Commentary

An Imagined Conversation Between Randall Rothenberg And Till Faida

Last week, TechCrunch announced that Interactive Advertising Bureau president and CEO Randall Rothenberg and Eyeo CEO Till Faida will participate in separate panels at TechCrunch’s Disrupt New York conference in May. While the two won’t be appearing onstage together, that didn’t stop Real-Time Daily from imagining the encounter.

Moderator: Please extend a warm welcome to Randall Rothenberg of the IAB, whose members sell more than 86% of online advertising in the U.S., and Till Faida of Adblock Plus parent company Eyeo, who arrived here by armored car in the dead of night.

Randall Rothenberg: Thank you, it’s nice to be here to represent the IAB’s 650 member companies: the folks who till the soil of free speech and roll up their sleeves for a fair digital ecosystem.

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Till Faida: Danke schön for the introduction. We are not, as some think, a group of extortionists or parasites. Adblock Plus stands for the little guy. The guy who doesn’t want to be targeted with a pop-up ad as he looks for porn. The guy who wants to control his user experience… And yeah, if we can make a few bucks to keep this thing running, we don't see a problem with that.

RothenbergA problem with ripping off so many businesses? You've got a lot of nerve, Mr. Faida. You and your company are a mendacious coven of techie--

Faida: Please don’t call us techie wannabes again. That hurt the first time, as it did when you refunded our conference registration fee for the Leadership Summit this year. The team was really excited for a trip to California. Some of us had already bought tickets to the TMZ bus tour of Hollywood.

Rothenberg: Sorry to interrupt your plans, but registering under the radar for an event where you clearly would be at odds with the mission of the organizing body was a direct slight at the IAB and its members.

ModeratorLet’s move on. Mr. Faida, it’s my understanding that Adblock Plus has some news to share...?

Faida: Yes, we're rolling out a new feature sometime this month. It's called cross-channel blocking IRL -- or “in real life.” You can actually "mute" ads on the Internet, and people in real life. I could demonstrate. (Faida types something on his phone and starts to points the device at Rothenberg. Faida then thinks better of it, and turns the device off.)

Moderator: Well, that sounds like an interesting feature. I know I wouldn’t mind using an IRL blocker on my drunk uncle at Thanksgiving dinner! Can we talk about your predictions for the future of advertising?

Faida: Ads will be less intrusive for users to see them, in accordance with our Acceptable Ads Initiative. 

Rothenberg: Users will turn off their blockers. They'll grow to accept and even like ads as quality improves under our DEAL and LEAN programs.

Moderator: OK, and what's the best advertisement you've seen lately?

Faida: I haven’t seen an ad in five years. But those Geico lizard commercials were cute.

Rothenberg: I know we rarely agree, Mr. Faida, but I do love that silly little gecko. The Cockney accent was especially tickling -- reminiscent of a young Sir Michael Caine, no?

Moderator: Well, we’re out of time. Thank you both for joining us today. Mr. Faida, your security detail is waiting to escort you from the stage. Mr. Rothenberg, I believe you have the ability to disappear at will. Is that correct?

Rothenberg: Yes, it is. (Rothenberg vanishes, a polka-dotted bow-tie left on his seat.)

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