Nearly 90% of Sweden’s online publishers are uniting to prevent ad blockers from viewing their content, Digiday reports.
The initiative is led by online advertising trade body IAB Sweden, which will see around 20 publishers in the region blocking ad-blocker users from their sites during the month of August.
Ad blocker usage in Sweden has accelerated by 10 percentage points to 30% of internet users in Sweden, according to IAB Sweden.
Under the “Advertising friendly Sweden” initiative, publishers in the region will ask users to disable their ad blockers in order to read the content on their sites.
Users will also be offered the option of making a micro-payment, such as 3 Swedish Krona ($0.36) to view articles, or instead opting to gain “limited access” to a lighter version of the website — with videos running at a lower frame rate and fewer available articles, for example.
In addition, publishers will also be working to improve the ad environment on their websites, by reducing or eliminating disruptive ads.
The task force is developing industry guidelines and publishers are also being asked to comply with the IAB US’s “LEAN” initiative. “LEAN” stands for “light, encrypted, ad choice supported, non-invasive ads.”
Charlotte Thür, IAB Sweden CEO, told Business Insider: “This task force shall make sure that the consumer’s facing a better advertising environment when we ask them to switch off their ad blocker.”
As Digiday points out, it seems unlikely this joint initiative will be replicated in many other countries due to Sweden being a small media market.
Steve Chester, the IAB UK’s director of data and industry programs, told Digiday: “Sweden has a strong socialist culture concerned with fairness, more so than in Britain. It will be a massive challenge for companies that compete fiercely for readership to unify.”
However, publishers elsewhere will likely be following the results of the test project closely. Publishers including Forbes, GQ, City AM, and Bild have already begun experimenting with blocking ad-blocker users from viewing their content with varying degrees of success. A united front may encourage more ad-blocker users to think about how the software negatively impacts the sites they visit.
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