US digital advertising trade body, the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB,) has released advice to publishers on how they should deal with the growing number of ad blocker users visiting their sites.
The IAB wants publishers to “DEAL” with it, by taking these four steps:
Detect ad blocking, in order to initiate a conversation (The IAB also released an ad blocking detection script for its members to add to their websites on Monday.)
Explain the value exchange that advertising enables.
Ask for changed behaviour in order to maintain an equitable exchange.
Lift restrictions or Limit access in response to consumer choice.
In other words, it looks like far more websites are going to start asking users to turn off their ad blocker or pay some sort of subscription or make a micropayment in order to access their content. The IAB’s members include Google, Time Inc., The Onion, Twitter, Facebook, eBay, Viacom, and many more.
Many publishers already do this. Titles such as Forbes, The Washington Post, GQ, and The Daily Telegraph have already begun experimenting with erecting ad block walls — with varying levels of success.
The IAB has taken a hard line on ad blockers. In January, IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg gave an extraordinary speech (click here for the full text) on the rising use of ad blocking software in which he described Adblock Plus, one of the most popular ad blockers, as being run by “an unethical, immoral, mendacious coven of techie wannabes.”
In a later interview with The Wall Street Journal, Rothenberg added: “These ad blocking companies are little piss ants … They are run by a handful of people with silly titles and funny walks who are individually irrelevant … [and are] diminishing freedom of expression.”
Despite the trade body’s chief publicly opposing ad blockers, the IAB’s senior VP of technology and ad operations, Scott Cunningham, did admit back in October the internet advertising industry “messed up” by caring too much about revenues and not enough about user experience.
In response, the IAB delivered its “LEAN” advertising principles that call on its members to focus on light, encrypted, Ad Choice-supported, non-invasive ads.
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