The online advertising world is undergoing a massive transition right now, trying to cope with a war between the advertisers and the people that view their advertising. Site owners are resorting to running increasingly intrusive ads because they generate the most revenue. But they also generate a lot of user frustration, which is what’s led to increasing use of technologies like AdBlock. Now AdBlock itself is trying to play an arbitration role, which has some people in a lather. Who appointed this commercial company to decide which ads we can and can’t see?
We sympathize with the publishers who have to make the difficult choice between inconveniencing their visitors with obnoxious ads or risk losing revenue. Ad pricing is increasingly becoming a race to the bottom, and publishers have little choice if they want to remain viable. However, the standoff perpetuated by AdBlock only seems to be getting worse.
There are things you can do to control the ads you see. Facebook, for example, has a page to control your ad preferences, but few people know about it. The page is full of confusing controls and hard for most people to understand. We give Facebook credit for giving its users some choice in the matter, but we think they could be more assertive about it.
Writing recently on TechCrunch, Vinay Kumar Mysore made a persuasive argument for why the advertising industry should embrace AdBlock, but his proposal is likely to fall on deaf ears. B2B marketers can do their part by pressuring publishers to take user experience seriously and threatening to go elsewhere if they don’t.
David Strom has further analysis on his Web Informant blog.