Winter is Coming

Winter is Coming (Part 2): 9 Ways Users Already Block Your Mobile Ads

Mobile Internet use is growing rapidly and advertisers are increasingly looking to mobile – but the same is true of adblockers.  Advertisers are often unaware of how adblocking is developing on mobile devices, so PageFair has put together a roundup of the ways smartphone and tablet users can avoid seeing your ads.

Custom Browsers

Gone are the days when a user was restricted to surfing the web using a built-in browser.  Android and iOS have made it easier than ever to try out alternatives.

1. UC Browser has been around for longer than most but is still relatively unknown in the West.  

Winter is Coming

Winter is Coming: iOS 9 to Chill Mobile Advertising Industry

They’re gobbling up everything they can learn about you and trying to monetize it. We think that’s wrong.  And it’s not the kind of company that Apple wants to be.  Tim Cook, Apple CEO, 1 June 2015

iOS 9 is due to arrive on iPhones and iPads  in the fall, along with a new version of Safari which will make it easier than ever to block ads.

Adblock Plus is predictably not very happy about the idea of adblocking going native for Safari, arguing that Apple may in fact cripple alternative adblockers, not to mention that the move threatens the Eyeo’s controversial business model.

Larry Page

Google Losing Billions in Adblocking Devil’s Deal

TL;DR: Google minimized the revenue impact of adblocking in last week’s stockholder meeting, but by our calculations the actual costs are staggering. Worse, by being whitelisted under Adblock Plus’s acceptable ads program, Google is probably the primary source of funding for future development of adblocking technology.

Google Acknowledges Adblocking

At the Google 2015 Annual Stockholders Meeting last Wednesday, Larry Page fielded a tricky question that has some alarming implications for the future of the ad-fuelled giant.

During Q&A a stockholder asked whether adblockers are having any effect on advertising, Google’s primary revenue source:

Neatly sidestepping the actual question of the effect of adblocking on his bottom line, Page delivered a mea culpa for advertising in general, saying “the industry needs to get better at producing ads that are less annoying.” Such passive acceptance of the merits of adblocking is in stark contrast with the legal action currently being taken by other companies to combat adblocking.


Second Court Victory for AdBlock Plus

AdBlock Plus is enjoying a run of good luck in the German courts. Just over a month after a successful defense in Hamburg against charges of extortion brought by publishers Die Zeit and Handelsblatt, a Munich court has ruled that Eyeo, the company behind AdBlock Plus, was not in breach of laws on competition, copyright or market dominance.

The latest case had been brought by leading broadcasters RTL and ProSieben. In a statement confirming the decision, the court said that it had determined that AdBlock Plus could not be considered anti-competitive because Internet users were free to choose whether to install the software, leaving sufficient scope for publishers to find an alternative audience for advertising.


Adblock Users Click More Ads

During episode 505 of the Security Now! podcast, Steve Gibson recently described to Leo Laporte how he was exploring the “ethics and morality of adblocking” when he came across a piece from 2010 by Ken Fisher, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Ars Technica:

…what Ken’s article said that stopped me cold was, well, the article begins, the first line is “Did you know that blocking ads truly hurts the websites you visit? We recently learned that many of our readers did not know this, so I’m going to explain why.” And the short version is that sites are paid for impressions, not only for click-throughs.


Adblocking Makes Video Ads Disappear

We recently posted a diagram explaining how adblocking stops ads from being shown on websites and deprives publishers of potential revenue.

We have since been asked whether adblocking blocks video ads. Online video is currently the fastest-growing advertising category and advertisers consider video ads to be extremely effective. Unfortunately for those advertisers pinning their hopes on video advertising, adblockers are shockingly effective at making video ads disappear.

Adblockers shockingly effective at making video ads disappear.

The diagram below also fully applies to video ads. Video ads are not a new frontier or tricky problem for adblockers.


German Court Clears Adblock Plus of Extortion Charge

The makers of Adblock Plus, Eyeo GmbH, yesterday celebrated a victory in court after a four-month-long trial in which they were accused of “highway robbery” and anti-competitive conduct. PageFair data has repeatedly confirmed that adblocking is becoming a growing problem for publishers and advertisers alike, so this could be a landmark decision that reverberates throughout the Internet for years to come and leads to the widespread extinction of content producers who refuse to do business with Adblock Plus to bypass their adblocking filters.

The case revolved around the Adblock Plus concept of blocking all advertising by default, the unblocking of some advertisers on an individual basis, and, in some cases, the payment of a fee.

Hurting the Ones You Love

Hurting the Ones You Love

Most adblock users install an adblocker to get rid of irritating ads, such as popups or unskippable pre-roll ads, maybe thinking that it’s their own silent protest against bad advertising.

Hurts publishers, not advertisers

But the sad, ironic truth about adblocking is that it actually hurts the very websites that adblock users love, while being effectively invisible to advertisers.

Regular users vs. adblock users

When a regular user with no adblocker installed visits a website (see graphic – left-hand-side), ads are placed on pages directly from the ad server. The user sees the ad and might even click on it.

Internet Radio - Golden Age of Opportunity

Internet Radio – Golden Age of Opportunity?

David Porter, founder of 8tracks, recently argued on Forbes that “internet radio is the biggest advertising opportunity of the future“:

Internet radio has the potential to be the most ubiquitous form of media ever. More commanding of your attention than film, television, or books.

The numbers he quotes certainly back up this optimistic claim:

In 2014, one third of Americans used their phones to stream music. Young adults (18-24) listened to internet radio more than terrestrial. Two of the top five most popular apps in America (Pandora and Youtube) are used for streaming music. With Americans now spending more time on their phones than watching television, there has never been a more opportune time to maximize internet radio experiences.

Tyranny of the Default

The Tyranny of the Default

Modern life is complicated enough without having to think about every decision or tweak every setting. Most of the time it’s easier to rely on the default option. Decisions cost time, while defaults move things along, removing the speed bumps from existence. Defaults make it possible for us to interact with complexity and cope with an excess of choice, but can be deceptively powerful, influencing decisions that are effectively invisible to the person supposedly making the decision.

Many psychological studies have shown that the tiny bit of extra effort needed to alter a default is enough to dissuade most people from bothering, so they stick to the default.