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 

Many – perhaps almost all – native advertisements are already blocked. This includes links to sponsored posts on the front page of Buzzfeed and services like Taboola and Outbrain.

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.


Despite the hype ISP adblocking is a no-go in Europe

Several UK internet service providers are signalling their interest in blocking advertising across their network. Despite the hype this is a non-starter. A new EU regulation will make this impossible, and ISPs will not be able to fudge the issue by giving users an opt-in.


It is not particularly difficult for an internet service provider (ISP) to block ads on its network – despite what vendors of ISP adblocking technology would suggest. ISPs have done it before. In January 2013 the second biggest ISP in France, Free, blocked ads for a week by pushing an update to home routers.


Legal distraction: Lessons from the music industry’s war on piracy

It’s far from a new observation to say that attention has evolved into the de facto currency of the Internet. We spend it every time we view a website, watch a video, scroll through Facebook or listen to a podcast. Like willpower, attention is a finite resource, so users are instinctively protective of it, responding negatively to unwanted distractions. Advertising is how most online publishers make enough money to survive, but it is also increasingly seen as an unacceptable distraction by Internet users. This has created room for adblockers to step in as the defenders of attention and silence advertising.

Halloween Hack – How to check if you were exposed


For 83 minutes on Halloween night 2015, some hackers succeeding at getting malware to spread over part of the pagefair analytics network. We provided detailed information on this attack here.

You can use this page to find out if you were at risk from this attack. The attack used javascript to try to trick users into downloading malware by showing an alert dialog that looked like this:

In about 75% of cases, clicking OK on the above dialog would do nothing. However, in 25% of cases, it would have initiated a download of an executable that contained malware. Note that this malware could only affect users of Microsoft Windows, and to become infected the user would still need to run the executable and dismiss warning dialogs.

Halloween Security Breach

PageFair security breach has been resolved – here is what you need to know.

Update 10 – 20:57 GMT, 7 November 2015: How to check if you were exposed

You deserve to know if you were placed at risk during this attack.  If you did download and install the fake Adobe Flash update shown to you, you need to know that the trojan is on your computer Windows computer has been removed by your anti-virus software.

We have outlined exactly what a vulnerable website visitor would have been shown if they accessed a compromised site in the 83 minute window that the hack occurred.  

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Ad Dodgers through the Ages

October 29 is International Internet Day, recalling the first network connection on the Internet’s predecessor, the ARPANET. In celebration PageFair wants to put adblocking in perspective with a little reminder of the fact that the Internet isn’t solely to blame for consumer ad avoidance tendencies.

The rise of adblocking has justifiably made a lot of advertisers and publishers very nervous. With mobile Internet usage exploding, Apple’s implicit acceptance of iOS adblocking and the unleashing of new adblockers on Android, it seems as though 2015 could be the year in which adblocking really starts to hurt.

PageFair’s numbers show that adblocking has been rapidly accelerating over the last few years.


Infographic: adblocked revenue could pay for 245,000 publishing jobs

Our recent adblocking report contained some shocking numbers. In the United States alone, adblocking resulted in an estimated $5.8bn in blocked revenue in 2014 and is expected to cost publishers $10.7bn in unrealized revenue in 2015.

To put these figures into perspective, we decided to see what $10.7bn would buy in the real world, and to determine what this means for publishers and publishing jobs.

Here is our infographic. You can download a large version here, or an even bigger PDF version here.

What you can buy with $10.7bn

At the high end, one Nimitz class aircraft carrier costs approx. $4.45bn to construct.


Advertising: Backdoor for Malware

PageFair’s recent report revealed that global adblocking has increased by 41% over the last twelve months. Internet users are turning to adblocking to avoid annoying advertising and tracking. But a more troubling concern is gradually bubbling up into mainstream awareness and may lead more users than ever to adblock in future: malicious advertising, or “malvertising”.

Malvertising has been around for several years, but the number of attacks have already increased by 260 percent in the first half of 2015, according to cyber security firm RiskIQ. Users are exposed to malvertising when malware distributors piggyback on legitimate ad networks, buying slots and sending out ads loaded with malicious scripts.

Its a trap!

Sterile Future for Open Web?

Corralled in Clean Rooms
Facebook Instant Articles caused a shiver (of excitement or terror, depending on your stance) to ripple through the Internet a few months ago. Facebook cleverly billed Instant Articles as a way to combat slow external sites on mobile devices:

Leveraging the same technology used to display photos and videos quickly in the Facebook app, articles load instantly, as much as 10 times faster than the standard mobile web. Facebook Instant Articles

Sounds great, but it would be disingenuous to claim that Instant Articles is not also aimed at keeping Facebook users corralled ever more effectively. TechCrunch has even argued that Facebook Instant Articles is the “culmination of Facebook’s quest to absorb the Internet”.