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The Adblock-blocking arms race & Gears of Change

In the last article we discussed what Adblock is, how it is harming our work, as well as how some of our fellow money-through-advertising making colleagues are battling Adblock. In this article we will continue where we left off but also talk about the slightly lunatic arms race that Adblock has put everyone on the net on.

Adblock is legitimate, Adblock is popular and Adblock is equally a blessing as it is a nuisance.

First off, let us be true and honest here. Adblock is legitimate, Adblock is popular (very, and thus equally powerful) and Adblock is equally a blessing as it is a nuisance. Since there is not too much we can do about its existence we pursue the classical way of re-establishing our taken grounds. We use our crafty little minds to work around the clumsy net-bugging obstacle. As previously mentioned, the Forbes website went as far as blocking users that are using any form of Adblock as a sign of protest. Arguably a great move, standing ones ground firm and tough – however, blocking users without any sugarcoated words describing one’s own agony will result in cruel, simple replacement. Forbes shot themselves in the foot by allowing malware to flood their site. Gotta clean up after your mess, yo’!

Even if we do stand our ground, there is the issue we cannot workaround. The information you give is very likely to be fed somewhere else. The incredibly high amount of competition makes it virtually impossible to offer unique content.

In conclusion to the “what to do” topic – there is so little we can do that is not harmful and illegitimate. Matter of fact is (and here we jump onto the arms race bandwagon) that even our only somewhat intrusive “weapon” of blocking AdBlock users is being sneakily undermined. There are a great many ways to bypass the filters that list users as adblockers and there are even more coming out.

anti adblockSee the cycle yet? We show ads. Ads are getting blocked. We block ad-blockers. Adblockers bypass ad-blocker block by using extensions such as Anti-AdBlock Killer. We find a way to re-block AdBlock block bypassing users and on and on and on.

Yet, there is an “enemy” out there that poses yet another problem and this enemy takes away our control this time. There is a change to an era that has been allowing publishers to be able to live the good life and we are powerless to such changes in trend.

So far in 2016, 85 cents of every dollar (!) spent in online advertisement ends in Google’s or Facebook’s wallet. There is a massive change in trend that is keeping users from leaving their favorite social media. Facebook has announced an extensive 10-year plan that will lay great focus on keeping users on their website. As if fighting ad blocking is not enough, it seems that we will have to fight to direct users off of their social media and onto our sites even more than before. There is a section of the plan dedicated to encouraging publishers to publish their content on Facebook – which at first seems all nice and well. The fact that this may not seem quite so bad works to our disadvantage by getting dragged along in a current of publishers that are trying to save themselves by jumping on to the “not-so-bad” option. Big names like Buzzfeed, Mashable, and many more are facing serious problems because of this change in trends.

While the internet is at an arms race of ad blocking and counter ad blocking measures it seems that there is a bigger, more impactful race coming up – one that is going to set the stage for the next decade to come.

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