There is a battle going on right now in the tech world. A fight for your eyeballs. You have seen it; advertisements are everywhere. Pop-ups, auto-playing video and audio ads and much more vie for your attention on the web.
Most of these ads are annoying, some are intrusive, and some are downright malicious. However, if you run a website, it costs money, and for sites that are not selling a product, ads are about the only way to generate the revenue needed to maintain the site.
Site owners find themselves in a dilemma, as many good and useful sites would shut down without that income. However, when those ads are potentially dangerous, a decision has to be made. In our shop, we err on the side of caution for our customers and recommend ad blocking software like AdBlock or uBlock. While not perfect it makes for a faster, safer browsing experience.
What you may not know, is that at its heart, Google is an advertising company. The bulk of their revenue comes from advertising. While Google tries very diligently not to allow fraudulent or malicious ads into its ad network, they do sometimes slip through. It comes as somewhat of a surprise then that Google will soon be implementing ad blocking the Chrome, its web browser and one of the most popular in the world. Wouldn’t this hurt them?
At first glance, it seems like it would. However, Google sees which way the wind is blowing.
Google will not block all ads in Chrome. They have announced that they will filter all ads from sites that use “unacceptable ads.” Unacceptable ad types are determined by the Coalition for Better Ads, which is an ad industry trade group. This leaves the question of what will be allowed through a filter policed by the industry it is limiting and feels a bit like the fox guarding the hen house. The ad industry needs to do something, though, or they will find themselves no longer relevant.
If it turns out that the built-in ad-blocking is not enough, there will still be third-party tools to do the job. We can all wish we lived in a world where no ads were necessary, but someone has to pay for our daily dose of cat pictures, memes, and fake news.