Ad-blockers, the enemy of free content or data plans, depending on which side of the fence you’re sitting, will not be going away anytime soon.
This problem is pretty serious, costing advertisers and content providers some US$22 billion in lost income in 2014, double the losses in 2013. Good to note that in 2014, online advertising was worth US$50 billion with its value increasing by 15% annually.
Now the coding arms race between the developers for the Ad -blockers and the content and online service providers is accelerating as I’d predicted in Why Google needs new Ad Formats as Telcos will block YouTube Ads. And it all seems to have begun with Yahoo Mail!
Yahoo Mail – Ad-blocker detecting software a First Strike weapon against Ad-blockers
An interesting phenomenon is on the horizon thanks to Yahoo Mail; ad-blocker detecting software deployed by websites on online web services. Once they detect ad-blockers, they deny the viewer of the website access to their free content and services. Yahoo Mail, who seems to have started this trend since November 2015, has been using this ad-blocker detecting software to make it difficult go users who have deployed ad-blocking Apps on their smartphone to log into their email.
Many users now have no choice but to remove their ad-blockers from their smartphones and desktop browsers if they want to continue accessing these free content and online service providers websites. After all, it’s advertising that pay for the free content as noted in Why the Rise of ad-Blockers is killing free Publisher and App Content.
But has this trend of using ad-blocker detecting software been on the rise?
Researchers say ad-blocker detecting software on the rise – PageFair leading the charge
Dr. Muhammad Haris Mughees at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology decided to see to what extent ad-blocker detecting software was being deployed by online web services.
His team of fellow researchers designed a machine-learning algorithm that scanned the Alexa top 100,000 websites for ad-blocker detecting software. Surprisingly, the results indicated that the arms race had indeed begun, with some 300 websites having deployed ad-blocker detecting software.
Alternatives to ad-blocker detecting software – Sponsored Articles and Micropayments
As the battle heats up between ad-blocker and ad-blocker detecting software developers, other are seeking ways to meet customers and content providers halfway.
Apple has allowed publishers to publish Sponsored Articles with ads alongside editorial stories in the Apple News app as noted in How Apple News’ Sponsored Articles helps Publishers as Ads Blockade continues.
Dutch Start-up named Blendle since March 2016 has been re-introducing the idea of micropayments, hoping readers would be willing to pay for quality content as noted in How Blendle revolutionizes Newspapers and Magazines as Ad Blockers Rise.
This might be the long-term solution, as Blendle co-founder Alexander Klöpping says the refund rate in Europe is 10%, mostly likely maintained thanks to excellent micromanagement of what type of news s being delivered by Blendle.
This model brings into consideration journalistic independence, as journalists, bloggers and publishers will seek to write content that is pleasing to the reader, resulting in self censorship in order to make money.
Microsoft and Google Ad-blocker Whitelists – Making consumers benefit from the US$22 billion per annum advertising Industry
Ultimately, a Google and Microsoft may have the ultimate solution; paying ad-blockers to whitelist ads and allow them to be displayed, as Ads, especially on YouTube, are Google’s Achilles heel as noted in Why Google needs new Ad Formats as Telcos will block YouTube Ads.
This practice of whitelisting is, however, may soon be under scrutiny. The NAA (Newspaper Association of America), has they’ve the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to see if any laws have been broken by the developers of these ad-blockers. After all, if developers for ad-blocker accepts compensation to have you ads displayed, it could be seen as a disruptive trade practice akin to pirates robbing Spanish galleons as a Tax for free passage to lucrative Trade routes.
Personally, for me as a blogger, an even better idea would be for the advertisers to share some of that US$22 billion per annum advertising Industry revenue with the intended viewers of the ads themselves, as a form of compensation for exceeding their data plans.
Already Telcos such as Digicel have begun blocking ads since October 2015 as noted in Why Digicel blocking Google ads may be the rise of Digicel App World. Digicel may also have ambition of making money from advertising, particularly from ads in Apps built by local Caribbean developers.
Such a radical solution is also a compromise, but would make the users of free content and online services feel less inclined to install ad-blockers in the first place, if they too had a stake in the success of the advertisers.
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