Google and Adblock Plus, the browser add-on dedicated to eradicating
“annoying ads”everywhere on the web, have had a complex relationship.
In March, Google blocked the Adblock Plus app from Google Play for “interference with another service or product in an unauthorised manner.” That makes sense considering how much money Google makes off advertising, although organisations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation called the “censorship … not only a betrayal of the principle of openness, but a betrayal of the trust that people put in Google when they decide to buy an Android phone.”
Then in July, word spread that Google (and others) reportedly paid to get on AdBlock Plus’ “white list,” meaning the advertisers that get a free pass and show up on users computers even if they’ve downloaded Adblock.
That just goes to show how powerful Adblock has become.
PageFair is a service that measures how much ad blocking cost websites. According to its estimations, ad blocking cost Google $US887 million in 2012. Granted Google hit $US50 billion in revenues this year, but that’s still a sizable chunk.
While many strongly value AdBlock plus, which is downloaded 50,000 and 100,000 times a day for Chrome and Firefox, respectively, PageFair believes that its power is ominous. According a PageFair blog post:
Other publishers must follow suit and rethink digital marketing strategies and the way they interact with customers, or our web experience may change drastically in the near future. The concept of a fully pay-per-view internet is a frightening but potential reality. Adblocking downloads are increasing at an alarming rate, while feasible alternatives to banner ad revenue are not. These ads may be a small inconvenience, but blocking ads will eventually lead to websites being forced to adopt costly measures we really don’t want.
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