back to article Chrome adblockalypse will 'accelerate Google-Facebook duopoly'

Google's own ad-blocking initiative was introduced yesterday via its Chrome browser. Ad folk mag The Drum calls it a "hatchet" for publishers. Online media trade site Digiday agrees, finding publishers glumly resigned to the move. We found broad agreement that it's going to be web content producers, not the ad industry, that …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Can't say I'm sorry for the publishers.

      >> but pop-ups, heavy interstitials, sticky ads and autoplaying videos

      I'm struggling to see why anyone would complain about blocking that lot. Yes, Google are shits, but any site/publisher relying on irritating adverts deserves to suffer.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        It's a bit strange there's been a surge of this type of ads...

        .... as soon as Google has introduced features to block them in Chrome. Many of the served by Google ad network itself. Old trick of breaking windows to sell repair services.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Can't say I'm sorry for the publishers.

        "Yes, Google are shits, but any site/publisher relying on irritating adverts deserves to suffer."

        Many of those irritating ads are served by Google because the site publisher, rather than deal with individual advertisers chooses to sign up to Googles ad server and gets what Google give then (possibly with some control over the type of ads)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Can't say I'm sorry for the publishers.

          "Many of those irritating ads are served by Google "

          Please provide evidence of that please. Some on the internet doesn't count as evidence...

          1. SuccessCase

            Re: Can't say I'm sorry for the publishers.

            @AC asking for evidence. Just google it. Estimates indicate about 61% of all Ad Spend on the Internet Goes to Google and Facebook. Google alone account for about 44% of spend. Google are pushing this because together with Facebook they are a duopoly and can see publishers are stuck in a kind of game theory scenario where individual rational choice is leading to a worse outcome for readers and the web as a whole. Helping reduce bad ad practices will lead to higher revenues. Their action will help in some way to stop publishers crossing over the line into adpocalypse where placing additional banner ads add decreasingly marginal revenue, but where the weight of ads is making the site quality decline (especially as the publisher has no direct control over ad quality, though they can control the quality of where the ads are placed on a site, but not unfortunately, the quality of the code some kinds of ad bring into the site).

            I wouldn’t say Google are “helping” the publishers though. The analogy is with the supermarket chains where they say to farmers/producers ok, you need our business and you can only continue with us if you ensure higher quality for the part you control, but the price remains the same. It can be argued this “helps” the consumer and Google, but actually the whole system represents something of an economic trap for publishers. Online publishing is becoming an increasingly low margin business with the competitive choice between medium to low quality Google owned ad feeds or generally worse quality google competitor ad feeds. There are ad networks specialising in the luxury market that don’t fit this simplified model, but at a basic level I think I have presented the market reasonably fairly.

            It is important for publishers to stay strong and avoid the ever present gravitational pull of adpocalypse. A bit like with finance/personal loans, the more you are feeling the squeeze, the worse the options become. The Register having found their niche are one of the better examples of how this can be done. John Gruber’s Daring Fireball is an even better example, but done at a smaller scale where the individual (lone publisher) gets much higher margins. But unfortunately these are outliers in a sea of counter-examples

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Can't say I'm sorry for the publishers.

      Indeed, there is now no point creating intrusive adverts, only a deminishing number of iPad and IE users are going to see them.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Can't say I'm sorry for the publishers.

        My iPad has the same ad blocker as my iPhone does, I don’t trust any ad company not to track me enough.

  2. TRT Silver badge

    Unfortunately...

    these bastions of free market economy, whom one might have expected to understand how these forces work, neglected to consider that selling advertising space on websites would mean that as prices fell, volume would have to go up to maintain a steady revenue. This means that whilst your local rag sheet would once upon a time have displayed 3 or 4 discrete adverts off to one side on a page whose aesthetics were largely determined by readability and elegance, to generate the same revenue today, they have to have whole page pop-unders, with 30 or 40 smaller adverts, a cacophony of higher charged rolling video ads and metrics-for-sale.

    So the only answer is to reduce the availability of advertising somewhere along the supply chain. I propose we, err, burn down all the advertising agencies. Sounds like a sensible move, fiscally speaking.

  3. MMR

    I blame online advertisers and marketers. They've crossed the line a long time ago and what Google have introduced is just a result of this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I blame online advertisers and marketers. They've crossed the line a long time ago and what Google have introduced is just a result of this.

      I blame web users for responding to these ads. If they didn't work, advertisers wouldn't persist with them. You and I might actively boycott the companies concerned, but the ad-spewers aren't worried. It is purely a numbers game. And that, I suspect, is why this won't work. As a short term thing maybe, but longer term, if glittery, flashy, in-your-effing-face advertising works for the ad companies, they'll find ways round this. No matter what users want, this is an arms race - but despite their protestations about "improving the experience" Google actually want to sell more advertising, not less.

      1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

        > despite their protestations about "improving the experience" Google actually want to sell more advertising, not less.

        A cynic might even suggest that this is actually about making sure some of their competitors are far less appealing (because they'll get blocked by Chrome), driving more advertisers to Google (who'll make sure their ads follow the new rules to avoid blocking).

        If it gets rid of some of the worst types of ads, that's good, but I do wonder what the long-term price we're going to pay is.

        1. I am the liquor Silver badge

          @Ben Tasker:

          A cynic might even suggest that this is actually about making sure some of their competitors are far less appealing (because they'll get blocked by Chrome), driving more advertisers to Google (who'll make sure their ads follow the new rules to avoid blocking).

          That last bit is the wrong way round: the blocking rules will be designed around Google's own ads.

      2. tiggity Silver badge

        @ Ledswinger

        I do not blame some users.

        Lots of naughty ads.

        e.g. a page appears to have finished rendering and user goes to navigate the page intending to click on some content...

        "KAPOW" an ad renders just where they have their focus and receives an undeserved click.

        This ad behaviour seems especially prevalent on mobile (where I'm guessing users less likely to have ad blockers than on desktop)

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I blame web users for responding to these ads"

        You quite often don't get a choice - its usually a pop-up that hijacks the original content or a full screen advert that sits on top of content that has a missing X that is as hard as a spot the ball competition.

        Auto-play videos are equally annoying. Google know this - and most browser based users now use AdBlock/Adblock+ to filter out everything - including Google's own adverts and adsense...

        On my phone, however, there is no Adblock on Chrome but there is via the Samsung Internet Browser - which further erodes the market share of Google.

      4. rmason

        @Ledswinger

        100% this.

        It's similar to spam, we might have the odd chuckle at it but if these fake fedex links, promises of millions from various funds or dead billionaires etc didn't work, they'd not be wasting their time, or that of a botnet, doing it. Simple as that.

        Similarly if the latest flashy and intrusive video advert thing was not selling (insert tat item here) they would cease too.

      5. David 164

        They probably want to up the price of the ads they serve. Serving more is costly afterall in server time and data transmission, if they can serve the same number of ads today but can charge advertise 20% more for them that would be Google dream, increase revenue without increase in the costs.

      6. GruntyMcPugh

        If they didn't work

        I assure you they don't.

        But I'm not going to get drawn into a rant about adverts. They make me despair for human kind. I see adverts, and I wait for nature to decide we're done, and it's time for the cockroaches to rule. Although I see advertising execs as cockroaches, so perhaps not.

      7. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "I blame web users for responding to these ads."

        You don't get it. These type of adverts are relying on accidental clicks, and other bullshit. Its not real advertising it's scam advertising.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      A colleague asked me about Bitcoin yesterday. I don't think she follows the news all that much, let alone tech news. So where did she hear about it? From an ad that she clicked on on Facebook.

      I presume there are ads on Facebook that aren't scams? I just never hear about them or see them. Though I rarely log-in and have given limited info, so they've nothing to target at me.

      Fortunately there's a happy ending. She decided that if she couldn't understand Bitcoin, she shouldn't get involved. Proves the ads work though. Well to some extent, she can't remember what company it was for or what they were actually advertising...

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Proves the ads work though. Well to some extent, she can't remember what company it was for or what they were actually advertising..."

        Maybe not consciously, but a lot of advertising is about brand recognition. They don't care that you are not buying a car today, or even next year, but they do care that when you come to choose a new car that you remember their brand in a positive way.

        Maybe next year, if your colleague thinks she now understands what bitcoin is and goes searching for a dealer/broker, that name she can't remember may well come up and trigger something in her mind, maybe along the lines "I've heard of them", and lead her to click through and maybe trust them a fraction more than other dealers/brokers she's never heard of.

        After all, look at the massive bad publicity TalkTalk got over the huge data breaches, yet people still choose them as an ISP. Why? Because they've forgotten the news headlines but still remember the name.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could googles actions be considered anti-competitive and as such be under laws to prevent it?

    Will publishers start to refuse chrome with a message that your browser is not compatible and here's a link to firefox or something else?

    Don't get me wrong I don't see ads because they became obtrusive a long time ago and anything that reduces them is a good thing but this just looks to me like google trying to increase its market share in advertising.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Firefox has for years, but they took the Safari approach of tackling trackers rather than content.

        1. David 164

          It content that 90% of people care about through. Google will again be proven right that it approach is the correct one, trying to get publishers to think more carefully about where they place their ads, what kinds of ads they want on their site.

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      re: Could googles actions be considered anti-competitive

      The largest ad business with the largest browser install base blocks loads of ads from it's competitors?

      Yes, I think it's rational to call that anti-competitive.

      1. IneptAdept

        Re: re: Could googles actions be considered anti-competitive

        Im not sure if it would be classed as anti competitive as they are following standards set out by the good advertising body or whatever it is called.

        Yes Google are part of that body but they are doing what a lot of internet behemoths class as good ads

        So you can still have ads just dont be dicks

  5. }{amis}{
    Black Helicopters

    Nerfed??

    This feels to me like an effort by Google to nerf add blocking in general.

    By supplying a weak blocker by default they know most users wont install anything that blocks everything on-top.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nerfed??

      but most people who would have wanted to block add, have done so already. And with extra google browser blocking, they won't turn off their blocking add-ons, or uninstall them, they'll just carry on.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: Nerfed??

        Next step, make full ad-blocker hard or impossible to use in Chrome, because the feature is already present....

    2. teebie

      Re: Nerfed??

      A weak blocker is good enough for most people.

      Some people militantly object to all ads, they will still install an ad blocker (and probably aren't using chrome anyway)

      The average user is happy to avoid banners, text, and stationary images, and is just annoyed by popups, autoplay, and jumpy jumpy bullshit, so the weak blocker is fine for them.

  6. Richard Tobin

    "Unwritten agreement"

    "Ad blockers endanger this unwritten agreement between user and publisher". Nonsense. There isn't any agreement, just an attempt to impose advertising, and it's because we don't agree that we use ad blockers.

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: "Unwritten agreement"

      There isn't any agreement, just an attempt to impose advertising

      Indeed. Which is why the various lawsuits by advertisers against companies supplying ad-blockers over the years have all failed.

      users pay for their use of the internet by viewing ads

      No - I pay for my use of the Internet by paying my ISP. *Some* websites might fund their expenses by using adverts but those websites do not constitute the whole of the Internet.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: "Unwritten agreement"

        You pay your ISP for the data.

        If you read the Guardian or El Reg, then they're funded by advertising. The idea being you see some ads, their journalists can afford to eat. This isn't difficult.

        You may not like ads and choose to block them while still consuming El Reg's content. And that's fine, they don't stop you. But don't try to pretend you don't understand the implications of that decision.

        If most people decide to block ads online, then El Reg goes bust or goes subscription-only.

      2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        At CrazyOldCatMan...

        Enjoy a pint for being spot on. I'd up vote you a trillion more times if I could.

  7. JimmyPage
    Unhappy

    Pages prediction ...

    the number of "apps" you will need to access content will explode ...

    Virgin have shown the way. You used to be able to program your Tivo via the web. Then they got all pissy about doing it from Chrome. Finally you can't do it at all unless you (wait for it) "download our app".

    Hopefully enough punters will say "fuck that, my phones already running 100 apps ...." and we'll see a change.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Pages prediction ...

      > Finally you can't do it at all unless you (wait for it) "download our app".

      I'm going to take a wild guess here and say that if you download the app, you also find it requests a truly disproportionate number of permissions, before sucking in your contacts (to support some functionality you'll never use) and potentially crashes half the time.

      1. rmason
        Joke

        Re: Pages prediction ...

        @Ben Tasker

        Will report back when possible regarding the App.

        Sadly though, some time in 2016, I asked my Tivo to launch the "netflix" app. It's still chugging away, loading netflix. We will have to wait for it to finish first.

    2. Timmy B

      Re: Pages prediction ...

      "Hopefully enough punters will say "fuck that, my phones already running 100 apps ...." and we'll see a change."

      Without everyone cancelling their contract and saying that is the reason I don't think they'll care. They could just bin the apps because of lack of use and save some money.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pages prediction ...

      they want muppets to use app, because they know the FREE!!!! DOWNLOAD HERE!!!! FREEE!!!!! - works. And they can track the muppet 100%. Sadly, human nature never changes, and they'll be able to exploit it forever.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have a significant issue with how much power Google has here, but if your business model as a publisher is to wallpaper websites with ads to the extent that it interferes with use of that site then I have no sympathy. Get better at your job.

    1. John Lilburne

      To be fair, it was the shysters shilling for big tech that pushed for cannibalising paid content to build an online presence claiming that adverts would compensate for the loss. Despite the fact that online ads paid a 100th of the offline ads. So a publisher had to either increase its views by 100 times or increase the number of ads.

    2. Warm Braw Silver badge

      Actually, the interesting thing is that as a major channel for advertisers, Google could simply have placed format rules on the advertisements it was prepared to accept and that would have delivered the benefits to people using any browser.

      Clearly Google doesn't want to take a hit on revenue as a result of customers switching to other brokers and this solution may give it a stronger stranglehold on the market - at which point perhaps it can start charging people to get rid of those pesky remaining ads...

  9. Aladdin Sane

    It's been a long time coming

    But publishers deserve to get screwed for having autoplay video ads - how many times have you searched a page to find where the sound is coming from or just plain closed the tab?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's been a long time coming

      autoplaying ads...presumably they won't ban autoplaying ads on youtube, eh?

    2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: It's been a long time coming

      You think you've got it tough trying to close those auto playing audio/video ads, try doing it when you have to wait for your screen reader to read you the page first. You can't hear it reading the page because of the auto playing bits, which means you've got two options: wait & listen to the ad or close the tab entirely.

      Unless, of course, it's locked up your browser & refuses to STFU, in which case you either give the proverbial Three Finger Salute or mute the entire computer. Yeah, muting a device that you HAVE to be able to hear else you can't interact with it at all, now THERE'S a reason to hunt down the advertiser & beat the ever lovin' fuck out of 'em.

      *Deep breath*

      Sorry for the rant but I've recently had to reboot my "frozen" machine due to this very issue. I tried to read a news article from my RSS feed, click the link to open the page, & get slammed in the ears by some damned auto playing video ad. I tried to close the tab, the browser refused to let me, which left either muting the machine or rebooting. Since muting isn't an option, I then had to lose all my open work in the background... all because some fucking advertiser thinks an auto playing ad was the way to go.

      Now if you'll excuse me, I've got an advertiser to hunt down & cave in their skull with a Navigation cane...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't be the only one who primarily blocks Google ads can I?

    Do not trust.

    1. alain williams Silver badge

      Blocking Google

      I no longer use google as a search engine - there are many others; hard to get completely free of them when, eg, some site comes up with a link to google maps. I doubt that google care if they do not see the 1% of people like me - plenty of other eyeballs to push ads at.

      1. Richard Jones 1
        WTF?

        Re: Blocking Google

        I rarely see any ads though I do see the 'Oh dear your blocking our irrelevant crap' complaints, just before I leave their site.

        I decided to give Chrome a punt as a result of this announcement, the number of irrelevant, pushy, visually noisy ads made some sites horrible. The fact that the site continued to push text about as it inserted and removed video adverts made it unreadable. I usually run with the sound off as my other crap defence, thank goodness I did so.

        Chrome might have some uses and was faster than some other browsers but the price of those adverts was too high to pay.

        In twenty plus years of using the internet I have never responded to an advert trailer for films or as I prefer to put it trial by trailer was one of the worst pains before ad blockers sanitised the world.

    2. John Lilburne

      Fortunately adblocker provides a whitelist of acceptable ads. These are mainly Google ones, take the whitelist and ad it to the blacklist.

    3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Facepalm

      Some modern sites are so over-loaded with media, they make you nostalgic for good old Myspace...

  11. msknight

    I actually wrote to Keith Weed...

    The letter was posted this morning. Second class, of course.

    Among the things I said was, "Advertising on these platforms is failing. I can not recall seeing an advert for any of Unilever's many brands; however I am fully aware of Tom Dickson and Blendtec. For a period the phrase, "But does it blend?" was a part of office banter. I believe that advertising on social media platforms needs a grass roots rethink."

    I kept the letter to one page, and it was a tough job to do that. Long story short, the advertisers and their brands have woken up to the facts of social media... and are demanding things that social media can't actually deliver... and I don't only mean technically deliver... (I know of a number of channels that host nothing other chan copyright material and not only are they still there, but they have suffered no impact, not even a diversion of income.) ... but to deliver what the companies want, would cripple the "social" part of their platforms.

    Things can only evolve from here.

    1. msknight

      Re: I actually wrote to Keith Weed...

      Correction, that should have been... Things can only devolve from here.

  12. Sam Therapy
    Happy

    I don't use Chrome if I can help it. I do, however, use an ad blocker. Any site that wants me to disable it doesn't get visited.

    1. David 164

      so you want the site content but you want it for free? How do you expect reporters to feed and house themselves, how do you expect them to pay for flights to go out an interview people and companies and to visit conferences and trade shows like CES for example?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        If Ford gave you a car but in exchange you had to have adverts projected over the windshield, would you consider that a reasonable trade off? The problem isn't the ads, it's that the publishers have no concern over how those ads affect their users. Promote ads that don't interfere with our interaction with the site and don't violate our privacy (especially without any form of consent), and we won't block them.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          "If Ford gave you a car but in exchange you had to have adverts projected over the windshield, would you consider that a reasonable trade off?"

          Didn't we already see that with PCs? E-Machines or someone selling very cheap or free PCs fully loaded with trackers and adware and enforced viewing of a certain number of video ads per day or some such conditions? IIRC it failed.

      2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        How do you expect reporters to feed and house themselves

        In a word - subscriptions. Why should I open up my (or works) PC to the toxic sewer[1] that is the ad industry? Prove to me that adverts are relevant, non-intrusive and not pushing malware, scams or stuff that I don't want to pollute my brain with and I might relent and start whitelisting sites.

        [1] And not just in the malware sense.

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "so you want the site content but you want it for free? How do you expect reporters to feed and house themselves, how do you expect them to pay for flights to go out an interview people and companies and to visit conferences and trade shows like CES for example?"

        Would it be so hard for the site to fall back to plain and simple static image adverts, or even plain text adverts served from the sites domain? I don't see how adblockers could stop them, or even that many people trying to stop them. They may get less revenue for those type of ads, but it's better than pissing off your readers and losing them altogether.

        1. antman

          "Would it be so hard for the site to fall back to plain and simple static image adverts, or even plain text adverts served from the sites domain?"

          I don't block ads but block scripts. This cuts out all the annoying stuff for me. It does not affect El Reg as they are able to serve sensible static ads in "noscript" tags.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That filter algorithm in full:

    if( protection_money_has_been_paid_to_google )

    {

    // let through

    ...

    }

    else

    {

    // block

    ...

    }

  14. CAPS LOCK

    Hmm, at the risk of topic drift, try disabling add blockers for El Reg...

    ... no wonder Gartner's press releases get editorial space....

  15. John Lilburne

    Bypass the middle man

    Why not have a centralized system where people can pay to a central system? Each unique page accessed has some value transfered to the publisher. Someone registered with the system never sees ads. The publisher gets paid and the middle man, Google/Facebook, can fuck right off. Anonymize the accounts for privacy.

    1. David 164

      Re: Bypass the middle man

      Google, Facebook, Apple are the only ones with the scale to ever consider implementing such a system.

    2. BlueTemplar

      Re: Bypass the middle man

      That's still a middle man.

      However, it's a much better middle man than advertising agencies like Google / Facebook.

      And it already exists, from an (un?)likely union of Piratebay founders and an Ad-blocker,

      I present to you :

      Flattr 2.0 !

      https://www.ctrl.blog/entry/flattr2

      (They only thing they are lacking, besides publicity, is a way to make micropayments (to small creators) cheap (like Patreon recently found out that it was problematic), that can probably be solved either by waiting for a minimum amount to accumulate before an actual transaction - or possibly by using cryptocurrencies... I think the Brave browser is trying to do something like that?)

  16. David 164

    Google is tackling the side that most normal users are actually concern about and that ads interfering with there ability to consume the site content.

    Apple is tackling it from the side of a small niche of privacy worries that worry their privacy is affected by ads that follow you around.

    Most people I know who use ad blockers use them because the ads they see are annoying, loud, intrusive.

  17. MrXavia

    I find adverts weird, constantly for sites i've visited recently, the advert won't effect my purchases, it won't make the publisher any money as I won't click on the link to a site i've already been to...

    Now show me an advert for a different company, selling a similar thing to what I was browsing and maybe I might click, or show me adverts relevant to the content I am reading...

    The problem is not adverts in general, that is how we learn about new sites/products, but the lack of relevant adverts and poor quality adverts is a problem

    1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      adverts in general, that is how we learn about new sites/products

      Not me..

      (Yes, I'm aware that I'm probably a very-much edge case..)

      1. Patrician

        I, like yourself. do no "learn about new products" through adverts; surely that is the very worst way to obtain information about new products?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Of course Google is attacking the publishers

    They can't attack the adtech industry like Apple, because they ARE the adtech industry, or at least by far its most dominant player!

    Attacking the publishers makes sense for Google, because weaker publishers is good for Google - they depend on content to be out there but want to be the gateway to get to it. Anytime you go directly to a web site via a URL or bookmark instead of search, Google loses money.

  19. short a sandwich
    Joke

    Free Internet

    Last time I looked the bearded one was relieving me of £40 a month for internet access. Where do I get free internet?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Daily Mail has 51 adverts on their home screen, including playing video.

    A really good test site ( http://bidace.com/150.html ) shows 119 adverts blocked.

    My towns newspaper website is riddled and unreadable if you don't have an ad block. You've either won a survey or sent off to a different site. The survey one stops you looking at content.

    There needs to be a code of conduct as some sites (even on 4G) are slow to load on mobile.

    Max 3-4 adverts, no auto play etc...

  21. hatti

    next step

    Facebook and Google = Team America, world police (f*!k yeah!)

  22. plrndl
    Thumb Up

    Can Spam

    Most advertisers are stuck in 1950's TV mode where you spam people as relentlessly as you can afford. This is no longer acceptable, and this is what Google is tackling. Advertisers need to recognise that targeted advertising is the only way forward. Facebook in particular has enormous capability to target ads, so that punters are unlikely to see ads for stuff in which they have no interest. Unfortunately for the advertising industry,this means sobering up and doing some work.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "targeted advertising is the only way forward"

      Targeted ads are a myth. You can't really guess well enough what someone is going to buy next. Despite the huge slurping, and AI hype, they have very little clues about how people really buy goods.

      It's much easier to target political propaganda - which is mostly monodimensional - than ads to sell stuff - because it's highly multidimensional, and they buying behaviour is conditioned by many other external factors even the actual level of slurping can gather and control, because they happen in the real world and may not leave any online trace at all.

      Also, as with any successful product, it's not just delivering what most customers ask for knowingly, but what customers never asked for but which address needs that will make the product a killer one. That's true for ads as well - you could see an ad for a product you never thought about, which would never be offered to you analyzing your data, but could be exactly what you need.

      But it's much more lucrative to lull advertiser into the idea they'll have a much higher ROI because of "targeting", and then make up some data to tell it works - how many times Facebook was caught altering the data?

      Actually, untargeted, unobtrusive ads are the way forward. Just use context - people reading ElReg will be more interested in some kinds of ads than others. It's quite useless you show me here ads about my past purchases for my photography hobby.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    But by removing those ads,

    ... eternal winter, etc.

  24. IGnatius T Foobar

    Gooopoly

    Google is putting an adblocker into Chrome in the hopes that people won't install AdBlockPlus ... and conveniently, Google's ad blocker will never block Google's own ads.

    The new "Yes, be evil" Google is worth moving away from. After seven years of Chrome I've switched back to Firefox, and everyone else should too. Install AdBlockPlus and be in control of your own destiny.

    By the way ... the majority of the most obnoxious ads are served by Facebook. If you're not a Facebook user (and really, no one should expose themselves to that toxicity) you can block all of their sites and domains in your hosts file, and get a much better browsing experience, especially on the sites that force you to turn off adblockers before you can view them.

  25. mark l 2 Silver badge

    There was a time when online adverts used to be static images or text and i have no problem with these type of ads. But then the admen got involved with internet ads and everything had to be animated with videos and sounds distracting you from the main content you were actually their to view, and using up precious bandwidth and CPU cycles. That is when i started to use adblockers.

    Now i do visit El Reg often and was blocking ads by default but to help them out since i am usually using visiting from my laptop connected to WiFi i have unblocked the ads. I doubt i will ever click on any of the ads but they should still earn a few pennies from CPM just for having the ads displayed.

  26. Lord_Beavis
    Pirate

    Combination

    I use No Script and uBlock Origin on my laptop and an ever growing DNS blacklist to protect the users on my network.

  27. Milton

    Nobrain

    Is there a solitary human with an IQ greater than 85 on the face of this planet that would click on anything bearing the Outbrain monicker?

    Put another way: who are the mouthbreathers who make it worthwhile for Outbrain/Nobrain to function?

    Which remotely literate humans click on any of the cretinous trash shat in steaming piles onto websites by Outbrain?

    And ... why??

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. Tom Chiverton 1

    Tell me again why I can't pay ElReg ~1/month and skip the (blocked anyway) ads?

  30. teebie

    I don't see how this is anti-competitive, google and facebook don't have a duopoly on not being twats when advertising.

    Intrusive ads will reach fewer people, and be less cost-effective.

    So advertisers will tend towards unintrusive ads, making the web a nicer place to browser.

    I can hope.

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