Ever visited a web page and the first thing that greets you are the ads? And started wondering how you can block them from disturbing your viewing pleasure? Well, you don’t have to worry anymore. Google has decided, it will incorporate an ad blocker in their Chrome web browser early next year. Chrome will stop showing ads (including those owned or served by Google according to the blog written by Sridhar Ramaswamy the executive in charge of Google’s ads), on websites that are not compliant with the Better Ads Standards.
In other words, Google will use Chrome to cut off add revenue from websites that serve low-quality ads. They are calling it an “Ad Filter” according to The Wall Street Journal. Users with third party ad blocker enabled will see a prompt that asks them to either turn off their ad blocker or pay for a pass that removes all ads on that site through the new Google Chrome contributor. If they choose to pay the fee, Google will take a 10 percent cut. If they select neither, they won’t be able to view the website. Therefore full-page ad interstitials, flashing ads and ads that unexpectedly play sound will be banned.
Google together with the Coalition for Better Ads, a group that offers specific standards for how the industry should improve ads for consumers which includes Facebook, News Corp, and The Washington Post as members, hope that this will stymie the usage of add-ons and extensions that block all ads outright. Google agrees that ad blockers like this hurt publishers that create free content and “threatens the sustainability of the web ecosystem.” Google is providing a tool that publishers can run to find out if their sites’ ads are in violation and will be blocked in Chrome.
Ramaswamy says that the goal of Chrome’s ad blocker is to make online ads better. “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,” he writes. And what he writes is probably true; Chrome’s ad blocker likely will clean up the web and result in a better browsing experience. It just does that by giving a single advertising juggernaut a whole lot of say over what’s good and bad.
Just keep in mind that at its core, Google is an ad company and 89 percent of its revenue comes from displaying ads. The Chrome Ad Filter doesn’t just help publishers but also helps Google maintain its dominance and it advantages Google’s own ad units which will not be in violation of the bad ad rules.
The drawback is, this gives Google ultimate power to decide what qualifies as a good ad. So if a publisher has an ad that doesn’t meet the criteria set by the Coalition for Better ads, then their ad won’t appear anywhere on any website.
The Chrome ad blocker coming next year isn’t the only thing Google is doing. The company is also launching the Ad Experience report, a tool which provides screenshots and videos of annoying ad experiences to help sites find and fix issues. Developers can re-submit their site for review once the problematic ad experiences have been addressed. For a full list of ads to use instead, Google recommends that publishers visit its new best practices guide.