It’s been rumored for a while, but now Google confirms it will update its Chrome browser to include an ad blocker. If your site has what Google terms “unacceptable ads,” it’s going to block all the advertisements on your site. The list of what is unacceptable will include pop-ups, videos that are set to auto play, or count-downs that slow the loading of content.
Google doesn’t call it an ad blocker. Instead, it calls it a “filter.”
Google is also creating Funding Choices that publishers can enable. It will display customize message to visitors using ad blockers. It will ask them to either enable ads or pay for a pass to remove all ads from the site.
“We believe these changes will ensure all content creators, big and small, can continue to have a sustainable way to fund their work with online advertising.” – Sridhar Ramaswamy, Google Senior VP, Ads & Commerce
Google says it will give publishers a six-month warning before launching its ad blocker update to Chrome, which will be turned on by default. It’s expected to roll out in 1Q 2018. It will also provide a tool so you can spot check your site to make sure the ads you have are acceptable.
Chrome is the undisputed most used browser in the world with a market share north of 41%.
Users may applaud the move. As many as a quarter of internet users have ad blockers already on their desktop computers and 10% have ad blockers on their phones (SOURCE: Interactive Advertising Bureau). That’s indicative of a desire to better control the experience on-line when it comes to advertising.
“Due to these poor ad experiences, the usage of extensions that block ads across the web continues to rise, up about 30% from just last year. This reduces the ability for publishers to continue creating free content and threatens the sustainability of the web ecosystem.” – Rahul Roy-Chowdhury, Google VP Product Management
There are questions, however, and some concern. Estimates are that Google and Facebook control as much as 85% of the ad dollars on-line with Google controlling somewhere between 35-45% of all ad dollars in the U.S.
It may come down to this: Do we trust the people that control that big a share of ad dollars to play fair?
Cornell law professor James Grimmelmann raised concerns when the idea first surfaced in April. “If Google uses its 50%+ browser share to ship a product that blocks rivals’ ad but not Google’s own, my antitrust eyebrows go up,” he tweeted.