Solutions to solve ad blockers seem to just keep popping up, much like the troublesome ads themselves. Here’s one that hits the problem head on, with consumer logic in mind.
Ourdata, just being launched this week at the Apple Store, proposes to issue shares to consumers who will agree to see ads. The value of the shares will be determined by the number of consumers involved and they’ll be paid by the publishers that also have to agree to participate. The Ourdata team in San Francisco will all make it work, but members--shareholders--will really own it.
It seems Ourdata, from its very name, wants to push the idea that consumers bring something to the advertising table. They bring themselves and all that information-- their age, sex, race, location, browsing proclivity and interest in products and services. All of that is worth money, which is what Ourdata aims to collect.
As a Ourdata graphical video states, in the Internet world, there are buyers and sellers, making “tons of money off the product. And guess what? That product is you.. Every time we go on line, large companies you’ve never heard of are following us and gathering our data. And then they sell it to advertisers for billions of dollars. Then the advertisers use that data to save themselves billions of dollars by targeting their advertising.”
So the deal is this: Publisher and advertiser agree pay a small amount to Ourdata and in return, the consumer accepts the ad. And data keeps getting collected.
Right now, other ad blockers take the money that Ourdata would return to its shareholders.
If all this sounds altruistic, you haven't heard the half of it. Ourdata is a B Corporation--B for Benefits-- a type of company that includes a positive impact on society as one of its legally defined goals. They’re allowed in 30 states and versions are allowed in many countries.
Recently The Philadelphia Inquirer, a once thriving paper hurt by the changing times, became a B Corporation in order to continue its journalistic mission.
Ourdata joined with Susan. B. Komen Foundation, which fights breast cancer, as its launch partner and when you sign up, you can type in Komen’s referral code so your shares’ proceeds go to them. Or you can choose your own charity or just take the money, once there is some. But Ourdata pledges to donate 90% of its own profits to charity.
“Other ad blockers went too far,” says Iggy Fanlo, co-founder of Ourdata and an Internet entrepreneur. “They blocked data but also blocked the ad. Now it’s time to renegotiate the deal. We want to be an ad enabler.”
New research from eMarketer says by the end of this year, 26.3% of all U.S. Internet users will be using some kind of ad blocker. That’s 70 million consumers.
In a podcast, eMarketer analyst Lauren Fisher lists ways publishers are trying to combat ad blockers. Those include new models, like charging users for an ad free version, or just reminding users that advertising pays the freight.
“It’s hard for publishers,” she said. “I don’t envy publishers trying to figure it out.” And as for charging consumers for an ad-free experience, she adds, “I don’t know if that’s enough to move the needle.”
Who knows if this is? Ourdata is set up to find out as fast as it can. Early “investors” get the most shares.
The first 10,000 get 10,000 shares each, but that goes down and after there are a million shareholders, each new one gets “only” 7,000 shares.
(In case you wonder what these could ever be worth, Fanlo says, possibly, maybe, $300. That’s not much. It is better than not-$300. And If it’s given to charity, that’s something, though you could pocket it.)
Non-Apple users can still sign up, and get the more generous share amount when Ourdata expands to Android platforms.
If nobody is that excited, well, Fanlo says, “it will be just a nice experiment, and worthless.”
Fanlo points out, before those Ourdata shares can accrue value, “Well, we do need to reach some level of critical mass or scale.” He says he and co-founder David Glickman have had preliminary conversations with some publishers. But he says, “These publishers--Google, MSFT, Amazon, Taboola and many other large platforms have already been paying the large guys (other ad blockers) and would genuinely prefer to pay folks like us.”
For consumers, Fanlo says, Ourdata offers a choice.“Having to watch an ad but getting paid is a valid choice. Not getting paid--that seems to be a bad choice.”