A Proposed Protocol for Ethical Ad Blocking:
Many online publishers serve ads to their website visitors. In some cases the revenue generated helps pay for site maintenance and hosting fees, in other cases it may be the site’s sole raison d’être. But some people are not happy about being served ads, hence the growing popularity of ad blocking software. In an article published on Monday, Marketing Land columnist Jonathan Hochman suggests a potential way for ad blocking software developers, publishers, and consumers to “co-exist peacefully.”
Ad Serving V Ad Blocking
Hochman begins by looking at the ad serving process from both sides of the fence. On the one hand, if publishers cannot monetize their content their businesses may suffer. However, site visitors pay for bandwidth, so viewing pages that are overly rich in ads and tracking scrips is not always desirable. The presence of tracking scripts is an issue in itself because visitors have a right to privacy, but publishers often wish to track user activity so that they can improve their content, serve the most relevant ads, and decide on appropriate advertising fees.
Hochman suggests implementing a protocol that allows publisher to set site access policies that provide potential visitors with two choices.
- Whitelist the site and accept the ads served.
- Look elsewhere.
Taking his idea a little further, Hochman suggest an arrangement whereby “ethical” ad blocking software identifies itself to web servers rather than allowing users ad-free browsing on sites where such a practice is prohibited. Hochman also believes it is important for site visitors to be made aware of the size and type of ads they are likely to be served, along with information about the maximum bandwidth that is likely to be consumed by the ads.
Hochman has obviously given this matter a great deal of thought. He suggests ideas on how to “keep everybody honest,” and even provides an example session. The feasibility of such a protocol is hard to say, but his article certainly makes for interesting reading.
What are your proposed solutions?
Author: Steve Calvert
Steve Calvert is a freelance writer based in the Netherlands. He has expertise in several niches, including health and fitness and internet marketing, and also has a good knowledge of SEO.