January 23th, 2018
Google recently announced a go-live date for its forthcoming ad blocker: February 15. On that date, the Internet's largest advertising company will start blocking ads in the Internet's most popular browser, Google Chrome.
Google announced its ad-blocking plan earlier this year in a blog post titled "Building a better Web for everyone." Google's strategy is to fight ad blockers by becoming an ad-blocking company, where it will have more control over the ad-blocking process. While most ad blockers block all ads, Google's ad blocker will only block ads deemed "unacceptable" by the Coalition for Better Ads, an industry group that counts Google and Facebook among its members. With a major Web browser, advertising platform, and a seat on the ad coalition, Google can help steer the direction of the ad requirements, make sure its own ads are compliant, and then block any competing advertisers that don't adhere to the new requirements. Google is in a powerful position to dictate terms to websites and advertisers.
The Coalition has examples of unacceptable ad experiences on its website. These are things like autoplaying video ads with sound, interstitial ads with countdowns, and large "sticky" ads. Chrome will only block ads like these while allowing less annoying ads through. Ad blocker per site is an all-or-nothing proposition. If a site runs a single ad that runs afoul of Google's requirements, it will have all of its ads blocked, even the non-offending ones. Google's "Ad Experience Report" site will allow for reporting and reviewing of unacceptable ads. Once reported, Web developers have 30 days to clean up a site or face ad-blocking from Chrome.
Chrome has more than 50 percent of the browser market, and, with an on-by-default ad blocker, this will have huge ripple effects across the Web.