Adblocking in Court: Napster All Over Again

The IAB last year made it clear that lawsuits were still very much on the table as a potential measure to fight adblocking. Publishers in Germany have repeatedly brought the makers of Adblock Plus to court, losing another case just a few weeks ago. A recent survey of high traffic websites has indicated significant support for collective legal action, while the Brave browser earlier this month received a rather bellicose cease-and-desist letter from leading publishers in the US.

It seems almost inevitable that everyone is going to end up in court.

While we sympathize with publishers and understand why they would turn to legal action, we think this approach is a costly and time-consuming mistake that could ultimately lead to the downfall of the publishing industry.


Rights or Respect: the Ethics of Adblocking

More legal headaches for adblockers could be on the way, with a recent survey by Medianomics suggesting that high-traffic websites in the United States are at least willing to consider legal action as a potential solution. There have already been several unsuccessful cases against Eyeo in Germany, but their luck might well run out in the US, where legislators may be less sympathetic towards what has been called the new wave of piracy. The saber rattling may have already begun, with newcomer Brave browser recently being directly threatened for its unusual business model.

Moral Qualms
Regardless of whether it might or might not be a smart idea to turn to the courts or government intervention, is adblocking the same as pirating content on an ethical or moral level?


How NOT to Deal with Adblocking Lists: Behind the Scenes Update

Our recent post on adblocking lists has led to some questions from publishers about how countermeasures to combat adblocking, such as native advertising, domain name rotation, and adblock walls, are affected by this underlying system of filters and exceptions.

Going Native
Many filters have been designed to block obvious advertising elements from being loaded from third-party advertising servers, and this has led some publishers to mistakenly believe that native advertising offers a way to defeat the adblockers. However, adblockers can easily remove or hide any element on a webpage, even if its nature as an ad is concealed as normal content.


Four big ideas emerge from PageFair global stakeholder roundtable

A growing segment of Web users sees few or no ads. Publishers are suffering mounting revenue losses as a result. But even as blocking of advertising harms publishers it also undoes the mistakes of the first 20 years of advertising on the Web.

Several vendors including PageFair have the technology to display ads in a way that is not affected by blocking. In the future it is likely that major industry incumbents (such as SSPs and CDNs) will also gain this ability.

We believe that the ability to defeat blockers should not simply enable a return to the situation before adblocking.


Behind the Scenes: How Adblocking Lists Work

Lists are at the heart of adblocking. The adblocking community just needs to add a line of text to a list to block an ad. The largest of these lists is called EasyList. You’ve probably seen EasyList mentioned in one of the many articles about adblocking appearing recently, but you may not be sure exactly what it does and how adblocking software depends on it and other lists to function. Read on for a layman’s guide to how lists operate behind the scenes of adblocking.

Black and White
It can be helpful to think in terms of a blacklist and a whitelist to understand how adblocking works.


Adblock Walls: Doomed Arms Race or Heroic Last Stand?

Last week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) started telling publishers how to D.E.A.L. with the problem of adblocking.The IAB’s Publisher Ad Blocking Primer suggests a range of tactics, including “access denial”, in which adblockers are prevented from accessing content. Otherwise known as an adblock wall, denying access to adblockers can seem logical and fair. The reality is that this approach leads to a costly dead end for publishers.

Adblock walls are nothing new. US network giants CBS and NBC, European TV channels including ITV in the UK and Irish national broadcaster RTE, and video subscription services such as HULU have been using adblock walls for years.


Adblock users in their own words: what makes them tick?

We’re in the process of carrying out a series of surveys to get a better idea of why Internet users are resorting to adblockers in ever-increasing numbers. We expect the usual suspects to show up, but with adblocking rapidly becoming a mainstream phenomenon, we want to see whether the extensive media coverage and debate in 2015 has had any significant effect on how people think about adblocking. Are users more inclined to worry about privacy, have moral qualms about adblocking increased, or is it ultimately all about escaping from annoying ads?

Previous surveys have been included in our annual PageFair adblocking reports.


Advertisers Need to Learn from Climate Change

Climate change has made it clear to all but a few hardcore deniers that there are limits to what the Earth can endure. Centuries of wasting limited resources, polluting the environment and decades of ignoring mounting warning signs have led the human race to the point where it has to focus on long-term sustainability or eventually face a hostile future. The same is true of any ecosystem in which a delicate balance is required for all participants to thrive. After only a few decades, the Internet is already facing a similarly dire threat.

Rising adblocking levels
Obsessed with clicks and impressions, the digital advertising industry has come to rely on methods that are inherently destructive to the ecosystem of the Internet.

The New York Times Announces Cuts To Newsroom Staff

Native ads are not the answer to ad blocking 

The tragedy of ad blocking is that it hurts worthy publishers. And in response some have sought refuge in so-called “native” advertising. But as this article describes, this approach is neither immune to ad blocking, nor – in many cases – respectful of the law.

New policy rules from the FTC will end talk of “native” advertising as a viable substitute for conventional ads.

“Native” ads are not immune from ad blocking 

22 February 2015 update:
A blog reader alerted PageFair that the “Women Inmates” feature is now displaying correctly on their browser when using an adblocker. We retested using Adblock Plus on Firefox OSX with the following results:

The T Brand Studio site remains broken
The Women Inmates feature is now displaying correctly

The view-ability of these pages may change as adblockers are updated to circumvent the publisher’s latest updates.

Teenage Adblockers

Ad block users are about to become a significant marketing opportunity

Users of ad block software are about to become – ironically – a very promising segment for marketers. To understand the importance of this emerging ad blocker segment, consider the emergence of the teenage consumer.

The emergence of the ‘teenager’

It was only at the end of the 19th century that the relatively new science of psychology began to identify adolescence as a discrete developmental stage in which children hovered for approximately ten years before becoming adults. Adolescence was seen as a period of “storm and stress” that was characterized by conflict with parents, mood disruptions, and risky behavior.