Hoping Ad Blocking Will Just Go Away, The IAB Un-Invited Adblock Plus From Its Annual Conference

Adblock Plus had signed up and paid to attend the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Annual Leadership Meeting later this month. All appeared to be well with fee paid, conformation received and listing on the IAB Web site until January 6 when Adblock Plus Minister of Affairs Mark Addison received an email from the IAB which read, "We are returning your registration fee and cancelling your registration for the IAB Annual Leadership Meeting." 

A surprised Addison replied, "Uh...there must be some confusion. I didn't ask for a re[fu]nd?!?" Confirming its decision to disinvite AdBlock Plus, Addision received another email which read, "I'm sorry if there is any confusion. Just to be clear, there will be no ticket available for you and we've refunded your registration fee." 

Of the dis-invitation, IAB spokesperson Laura Goldberg said: "The IAB Annual Leadership Meeting is for serious conversation among important digital industry stakeholders." 



Right. So in the eyes of the IAB, ad blocking isn't a serious concern and isn't worth conversing about. That's like the proverbial ostrich sticking its head in the sand to avoid getting kicked in the ass by danger. Dear IAB, ignoring ad blocking isn't going to make it go away. Wake up!  

In response to the dis-invitation, Adblock Plus Operations and Communications Manager Ben Williams reached out to the IAB's Randall Rothenberg but has received no reply. He took to the company's blog and penned a post about the IAB's cold shoulder, writing: 

"Sadly, if the leader of the largest advertiser trade organization does not have the cojones to allow dissenting voices to be heard, then he does so at his own peril. Ad industry pundits have blamed themselves for the meteoric rise of ad blocking, and some of IAB’s own lieutenants have called for Rothenberg’s resignation. We’re beginning to see why. 

In a notable (and noble) confession, one IAB executive even went on record saying “we messed up” by allowing online advertising to become overly aggressive, and thus helping to fuel ad blocker installs. 

The over 400,000,000 downloads of Adblock Plus are not going to 'go away.' Dis-allowing Adblock Plus from attending your event solves nothing. We will proceed to work with others to build a sustainable monetization model for the Internet." 

Williams is right. Like it or not, ad blocking is here to stay. And there's really nothing the IAB, or anyone, can do about it. However, having an open and honest conversation will all parties about how to, as Williams says, "work with others to build a sustainable monetization model for the internet," is really the only road to take. 

And by dis-inviting Adblock Plus from its event, all the IAB has achieved is to postpone the inevitable.

3 comments about "Hoping Ad Blocking Will Just Go Away, The IAB Un-Invited Adblock Plus From Its Annual Conference ".
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  1. Craig Spiezle from AgeLight LLC, January 19, 2016 at 8:06 a.m.

    We need to work together to address the rise consumer of distrust and distain for online advertising.  Failing to address the mounting security, privacy and user experience issues is not a solution.  Collectively ad-tech, publishers, security, privacy and consumer advocates must work together.  Circling the wagons should not be an option

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, January 19, 2016 at 9:43 a.m.

    I realize that this is a grim prospect, but workable "solutions" to this growing and almost out of control problem will probably cause a reversal of digital's impressive ad revenue gains and some sort of financial retrenching as advertisers will probably insist on 100% viewable ads in the future. In my opinion, now is the time to make the required adjustments, particularly to slow the growth of ad blockage before it is too late. But I understand why the "industry" is dragging its feet and "circling the wagons" As Bill Clinton would have said in 1992 or thereabouts---"It's the money, stupid".

  3. Craig Mcdaniel from Sweepstakes Today LLC, January 19, 2016 at 2:15 p.m.

    There is a mindset that the ONLY way a digital ad can displayed is with a banner. This thinking is outdated, lethargic and lacks understanding the simplistic technology behind the banner and what makes it work, the text link URL. Think about it, you have the greatest artist in history to design a banner but without the text link URL, no one could click to the advertiser’s client. 

    So what does ad blocking really block? The answer is the banner and the various sizes of the ad, not the text link URL. Adblock Plus legally would be out of business as fast as the sunsets if they blocked the text link URL, however the banner and the sizes are fair game.  Sorry ad industry.

    For the past 13 years, Sweepstakes Today has been using the text link URL and publishing ads without the banner. Adblock Plus cannot touch our display contents ad. Better yet we give a full description in native marketing format for our members and clients. Our members know what they are clicking on and not just a blind banner. Our advertiser and ad agencies get to express how they really want the reader to know what they are offering. Win-Win.

    The problem, is there is a lack of understand and trust that a publisher can properly place the URL. With over 50,000 sweepstakes ads in our database, we have never abused a sponsor, an ad agency, or destroyed the years of trust that we have built.  The real problem behind Adblock is not the block of ads but the blocking of trust, honesty and goodwill.

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