Breaking the Blockade: The Advertising War Continues

by Matt Klassen on May 3, 2016

advertising“Ad block is a threat to the very existence of the World Wide Web.” (AdSupply)

“[A great man] thinks of his enemy as the shadow that he himself casts.” (Lao Tzu)

As I’ve said before, I’m just not sure how many people truly grasp the make-up of our digital world, and just how central advertising revenue is to our current digital existence. Sure the world loves to use Google’s free suite of helpful tools and services, they love to immerse themselves in Facebook’s social network, and they love to post pics to Instagram; but while it’s great that the world doesn’t have to pay for that stuff, people need to understand how those companies make money.

When one understands the integral role advertising plays in propping up our digital existence, the threat posed by seemingly helpful ad-blocking technology can be understood. If you take away the advertising, you take away the money; and if you take away the money, you take away the free services. The choice is simple: pay for what you use or live with advertising…and of course people want to do neither.

This exponential proliferation of ad-blockers has left marketers and content providers in a sticky situation, scrambling for ways to counter the pesky ad-blocking programs and keep the advertisements (and revenues) flowing. Enter BlockIQ, a way to block the blockers, the saviour of the Internet as we know it.

In this growing advertising war, the advertisers themselves have taken a simple stance: ad-blocking is effectively stealing revenue from companies that provide free online content, tools, and/or services.

“The incredible growth of ad blocking has reached the tipping point where sites will no longer be able to operate,” Justin Bunnell, CEO of AdSupply Inc., states on the company’s website.

“If ad blocking continues unchecked, it will eliminate the advertising revenue websites need to survive. It is like expecting a movie theatre to stay in business when 30 percent of their audience does not pay for a ticket,” he adds.

In an effort to recoup those lost revenues, AdSupply’s ad-tech subsidiary, BlockIQ, has just released BlockBypass, a crafty little tool that effectively allows the content provider to choose their level of response to ad-blocking. Simply put, BlockBypass recognizes when a visitor is employing an ad-blocker, with settings that allow responses ranging from a note that educates visitors on the importance of advertising, to blocking the visitor from the content until the blocker is turned off, to the most drastic option, bypassing the blocker altogether and pushing ads through.

This technology will allow publishers to not only fight back against ad-blocking, but as BlockIQ claims, “recapture the ad revenue [they] deserve,” as well.

While I definitely don’t buy into AdSupply’s rhetoric that ad-blockers threaten the very existence of the Web, the fact remains that ad-blockers cost publishers an estimated $22 billion in 2015 alone, meaning there is huge incentive to find a way to defeat ad-blocking technology.

But if advertisers think that defeating ad-blocking technology is the way to win this war, well then they’ve probably lost it already. The reality is that ad-blocking is so popular because it meets a need; it eliminates intrusive and irrelevant advertising from one’s online experience. If the advertising industry wants to eliminate ad-blocking entirely, make it unnecessary by improving the quality and focus of online advertising.

Granted better advertising is easier said than done (and comes with a host of privacy issues of its own), but that’s the way forward. I have little sympathy for advertisers who continue to fight for the easiest path to profits by arguing that users have to endure garbage ads to interact with online content.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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