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.

Courtroom

Axel Springer Faces Down Adblock Plus in Court

Last month we covered the unfolding legal attacks against Adblock Plus, which began in December with two hearings in Munich, Germany.  On Tuesday, March 10th the European media giant Axel Springer presented its case against Eyeo GmbH (the company behind the immensely popular free adblock plugin, Adblock Plus) in a short court hearing in Cologne, Germany.

Although it was just an initial hearing, there were clear similarities with the previous cases in December.  An initial attempt to target adblocking per-se failed to get traction, but was swiftly followed by a more fruitful attack on Adblock Plus’ primary business model.  Axel Springer first sought a court-ordered ban on Adblock Plus, but the court gave a preliminary opinion that banning any software in this way would not be possible.  

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Adblocking goes to Court

In 2014 the publishers of Europe began mobilizing for war against Eyeo GmbH, the small company that operates Adblock Plus, the most popular browser plugin on the planet. Since the PageFair mission is to defend publishers from the phenomenal rise of adblocking, we’ve been monitoring events closely. There’s been a major lack of coverage of these developments in English, so we thought we’d try to fill in the gaps.

Our own business model gives us an interest in this debate, and to be honest we can see the validity in both sides of this controversy.  We’re pro-publisher and know from personal experience that being a publisher is expensive, and selling advertising is the only practical way to stay in business. 

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Is Adblocking Going Mobile?

We often consult with publishers and industry groups about the major trends in adblocking, and one of the top three questions we get asked is “what about mobile”? Adblocking is a hit with millennials on desktop, but on mobile it could offer more economical use of the screen, data plan and battery. If a tiny fraction of the desktop users of adblock found a way to use it on their phones, it could go viral. Until recently there was no such sign of a mobile adblock apocalypse, as our reports have made clear. The walled gardens  of Android had effectively fenced out adblocking apps that were effective against both in-browser and in-app ads.

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2014 Report – Adblocking Goes Mainstream

We are proud to announce our 2014 report on adblocking in partnership with Adobe (press release here). This report reveals for the first time the actual facts concerning the size and growth of adblocking, including an analysis of the demographics of adblockers and a survey of adblock user attitudes in the United States. It has taken a mammoth effort from team members at PageFair and Adobe to compile, analyse and present this data. We believe that we have uncovered a major threat to the digital media industry, and hope that this report will help mobilise advertisers, publishers, and technology providers to form an appropriate and constructive response.

Past Present Future

The Rise of Adblocking – One Year Later

About one year ago we published our first report on adblocking – “The Rise of Adblocking” – with some terrific initial coverage by Kashmir Hill at Forbes. Next week we’ll publish our second annual adblocking report, and we thought it would be interesting to reflect on how our 12 month old predictions have panned out.

In our new report we’ll be revealing some data that, quite frankly, took us by surprise. We based our 2013 report on our own data from hundreds of websites using PageFair Analytics to measure adblocking, and found 22.3% of their page views were from adblock users.  

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PageFair at State of Digital Media Marketing Conference

Check out our CEO Sean Blanchfield presenting the latest data on the rise of adblocking, and what techniques we have discovered to help publishers effectively deal with it.

This video is from the University of Missouri-St. Louis State of Digital Media Marketing Conference, held on 2nd April 2014. Coming soon: The PageFair-Adblock Plus debate. Stay tuned by following us on Twitter @pagefair.

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One Publisher Defends His Content Against Adblockers

The following is from publisher and PageFair customer Matt Buxton of Top Windows Tutorials.com.

Under the advertising model I could provide you with content, that you could view for free, any time you liked, and I could get compensated for my time and hosting costs through advertising … Isn’t it a shame to throw all that away and push the internet towards paywall content all because a noisy Flash banner once annoyed you on a website you can’t even remember now?

Matt has been designing websites for the past 7 years. He made the leap to running his sites full time, but recently ad revenue has plummeted.