Block That Ad Blocker...Politely

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BlockIQ asks people running ad blockers to reconsider. But if they don't, it can deny them access to the desired site.


A company called BlockIQ, set up by the display engine AdSupply, is confronting the ad blocker problem issue with diplomacy. It lets a publisher issue messages to sell blockers on the need for ad revenue before cutting them off from access to the website altogether.

BlockIQ detects Web visitors who are using ad blockers and then responds with various actions chosen by publishers. First comes the diplomacy: A welcome message that sells the value of the website and explains that it can cease to survive if too many people block ads. If that doesn't inspire users to disable their blockers, the more hard-line BlockBypass system kicks in, refusing to serve them content until they do. The third choice is BlockBypass, which end-runs blockers altogether and serves up the ads anyway.

That last option uses something called server-side ad insertion, or SSAI, offered by other ad-blocking providers such as Brightcove. It works by negating the call ad blockers make to the server to block the ad. BlockIQ presents a phased approach in which publishers can educate consumers that ad blocking, as the company's press release states, “breaks the implicit free content in exchange for advertising understanding between website and visitor.”

“If ad blocking continues unchecked, it will eliminate the advertising revenue websites need to survive. It's like expecting a movie theater to stay in business when 30% of their audience does not pay for a ticket,” says BlockIQ CEO Justin Bunnell.

More than a few influential members of the digital advertising community feel ad blockers could ultimately aid marketers and publishers by forcing them to up the quality levels of their content. Blockers, at this point, pose the greatest danger to small publishers dependent on low‐end, programmatic revenue. More established publishers with premium content command higher prices for their limited ad inventory. 

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