According to a recent study, ad blockers are causing Web site publishers far more harm than lost revenue from blocked ads. Oriel, an entity that promises to "defend and facilitate quality publishers with the ability to present high quality, non-intrusive advertising to 100% of their audience" and, oh, to circumvent ad blockers, tested 25 ad blockers on 100 of the UK's most popular sites.
Ad blockers tested in the study included AdBlock, AdBlock Plus and uBlock Origin. Sites included in the study are British Airways, Lingus, RyanAir, Vodafone, P&G and Land Rover.
The limited study found that ad blockers prevented users from checking in online with British Airways and RyanAir Web sites because the ad blockers blocked the terms and conditions box. The study also found that videos were blocked on the Land Rover site and order delivery tracking was blocked on the Vodafone site. And on the Liverpool FC site, current offers for the likes of t-shirts and other items were replaced with offers from year's prior.
Of ad blocking and its unintended affects, a portion of the study summary reads: "It might seem convenient, but below the surface is a very shady, and serious issue - it is interfering, changing and potentially censoring web content and like a 'man in the middle attack' the true nature of what the publisher intended to deliver to their website audience is therefore compromised."
Apart from the fact that the study is 100% designed to highlight Oriel and how its various offerings can ensure that publishers and other Web sites don't lose traffic and revenue, ad blockers can indeed wreak havoc with content that is clearly not advertising. And that is a real problem. Yes, now we have what we all joked we'd have: ad blocker blockers.
It has really become a stupid game of whack-a-mole. Of the idiocy, Oriel CEO Aidan Joyce said: "Some of the more aggressive browser extensions like uBlock Origin actually have a filter list for anti-ad blocking sites" -- meaning that when a publisher attempts to serve up a message asking readers to turn off their ad blocker, that message, itself, is blocked.
Of course the notion that the CEO of a company that can block ad blockers said that is even more mind-boggling. In fairness to Oriel, however, the company does promise to deliver technology designed to serve up "quality, non-intrusive advertising." Which, in the endless loop of circular hilarity, begs the question, just what the hell is quality, non-intrusive advertising when, by definition, all advertising is an unwanted intrusion?
And no, content marketers, your schtick is still advertising.