guess: adblocker users will move to different browsers? Also, it's doing this for 1.6% of its users - ie 19,200 people? Perhaps trying to get the thin end of the wedge in there.
adblocking  cityam  firefox 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
Why it's OK to block ads » Practical Ethics
James Williams:
<p>Think about the websites, apps, or communications platforms you use most. What behavioral metric do you think they’re trying to maximize in their design of your attentional environment? I mean, what do you think is actually on the dashboards in their weekly product design meetings?

Whatever metric you think they’re nudging you toward—how do you know? Wouldn’t you like to know? Why shouldn’t you know? Isn’t there an entire realm of transparency and corporate responsibility going undemanded here?

I’ll give you a hint, though: it’s probably not any of the goals you have for yourself. Your goals are things like “spend more time with the kids,” “learn to play the zither,” “lose twenty pounds by summer,” “finish my degree,” etc. Your time is scarce, and you know it.

Your technologies, on the other hand, are trying to maximize goals like “Time on Site,” “Number of Video Views,” “Number of Pageviews,” and so on. Hence clickbait, hence auto-playing videos, hence avalanches of notifications. Your time is scarce, and your technologies know it.

But these design goals are petty and perverse. They don’t recognize our humanity because they don’t bother to ask about it in the first place. </p>

Neatly argued, by stepping right back from the debate as framed by the ad industry.
advertising  ethics  internet  adblocking 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
Carriers are making more from mobile ads than publishers are » Medium
Rob Leathern crunched the numbers, based on the NY Times article about sites' ad heft:
<p>For each site, take Mb/minute x Avg per/Mb mobile data cost, and weight the average by each site’s monthly unique mobile visitors (so heavier data-using sites get more weight in our calculation) and normalize to one minute of time on each site, for a value ranging from $0.01 to $0.24 per minute. Compare that figure to our average revenue of $0.15/hour = $0.0025/minute and weight the average to get the result:

<em>16.6x more in data costs to the user than mobile ad revenue to these top 50 news sites on average</em></p>

Even if it isn't exactly accurate, it's showing an order of magnitude difference. Publishers get an absolute pittance from ads. Then again, people spend very little time on them - Leathern's data (from public sources) says it's about 3.5 minutes per month.
adblocking  advertising  mobile 
october 2015 by charlesarthur
The death of advertising and the future of advertising » Tech.pinions
Ben Bajarin:
<p>our research indicates the extremely valuable 18-35 yr old demographic ranks highest in our surveys of those who use an ad blocker. In the US particularly, 4 in 10 millennials admit to blocking internet advertising. Anyone in marketing will tell you this age bracket is highly sought after by marketers. In follow-up interviews I’ve had with this demographic, one of the driving motivations for use of an ad blocker is so they can block ads on YouTube. Watching videos on YouTube is a hefty part of millennials’ weekly activity and many indicated to me their desire to skip ads and get right to the video was centered on their feeling ads were a waste of time. They were going to YouTube to see a short video and did not feel a 5 or 15-second ad before a video was an efficient use of their time. I also asked millennials how they found out they could block ads on the web and the most common answer was from a friend. It seems ad blockers are going viral with many US millennials and it is unlikely this trend loses steam any time soon.</p>

Remember too that those young millennials are highly likely to be using an iPhone - where they can now get an adblocker too.
october 2015 by charlesarthur
The cost of mobile ads on 50 news websites » The New York Times
Gregor Aisch, Wilson Andrews and Josh Keller:
<p>Ad blockers, which Apple first allowed on the iPhone in September, promise to conserve data and make websites load faster. But how much of your mobile data comes from advertising? We measured the mix of advertising and editorial on the mobile home pages of the top 50 news websites – including ours – and found that more than half of all data came from ads and other content filtered by ad blockers.</p>

It's a hell of a graphic. The "cost to load" data is eye-opening: it's pretty much always far, far bigger than that of the editorial. (Why? I mean, one comes for the editorial, including pictures; why are ads so much bigger?) The Guardian comes a long way down the list - as in, it has a very low ad load - which might be, I suspect, because the US version of the site doesn't yet have that many ads.

There's an <a href="">accompanying article by Brian X Chen</a>, which also appeared in print.

Note too that articles like this fulfils one of my expectations ahead of the launch of iOS 9: it spreads the word of the existence of this facility on iOS, which will lead to Android users wanting to know how they can get it too.
october 2015 by charlesarthur
How ad-blocking software could revolutionise disabled people’s lives » The Guardian
Anna Bawden:
<p>For people with photosensitive epilepsy, frequently flashing or flickering images could trigger or increase the risk of a seizure, while automatic advertising can be distressing for those with learning disabilities because it hinders concentration and therefore comprehension of the content they are trying to consume.

Blind and visually impaired people can also have problems. “If you are blind or visually impaired and using text to speech software on your device, autoplaying animations or video that includes music or audio makes some web pages all but impossible to access,” says Robin Christopherson, head of digital inclusion at charity AbilityNet, <a href="">in his latest blog</a>. “The audio that automatically starts playing completely obscures the speech of the screen reader. This means that blind people can’t hear the screen reader and therefore they can’t navigate to the ‘stop’ button to stop the noise.”</p>

Shall we call them disability unblockers?
adblocking  disability 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Digicel first mobile group to block ads in battle against Google »
Robert Cookson:
<p>Mobile operator Digicel has started blocking advertisements on its networks in the Caribbean as part of a plan to force internet companies including Google, Yahoo and Facebook to pay to access its customers.

The company is controlled by Denis O’Brien, Ireland’s richest man, and is the first mobile operator to deploy the blocking technology against big Silicon Valley groups that rely on advertising.

Digicel suggested that if those companies want to unblock their ads, they should contribute to the costs of the mobile telecoms infrastructure required to deliver them.

“Companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook talk a great game and take a lot of credit when it comes to pushing the idea of broadband for all — but they put no money in,” said Mr O’Brien. “Instead they unashamedly trade off the efforts and investments of network operators like Digicel to make money for themselves."</p>

This feels wrong - if the countries where it's done have any sort of view on net neutrality, they would have to intervene over this.
digicel  mobile  advertising  adblocking 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
IAB enters publicity, engineering war against ad blockers – Special: Advertising Week 2015 » Advertising Age
Nat Ives:
<p>The IAB has come up with code, for example, that it said will help small publishers detect consumers who show up with ad blocking activated. "We believe this script will actually help enable them in their fight just by enabling their ability to detect," said Scott Cunningham, senior VP at IAB and general manager of the IAB Tech Lab, at a press conference during the annual IAB Mixx conference, which coincides with Advertising Week.
Related Stories

Some publishers that see ad-blocking visitors arrive greet them with dialogue boxes encouraging a change of heart or, failing that, perhaps becoming paid subscribers. But the open architecture of many web pages has allowed ad blockers to hide even those dialogue boxes, Mr. Cunningham said. The IAB is recommending that publishers switch to more secure protocols to prevent that.</p>

Going to war with people because they're not your customers isn't the way to persuade them to become your customers.
september 2015 by charlesarthur
You can now turn off ads on Techdirt » Techdirt
Mike Masnick:
<p>We've even been approached by multiple companies who claim to offer a form of ad blocker blocker, that will either insert new ads even when users have ad blockers, or otherwise pester users with ad blockers turned on.

This seems like the exact wrong approach. It's somewhat reminiscent of the way the RIAA and MPAA reacted to the internet challenging their business models. Rather than listen, recognize what the public wanted and adapt, they whined, screamed about ethics and went to court. And how's that worked out for everyone? We've always said that those who adapt to these challenges are likely to do better, and part of that means actually listening to your fans and helping them do what they want. So that's what we're doing: if you choose to disable ads, you just need to go to your preferences and click a button and that should do it.</p>

Such a smart move. Masnick has built a strong community at Techdirt, and so offering this - while pointing out gently that it costs money to run the site, and there are ways to donate - is a terrific way forward.
adblocking  advertising 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Marissa Mayer's take on ad blocking: 'It hurts the Web experience' » Digiday
Ricardo Bilton:
<p>The Yahoo CEO told an Advertising Week audience that ads, particularly those tied to people’s interest and browsing history, actually improve the experience of using the Web rather than hurt it.

“I think that for anyone that uses their browser’s incognito mode and starts getting untargeted ads or no ads at all, the experience on the Web becomes a lot less rich. I personally think it’s a mistake to install ad blockers,” she said at an IAB event during Advertising Week in New York City on Monday. “If I have friends or family members asking if they should install them, I tell them ‘please don’t because I think that your experience on the Web will get worse’.”</p>

As Bilton then points out, Yahoo was responsible for serving malware to millions of people through its ads for nearly a week in August. Those using adblockers will have been fine.

But, you know, tell people what they want to hear.
adblocking  mayer  yahoo 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
On Acceptable Ads » Murphy Apps
Dean Murphy, author of the Crystal content blocker:
<p>There has been a lot of confusion and mis-reporting going on today regarding Crystal allowing advertising. I'm hoping this post will clarify the information.

-What will be changing? 

In my first update (6-10 weeks time?) there will be two new features. A user managed whitelist, where you the user can specify a list of domains that you would like to support and an option to enable/disable Acceptable Ads on the websites you visit.

You are totally free to use all/any/none of these features as you see fit.

-What are acceptable ads? 

Acceptable Ads is an initiative, supported by 3 of my favourite websites  (Reddit, DuckDuckGo, Stack Exchange), that encourages and promotes the use of better advertising on the web. They have 5 rules for publishers and advertisers to stick to: 

• Acceptable Ads are not annoying.<br />• Acceptable Ads do not disrupt or distort the page content we're trying to read.<br />• Acceptable Ads are transparent with us about being an ad.<br />• Acceptable Ads are effective without shouting at us.<br />• Acceptable Ads are appropriate to the site that we are on.</p>

His reasoning: as a lone developer, he can't keep up; Eyeo, maker of Adblock Plus, can. Eyeo will pay him an ongoing fee.
adblocking  crystal 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Adblock Fast » App Store
<p>Adblock Fast is a free, open-source ad blocker!

Just as webpages grew bloated with ads, so too have ad blockers grown bloated with little-used filtering rules and features that sap their speed and hog your device’s disk space, CPU cycles, and memory. Adblock Fast runs an optimized ruleset to accelerate pages more but consume less system resources than other ad blockers do.</p>

Well that was pretty rapid price deflation.
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Mail Online digital advertising slows down to 16% annual growth » The Guardian
Mark Sweney:
<p>Stephen Daintith, finance director at DMGT [which owns the Daily Mail and Mail Online], said the company expects Mail Online to “comfortably” pass £70m for its full financial year to the end of September.

The company has previously said that it was aiming to make £80m in revenue this year, although it has said this is not a “hard target”.

The slowdown prompted analysts at Exane to publish a note to investors earlier this month warning that Mail Online was likely to miss its stated revenue target of £100m by the end of next year.

“We see the recent revenue slowdown of Mail Online (despite strong audience growth) as more structural than cyclical, with mobile, ad blocking and social media all bringing new challenges to monetisation,” said William Packer, analyst at Exane. “We now expect Mail Online to miss their £100m revenue target.”

Daintith admitted that given the slowdown, hitting £100m next year was now a “big goal”.</p>

Never seen adblocking mentioned before in an analyst note, but this is quite a slowdown; previously it was 50%.
media  dailymail  adblocking 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Ad blocking: the unnecessary internet apocalypse » Advertising Age
Randall Rothenberg is president and chief executive of the Interactive Advertising Bureau:
<p>Let's take these challenges in order. Advertising (as everyone reading these words knows well) pays for the ability for nearly anyone around the world to type in any URL and have content of unimaginable variety appear on a screen. Advertising also subsidizes the cost of apps, which can take hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce, but are often free or low-priced.

Without advertising, digital content and services either will vanish, or the cost for their production and distribution will come directly from consumers' wallets.

Of even greater importance is the impact on the economy itself. Advertising represents $350 billion of the U.S. gross national product, and consumers depend on it to help make $9 trillion of annual spending decisions. "Advertising helps the economy function smoothly," said Nobel Laureate economists Kenneth Arrow and George Stigler. "It keeps prices low and facilitates the entry of new products and new firms into the market."

Ad blocking disrupts this engine of competition. I wish I were crying wolf, but I'm not. Some websites, particularly those with millennial audiences, are already losing up to 40% of their ad revenue because of ad blocking. Our own IAB research found at least 34% of U.S. adults use ad blockers.</p>

Good grief, where to start?<br />(1) Content was online long before advertising shoved its sweaty arse in front of us;<br />(2) Advertising doesn't pay for smartphones, PCs or internet connectivity;<br />(3) advertising doesn't subsidise the production, it subsidises the presentation of many apps - but substantial numbers are simply paid-for (think of UsTwo's Monument Valley);<br />(4) the cost of content etc already comes from our wallets, because the cost of advertising is a factor in any company's costs and so its products<br />(5) adblocking isn't going to kill the whole advertising industry, just the bit that behaves unreasonably online<br />(6) adblocking actually intensifies competition, because it creates a new space where would-be advertisers have to figure out how to get their message across<br />(7) wouldn't it have been good to notice that your members were pissing people off before desktop adblocking had been adopted by a third of one section of your audience, Mr Rothenberg?
adblocking  iab 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Malware with your news? Forbes website victim of malvertising attack » FireEye Inc
<p>From Sept. 8 to Sept. 15, 2015, the website was serving content from a third-party advertising service that had been manipulated to redirect viewers to the Neutrino and Angler exploit kits.  We notified Forbes, who worked quickly to correct the issue.

This type of malicious redirection is known as malvertising, where ad networks and content publishers are abused and leveraged to serve ads that redirect users to malicious sites.</p>

I promise that FireEye is not paying for its position here or in the next links. It's just on top of the relevant news. Also: pretty good case for desktop adblocking there.
malvertising  adblocking 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Ad tech always wins: Ad blocker users are the new hot ad-targeting segment » Digiday
Lucia Moses:
<p>“We want to find ways to reach these consumers in ways that suit how they want to be communicated to and with,” Laura Mete Frizzell, gm of search/analytics/media at 360i. “They are part of an audience for which the brand is relevant and can offer utility.”

The potential to target ad blockers is “on the radar,” said Jon Anselmo, senior vp, managing director of digital innovation at MediaVest. “People’s behaviors, including ad blocking, do provide us insights about who they are and what they care about. A tech-savvy nature could absolutely be one such insight.”

On the seller side, too, the idea of targeting blockers is starting to pop up in conversations with publishers like Complex, said its CEO and founder Rich Antoniello. “Those are the hardest to reach people,” he said. One response by Complex has been to use the space normally given over to ads to present ad blocker users with a message asking for their emails to target them regardless.</p>

Mark that last one, because it must surely be the dumbest thing you'll see today. (Via <a href="">Rowland Manthorpe</a>.)
september 2015 by charlesarthur
600 ad companies blacklist The Pirate Bay » Music Week
Coral Williamson:
<p>The Pirate Bay has been blacklisted by more than 600 advertisers.

The blacklist, comprising 10 sites so far, is the result of a partnership between anti-piracy group Rights Alliance and Swedish Advertisers, an association of advertisers with more than 600 member companies.

Swedish Advertisers has published a list of  recommendations designed to keep advertisers away from unlicensed sites, including observing good ethics, avoiding advertising contracts that include bulk sales, and considering where ads are ultimately placed.</p>

OK, I have to ask. Is it unethical to use adblockers on torrent sites?
piratebay  adblocking  ad 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Advertising is unwanted, day 2 » Scripting News
Dave Winer, in a followup to a post of a day earlier, suggesting news orgs need to find new ways to bring their readers together:
<p>Here's an idea for a geography-based news org (i.e. a newspaper) - give readers a place to talk about movies, and then sponsor movie nights based on their interests. Encourage people to provide lists of their favorite movies and do some collaborative filtering. Then collate the reviews and present them alongside your professional reviewer's post. Work with the movie industry. It can have incredible promotional value, for the movie, the theater, you, the whole idea of going to the movies (as opposed to watching on your home TV, phone or tablet). What's great for your community is they get to meet people who like the same kinds of movies they do. And you get to know who they are! It's such a huge, easy win, all-around. That more local news orgs haven't done it tell you how stuck in old print models we still are. This is an example of a kind of idea that really can only blossom online.</p>

Creating community is a great idea. But what if the community lives all over the world? How does this physically-based idea work?
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Just doesn’t feel good »
After two days, in which his adblocking app Peace (which used Ghostery's blocklist) had been top of the App Store, Marco Arment pulled it:
<p>I still believe that ad blockers are necessary today, and I still think Ghostery is the best one, but I’ve learned over the last few crazy days that I don’t feel good making one and being the arbiter of what’s blocked.

Ad-blocking is a kind of war — a first-world, low-stakes, both-sides-are-fortunate-to-have-this-kind-of-problem war, but a war nonetheless, with damage hitting both sides. I see war in the Tao Te Ching sense: it should be avoided when possible; when that isn’t possible, war should be entered solemnly, not celebrated.

Even though I’m “winning”, I’ve enjoyed none of it. That’s why I’m withdrawing from the market.</p>

His key problem, I think, was that it blocked the Deck ads on his own site, which he'd approved, and he couldn't reasonably allow an exception for just that. I'm sure he'll continue using one, though. (He just installed Ghostery on his wife's desktop.)
adblocking  ios 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
New ad blocker "Peace" tops iTunes paid apps chart within hours » Marketing Land
Danny Sullivan:
<p>For months, marketers have been worrying over the possibility that consumers might embrace ad blocking that’s made easier in iOS 9. Now iOS 9 is out, and within hours of its launch yesterday, a new ad blocker called “Peace” became the most popular paid app.

The Peace app was created by Marco Arment, former CTO of Tumblr and founder of Instapaper. It sells for $2.99 in Apple’s app store. Within hours of the app going live, it topped the iTunes chart for paid apps for iPhone.

In addition to Peace, Purify Blocker also made the charts ranked fifth for iPhone. The Blockr app is ranked 28th. Crystal, which had some attention earlier this month, is listed at 110 in the free charts. It’s supposed to change to a paid model shortly.

As for iPad, Peace was the number two paid app (Purify is further down at 22; Blockr at 36):

The app is technically a “content blocker,” because it blocks not only ads but other types of tracking codes and anything that is deemed worth blocking based on a list that Ghostery maintains.

Ads are only blocked in Safari, not in other browsers like Chrome. It also doesn’t block ads within apps.</p>

So the outbreak of war began with Peace. But not in other browsers like Chrome, because they don't use the new <a href="">WKWebKit</a> viewer, available since iOS 8, which is really fast and powerful and, in iOS 9, enables content blockers. Wonder if Google has considered it? Read on...
adblocking  ios 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Welcome to hell: Apple vs Google vs Facebook and the slow death of the web » The Verge
Nilay Patel:
<p>with iOS 9 and content blockers, what you're seeing is Apple's attempt to fully drive the knife into Google's revenue platform. iOS 9 includes a refined search that auto-suggests content and that can search inside apps, pulling content away from Google and users away from the web, it allows users to block ads, and it offers publishers salvation in the form of Apple News, inside of which Apple will happily display (unblockable!) ads, and even sell them on publishers' behalf for just a 30% cut.

Oh, and if you're not happy with Apple News, you can always turn to Facebook's Instant Articles, which will also track the shit out of you and serve unblockable ads inside of the Facebook app, but from Apple's perspective it's a win as long as the money's not going to Google.

This is the dynamic to keep in mind — especially when you see Apple bloggers like [John] Gruber forcefully discount the notion that Apple's decisions will affect small publishers. The Apple vs. Google fight has never been more heated or more tense, and Facebook's opportunity to present itself as the savior of media has never been bigger — through hey-it's-just-about-speed Instant Articles, which will almost certainly be featured higher in the News Feed, and huge things like its massive video initiative, which is a direct assault on YouTube. And oh — Apple's new tvOS, that huge bet on bringing apps to TV? Doesn't support WebKit at all.</p>

Malicious view of Apple adding content blocking to Safari: it's trying to kill Google.<br />Non-malicious view of Apple adding content blocking to Safari: it's trying to kill ads which take over the mobile browsing experience, bouncing you to an app or putting up a non-removable screen (because the close button is off the screen), and/or trying to keep enterprise buyers happy that they can restrict what their users view.

Patel portrays this as a knife fight, but overlooks the fact that ads will work perfectly well inside iOS apps (annoying as they might be). Apple's trying to do two things here: stop annoying, intrusive ads on Safari and in Safari web views, and trying to keep apps at the forefront of what people do on iPhones.

Both of those have collateral damage for Google, but it's a stretch to think of this as a desperate fight to the death. He's worried for his site, sure. And so he should be. But as I've said previously, web ads have to evolve. Nobody said they were somehow protected.
adblocking  apple  google  ios9 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Popping the publishing bubble » Stratechery
Ben Thompson, in his weekly "free to view" article, says that iOS 9's adblockers are just going to finish what was already happening:
<p>It is easy to feel sorry for publishers: before the Internet most were swimming in money, and for the first few years online it looked like online publications with lower costs of production would be profitable as well. The problem, though, was the assumption that advertising money would always be there, resulting in a “build it and they will come” mentality that focused almost exclusively on content product and far too little on sustainable business models.

In fact, publishers going forward need to have the exact opposite attitude of publishers in the past: instead of focusing on journalism and getting the business model for free, publishers need to start with a sustainable business model and focus on journalism that works hand-in-hand with the business model they have chosen. First and foremost that means publishers need to answer the most fundamental question required of any enterprise: are they a niche or scale business?

• Niche businesses make money by maximizing revenue per user on a (relatively) small user base<br />• Scale businesses make money by maximizing the number of users they reach<br />The truth is most publications are trying to do a little bit of everything: gain more revenue per user here, reach more users over there.</p>

Worth it for the illustrations. You should subscribe so he can afford an iPad Pro and a stylus.
stratechery  publishing  adblocking 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
Adblockers hit another market: video » Monday Note
Frederic Filloux:
<p>Using its thorough analytics, YouTube was first to understand that viewers should be given the opportunity to skip videos ads. This markedly increased the value of actually viewed clips.

But the damage is done. With ad blockers, the tragedy is that one bad apple contaminates the whole crate. Once installed, the adblocker will indiscriminately eliminate ads from all sites. The few that were willing to preserve a decent user experience were washed away.

Between April and June 2015, SecretMedia, teaming up with with JW Player, reviewed the data from one billion devices in 42 countries. Here, precautions are warranted: SecretMedia, based in New York, sells an anti-adblocking solution for video; its clients are mainly broadcasters. But even though SecretMedia has a vested interest in darkening the picture, its conclusions are consistent with other surveys in the US and Europe.</p>

The point about the bad apple contaminating the crate is key. Oh well, iOS 9 comes out today - and tons of people will begin deploying adblockers. Let's watch.
adblocking  video 
september 2015 by charlesarthur
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