For years now, online ad blocking has been a constant storyline. Late last year, Cazbah veteran Erica Erskine wrote an article describing what ad blocking is, and how it has been growing at an alarming rate.
This topic grabbed headlines again this month when Facebook announced they would be forcing their ads through the ad blocking software. In a blog post, Facebook basically made the claim that the ads on their site are not that annoying, and don’t deserve to be blocked by ad blockers.
Facebook forcing its ads on users was an intriguing story by itself, but in less than two days, AdBlock Plus – the most popular free ad-blocking extension – found a workaround. A developer in AdBlock Plus’ open source community was able to add a line of code that enabled the extension to block Facebook’s ad blocker, blocking code….yikes.
Like most things, the primary reason behind the battle is money. Facebook made close to $1 billion in desktop ad revenue…last quarter alone! Because Facebook is a free service, they rely on these ads for revenue. Naturally, they aren’t about to give up this fight easily.
For the following week, the two sides went back and forth multiple times, circumventing and then finding workarounds. AdBlock Plus put a funny spin (serve) on this back and forth by publishing the image below.
Maybe I’m guilty of drinking the Facebook kool-aid, but I agree with Facebook’s claims. As stated in their blog post, Facebook has drastically improved their ad controls, giving users the ability to stop seeing certain types of ads they don’t find appealing, as well as learning why they are being shown any specific ad.
At some point, publishers and ad blockers will hopefully realize the futility (and cost) of the back and forth, and work harder to find common ground. The most likely source of that commonality will be the belief by both parties that not all ads are annoying. AdBlock Plus already has laid out their terms for such an agreement in their “Acceptable Ads Initiative.” While there are certainly specific issues to be hammered out, this is a great starting point.
For small businesses advertising online, it’s important to know where your ads are running. Talk with your Cazbah Internet Marketing Consultant about how you can control where your display ads appear.