August, 24 2016

Adblock wars consumer does not really have a choice

Consumers are deploying ad-blocks to avoid being interrupted with ever more intrusive advertising. Sites such as Facebook are deploying techniques to force adverts regardless of ad-blocking software. According to a recent (August 2016) survey 26% of U.S. internet users use ad blocking software on desktop devices, these are somewhat less popular in the UK, just over 20%. Although some users may confuse anti-virus with ad-blockers.

Overall people tolerate advertising and just ignore it – but too much is too much you may think. If you are fed up with product adverts from John Lewis that follow you for weeks on end as remarketing, it does not get any better if you try to stop that (you can do so in Google preferences) and let randomness rule – that random will more often than not serve you embarrassingly scantily clad ladies and the like. Not a great choice – that jumper you chose not to buy because you did not like it that much can now follow you everywhere – with your consent.

With Google driving more and more sites to be served over https, it is harder to block adverts upstream at the telecom operator level. Why is this a problem you may ask? It may not be a problem for individuals, but it certainly is a problem for corporates.

For corporate IT departments, the adverts pose a real headache – many adverts link to unsafe websites infecting visitors with viruses and other malware. It is not just that employees may choose to click on an advert, but the way some sites render and jump about, it is far too easy to accidentally follow a link, especially on a touch device.

Advertising industry is funding the Internet infrastructure – no other sector has enough money involved. What we need is a constructive discussion on how to make the adverts more relevant – and safer.
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Posted by Johanna Leppanen at 00:00
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