Is there anything worse than a loud pop-up ad that just won’t go away?
According to some, there is: the browser that automatically blocks it. Since Google’s initial announcement that ad blocking technology was coming to Chrome and websites of all sizes had better brace for impact, naysayers have been naysaying.
Critics claim that Google’s main motive is to eliminate the competition in the advertisement module space, but Google maintains that its primary goal is to “[improve] the online ad experience, working in collaboration with the advertising industry,” according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal.
What Gets Blocked
According to Google, this ad blocker has been many years in the making.
Starting in 2015 when ad blocking was a hot topic, the company began conducting research to find out just what ads were the most annoying to Internet users. Not surprisingly, full-screen messages or advertisements with countdown timers were among the worst and long, skinny side bars were the most tolerable. Ultimately, Google tested 55 desktop and 49 mobile ad formats before presenting its findings to the Coalition for Better Ads.
The Coalition is made up of advertisers, publishers and tech companies that have interests in online marketing and include familiar names like Facebook Inc., Procter & Gamble Co and WSJ’s parent company News Corp. Google is also a member as of the writing of this post.
Valid Controversy or Sour Grapes?
From the perspective of the Coalition, it makes sense to protect the Internet from itself since it’s clearly not getting the message that too many ads are going to create a user experience that’s good for no one.
But from the outside looking in, it looks like Google is gaming the system to favor its own ad revenue. Because about 60 percent of people visiting the web do it using a Chrome browser, digital advertisers will be forced to use Google-friendly ad modules, or buy more ads from Google itself, if they want to be seen.
Google has failed to test some of its own more annoying ad formats, including the popular YouTube pre-roll, leaving the search giant open to some pretty severe criticism. Whether that’s a simple oversight or something that wasn’t technically feasible to block using the technology that was available during the initial phases of the survey, it should be expected that this ad blocking situation will be revisited in the near future.