ad blocking


By Lucinda Southern

Ad blocking, which caused mild hysteria in 2016, no longer grabs as many headlines but is still a substantial threat on a publisher’s bottom line, encouraging companies to diversify revenue sources and collaborate across the industry.

Multiple studies show the growth of ad blocking on desktop has steadied while the number of blocked impressions on mobile is growing, although slowly. Partly this growth is due to the number of ad impressions served on mobile growing as traffic migrates this way, but there are also new ad blocking entrants in the mobile market.

“It definitely feels to me that ad blocking took a back seat in terms of publisher priorities last year, due to the impact of GDPR, but it shouldn’t be forgotten,” said Nick Flood, managing director of digital at Dennis. “This threat certainly won’t be going away.”

What ad blocking has thrown into stark relief is the need for publishers to spread their bets. Future Publishing hit peak ad block concern in November 2017 when 54 percent of desktop impressions on its gaming sites were blocked, according to Zack Sullivan, chief revenue officer at the publisher.

“That was part of what pushed us into e-commerce — ad blocking was the stimulus for it — how to offer alternative means of monetizing audiences to fund journalism,” he said. Last year, Future said commerce revenue exceeds display ad revenue on its tech site T3.

Now, rates across Future’s portfolio have stabled to between 7 percent and 11 percent on desktop. Mobile is showing slow growth of 1 percent up to 7 percent, he added. The most effective way of getting people to interact with Future’s ad-block messages was by offering as many options as possible — such as whitelisting the site, disabling the ad blocker, becoming a member or viewing a video ad — with the messages written by the editors in the style of the site.

“The hysteria around ad blocking has subsided a little, but the problem is still there,” said Brian Kane, co-founder and COO at Sourcepoint. “The most successful strategy involves engagement of the consumer, offering choices; that’s the most respectful option.”

Gaming sites have always been ad-blocking magnets, where audiences are more savvy about technical workarounds. One company that offers publishers ad-block solutions said that it has seen mobile ad-block rates rise from 6 percent to 10 percent in a year on a gaming site, which the company didn’t want to name. By comparison, non-gaming sites see mobile ad-block rates hover at around 2 percent.

For French news publisher Le Monde, ad blocking on desktop is stable at 25 percent, but mobile, 15 percent, is growing. But rather than reduce this, the publisher is focusing on driving reader revenue instead. “[Ad blocking] used to be the main priority two years ago; now we have one word: subscriptions,” said Pierre Buffet, head of digital at the publisher. “We have a more narrow scope, and we don’t want to lose energy trying to get people to turn off an ad blocker.”

However, Buffet believes these figures to be lower than the reality since ad blockers are blocking the publisher’s tracking scripts, and it’s highlighted another problem in untraceable traffic. “My concern is more about this ‘ghost’ traffic, which is clearly on a structural upward trend.” Increasing concerns over privacy from high-profile media cases, like Cambridge Analytica, are partly to blame. Just how much traffic and revenue are lost is hard to prove; in the coming months Le Monde plans to recover this traffic through working with its web analytics partners, AT Internet, and recover between 5 and 15 percent of pageviews

Ad blocking conversations have broadened out to be part of the wider discourse around ad quality and data privacy. Publishers like Dennis have integrated ad-block messaging into their GDPR consent management platforms. More focus on industrywide problems has led to closer collaborations. “Ad-block solutions companies are making louder noises to being publisher partners, rather than creating solutions that say this will have an impact on the bottom line,” said Richard Reeves, managing director of the Association of Online Publishers.

Despite the industry’s best efforts — last week, the Coalition for Better Ads announced last week it will adopt ad standards globally, and Google Chrome’s ad filter will be expanding globally July 9 — collectively millions in annual revenue is still being lost by U.K. publishers as a result of ad blocking, according to research from the Association of Online Publishers, which counts members including Condé Nast, ESI Media, Global, the Guardian and The Telegraph.

Partly, this is because ad blocking is a blunt tool. All publishers will get punished for bad actors, and there will always be cases of bad actors: Google has only needed to filter 1 percent of the millions of sites it has reviewed, but that ripple effect is vast.

Still, Google’s size has helped move the industry forward, said Sullivan. Google recognizes why publishers are suspicious of its motivations, but publishers are hungry for more details that the company isn’t able to share yet, such as about how it will work in practice and how it will impact the wider industry.

“Everyone gets it when you have that conversation [on ad standards], brands, agencies, SSPs, DSPs,” he said. “It’s been industrywide, but Google can help implement and police it; that’s their big gift to the industry.”

By Lucinda Southern

Sourced from DIGIDAY UK

Sourced from boingboing

Last year, Princeton researchers revealed a powerful new ad-blocking technique: perceptual ad-blocking uses a machine-learning model trained on images of pages with the ads identified to make predictions about which page elements are ads to block and which parts are not.

However, a new paper from a group of Stanford and CISPA Helmholtz Center researchers reveals a powerful machine learning countermeasure that, they say, will permanently tilt the advantage toward advertisers and away from ad-blockers.

The team revealed a set of eight techniques to generate adversarial examples of slightly modified ads that completely flummoxed the perceptual ad-blocker’s model: from overlaying a transparent image to modifying a few pixels in the logo used to demarcate an ad.

What’s more, the team showed that they could cause the perceptual blocker’s model to erroneously identify a page’s actual content as an ad and block it, while leaving the ads unblocked.

The team says that these techniques will always outrace the ability of perceptual blocking models to detect them, suggesting that perceptual blocking may be a dead letter.

We note that detection of adversarial examples [27, 47]—a simpler problem in principle but also one far from solved [14]— may not be applicable to ad-blockers. Indeed, ad-blockers face both adversarial false-positives and false-negatives, so merely detecting a perturbation does not help in decision-making. This challenging threat model also applies in part to ad-blockers based on non-visual cues, e.g., ML-based ad-blockers that use similar features as filter lists [11, 29, 36]. None of these have yet been evaluated against adaptive adversaries.

Moreover, by virtue of not relying on visual cues, these models are presumably easier to attack in ways that are fully transparent to users (e.g., switching ad domains)

Sourced from boingboing

By Ian Barker.

According to a new survey by advert filtering company AdGuard, 57 percent of internet users have either fallen prey to advert scammers, or are worried about malicious and phishing advertising.

In addition 48 percent of respondents have experienced privacy issues with tracking requests hidden in online ads, leading to the email spam, unwanted incoming calls and IM chats.

“We expect the volumes of malware distributed by hijacked ad networks to rise, since online advertising remains largely unregulated and prone to scammer abuse,” Adguard’s CTO Andrey Meshkov says. “Ad blocking as we know it these days must be viewed as web content hygiene — similar to taking a shower or cleaning your teeth. Are you still not preoccupied with your web content? Well, you should be.”

The survey also asked respondents to rank the most important features they look for in an ad blocker. Unsurprisingly, blocking online adverts is important for 86 percent, and removal of annoying ads in apps is key for 64 percent.

There’s also concern over cyber security and privacy issues. Over a half of respondents (57 percent) see advertising as a source of malware and unwanted tracking, and are looking for means to protect their data. 44 percent say that reducing web traffic and increasing the load speed of websites are important to save bandwidth and battery capacity — especially on laptops and smartphones.

More than a third of respondents say they have tried multiple browsers with various ad issues and vulnerabilities. 34 percent prefer browser extensions for blocking ads instead of native applications.

You can see a summary of the findings in the infographic below.


Image Credit: georgejmclittle / depositphotos.com

By Ian Barker.

Sourced from betanews

Websites that run annoying ads such as pop-ups may find all ads blocked by Google’s Chrome browser starting next year.

The digital-ad giant’s announcement comes as hundreds of millions of internet users have already installed ad blockers on their desktop computers and phones to combat ads that track them and make browsing sites difficult.

These blockers threaten websites that rely on digital ads for revenue. Google’s version will allow ads as long as websites follow industry-created guidelines and minimize certain types of ads that consumers really hate. That includes pop-up ads, huge ads that don’t go away when visitors scroll down a page and video ads that start playing automatically with the sound on.

Google says the feature will be turned on by default, and users can turn it off. It’ll work on both the desktop and mobile versions of Chrome.

Google says that even ads it sells will be blocked on websites that don’t get rid of annoying types of ads.

But there might not be vast changes online triggered by the popular browser’s efforts. It’s a “small number of websites that are disproportionately responsible for annoying user experiences,” Google spokeswoman Suzanne Blackburn said.

“I’m sure there are some publishers who will get hurt,” said Brian Wieser, an ad analyst with Pivotal Research Group. But in the long term, he says, cracking down on irritating ads should make the internet experience better, encouraging people to visit sites and click on links. That, in turn, benefits Google.

The company is also starting a program that could help publishers deal with users who have downloaded popular ad blockers. Some individual websites have come up with their own countermeasures. Forbes.com, for example, won’t let you read stories without disabling your ad blocker or logging in with Facebook or Google accounts, so the site can track you.

Google would work with websites to set up messages telling users to disable their blockers for the site or pay for a version of it with no ads. It’ll take a 10 percent cut of those payments.

To protect its ad business, Google has tried to improve user experiences in other ways. It launched a way for websites to load faster on phones. And it used its sway as the dominant search engine to push companies to make their sites mobile-friendly. Such sites show up higher in mobile searches.

Google also has tried to address advertisers’ concerns about their ads running next to offensive content by banning its ads from some objectionable videos on YouTube, like those that promote discrimination or advocate illegal drug use. Google also won’t place its ads on web pages with objectionable content — porn, for example, and or sites that promote suicide or violence.

Facebook, too, is trying to make links from inside its universe less spammy for users. It says it’s trying to cut down on posts and ads in the news feed that lead to junky pages with “little substantive content” and “disruptive, shocking or malicious ads.”

Image: Google’s ad blocker will allow ads as long as websites follow industry-created guidelinesLeon Neal/AFP/Getty Images

Sourced from International Business Times

By Amber Hunt.

Many of us have faced an issue in which unwanted advertisements cover the entire page and keep on popping every time you click at random.

These advertisements are really annoying especially when you are doing any important work over the internet.

Many people are unaware regarding the fact that these ads can be blocked permanently and they will never ever pop up once you have blocked them properly. These ads are likely to be available on websites that are running on free web hosting. There are number of software available to block these ads but they keep on annoying endlessly. How to fix this issue? Is there any permanent solution for them? The answer is, yes. Now you can easily block various ads that are interrupting your important work. For this you need to follow some instructions which are provided here:

Download and install Add blocking software on every browser of your system:

The best way to avoid these ads is to install a good ad blocking software on your computer. This software ensures that there are no ads that cover the page or the information that you are seeking. Apart from this, you can also block some links that keeps on pooping each time you open your browser. The ads are available on most of the websites which are published on free hosting. You just need to visit the websites offering such software programs and download one. Here are the proper guidelines of downloading and installing of ad blocker:

1. First of all you must find the most reputed and admired ad blocking software on the internet and then visit their official website.

2. Now you must match the desired configuration requirement of the program with your system’s configuration. Once you have compared, click on download the software button. This will begin the download which will be completed in just few seconds as the file is very small in size.

3. Once downloaded, you can run the file from the system and follow the instructions. Make sure you have closed all the other programs especially web browsers before proceeding further.

4. Follow the on screen instructions and this will install your antivirus without any troubles.

5. It may ask you for a restart of web browser (in case you haven’t closed it earlier during the installation) and you must restart it in order to apply the changes.

6. Now you have to enable the extension in your web browser. For this you just visit settings and choose add ones or extensions (Depending on the browser) and find the ad blocker. Click on enable extension and now you can freely surf the internet without any annoying advertisements.

Benefits of blocking ads on web browser:

There are a number of benefits of blocking these ads on your browser. Some of them are described here:

1. It helps in enhancing the speed of browsing. Most of the ads consume more data and thus, leaving the original page to slow loading. This is because the ads are sometimes heavy and they need more data to load. These ads load before the original media; hence they slow the entire loading of the page.

2. It blocks spyware and other malwares also. This means you can simply avoid any of the viruses or malwares to affect your computer. Many web hosting companies provide protection from these kinds of threats, but you have to be concerned about this issue.

3. Ad blocking helps in blocking spam which are really difficult to avoid. Once you have installed an ad blocker, you will no longer have to use third party heavy antivirus programs which affect your computer’s overall performance.

By Amber Hunt

Sourced from Medium