Ten Key Things That Happened in Q4

Dr Johnny Ryan Adblocking, GDPR

Amid the blizzard of press releases and conference tidbits concerning media, advertising, and adblocking, only some really matter. Here are the ten key things that happened in Q4. OCTOBER 1. US Department of Justice examines possible agency shenanigans.  It transpired that the US Department of Justice had launched an investigation into rigged bids that unfairly favored advertising agencies’ in-house services over others, at clients’ expense. The Association of National Advertisers’ report into agency kickbacks, released in June, exposed agency practises that shortchanged clients, and several big brand CMOs launched audits of their agencies. But the DOJ investigation now raises the stakes for agency executives: previous investigations in 2002 resulted in prison sentences. 2. Media consolidation AT&T agreed a deal to purchase Time Warner for $85.4 Billion.…

The Rules of Adblocking: How Block Lists Work

David Barton Adblocking

This note is a layman’s guide to how the “block lists” that power adblocking work. A block list contains tens of thousands of rules that govern how a website should be displayed. There are two types of rules. “Filter” rules define what should be blocked. “Exception” rules define what content should be displayed. The most popular block list, “EasyList”, contains tens of thousands of these filters and exceptions.

How much extra revenue will Facebook make by advertising to the blocked web?

David Barton Adblocking

Facebook’s decision earlier this year to start serving ads to adblockers is already starting to bear fruit. In last week’s Q3 earnings call, the company said that “desktop ad revenue grew 18%, which is higher than growth rates in recent quarters, and was aided by our efforts to limit the impact of ad blockers on advertising served via web browsers”. This post examines these figures to extrapolate the revenue lift that Facebook will enjoy from serving ads on the blocked web. We estimate that Facebook's decision to show tamper-proof ads will yield an additional $720 million over the next year. 

Eight Things From Q3 Worth Knowing

Dr Johnny Ryan Adblocking, GDPR

Now, ten days into October, we have had time to digest on the events of the last quarter. As is ever the case with history, only some of the headlines of the last three months will have any lingering impact. But of all the events in the past three months the following eight are worth knowing about. This post is a quick digest of the ones that will shape the environment.…

Podcast: discussion with Jason Kint (DCN)

Dr Johnny Ryan Adblocking

I spoke with Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next (DCN), which represents the most prestigious publishers in the world, including The New York Times, The Financial Times, Disney, Bloomberg, Vox. In our podcast we discuss pressing issues for publishers and marketeers including: native advertising, adblocking, micropayments, measurement, the media economy and publisher business models, transparency in the advertising market, and Facebook’s decision to show ads to adblockers. Listen below.…

YouTube’s Fine Line Between Brand Safety and Censorship

David Barton Adblocking

YouTubers were on the warpath again last week, this time over the apparent censorship of their right to monetize potentially offensive content. The hashtag #YouTubeIsOverParty has become the rallying cry behind a wave of protests over the enforcement of measures aimed at making YouTube a safer environment for advertisers. YouTube’s renewed vigor in terms of restricting monetization can be read as roundabout censorship, but it should also be looked at from a brand safety perspective. The policy clarification is a reminder that YouTube is a business that exists to make money and must ultimately address the needs of advertisers and brands. Creating a stable advertising environment is at the top of the company’s agenda. But where is the line between freedom of speech, censorship, and brand safety?…

As expected, ISP adblocking violates EU net neutrality

The PageFair Team Adblocking

As Dr Johnny Ryan predicted in December, ISP adblocking violates EU net neutrality guidelines. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) released guidelines on August 30 that clearly warn against network-level content blocking. Further, opt-in or opt-out approaches are also unacceptable to BEREC. Read our original post from December 14, 2015, to find out more about why ISP adblocking is in breach of net neutrality regulations in the European Union and our subsequent post on how it poses a sinister threat to the next billion Internet users.…

ISP adblocking + Zimbabwe = death of online freedom?

David Barton Adblocking, Uncategorized

Network-level adblocking may be illegal in Europe and the US, but it is a direct threat to the developing world. Can the next billion look forward to a free Internet, or will dictators and tycoons control what they see? Three months ago we warned that network-level adblocking is a risky idea in countries with a weak democratic tradition. Now our worst fears have come true. Shine is partnering with Econet, Zimbabwe’s leading mobile ISP, to deliver network-level adblocking in a corrupt country with a track record of oppression, a moribund economy and a defunct currency.…