Ad Blockers Are Holding the Industry Hostage

An Open Letter to Ad Blocking Companies Worldwide

Enough is enough.

Ad blockers are not the answer to a perfect user experience. In fact, the ad blocking approach is not sustainable and will damage the ecosystem the most; if users continue to buy into what they are selling, the age of free content as we know it will be at an end.

Contrary to the rhetoric that ad blocking companies are spouting, a large portion of the industry is working to enhance user experience and combat bad ads. The truth is – most publishers and advertisers are not trying to monetize their users, come hell or high water. Most publishers and advertisers care about users and are passionately against harmful and disruptive ads.

In a panel discussion at the MWC on Tuesday, executives from Yahoo and Google faced off against the CMO from Shine Technologies.  Shine espoused that same ‘ol tagline that users are not safe as advertisers and publishers are ‘abusing’ them.  We call foul. Advertisers and publishers are using their resources to craft and serve ads that enhance the user experience and keep their users informed – which makes for smarter users better equipped to navigate the open market. Ad blockers deprive users from helpful ads because they don’t distinguish between the good ads and the bad ads. Really, ad blockers, it is you who are selling your products at the cost of user experience.

The populist logic used by ad blockers – of lumping the whole ecosystem into one category, the ‘big bad wolf’ – is too simplistic and naïve.  In addition to companies pouring money into serving good ads that will help inform users, companies are also working tirelessly to make sure that the bad ads stay out and don’t harm or annoy users. Working at a company that sits with the publisher, platforms and networks, we see day in and day out the time, effort and resources these companies put into keeping the user experience as clean, as safe, and as engaging as possible.  These companies are pouring money into keeping the ecosystem clean and making sure the user experience remains enjoyable.

It’s not perfect. Of course there are rotten apples. The same could be said about the ‘altruistic’ ad blockers. Let’s not forget to mention that many of the ‘white hat’ ad blockers are charging fees – or shall we just call a spade a spade and say extorting – money from businesses who want/need their ads to be shown. Where is the conversation about how these ad blockers are abusing the system?

The solution to make sure users are only served good ads is more complex than just installing an ad blocker. GeoEdge exists to provide a protective layer for the user experience against harmful and disruptive ads. We are just one piece to this puzzle, but the point is that key players across the industry are striving to implement best practices for serving users safe, clean, and engaging ads.

During the MWC panel. Shine asserted, “New rules of engagement need to come about.” On that point we can agree. We need to set new industry standards to acknowledge and cement the efforts already happening across the ecosystem. Otherwise, if we let ad blockers continue to proselytize as they do now, the user experience and the whole industry at large will only continue to suffer.

originally posted on the GeoEdge blog