IAB Wants to Do More About Ad Blocking; Convenes Group to Study Options

IAB Wants to Do More About Ad Blocking Convenes Group to Study OptionsThe Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is getting serious — and trying to do more — about ad blockers.

In fact, President-CEO Randall Rothenberg just reiterated his disdain for the practice. While acknowledging how many small publishers are being hurt by the practice, he pledged that the IAB will take new steps to help them fight back.

“Because many ad blockers cloak their presence, for example, the IAB said it had developed code to help small publishers tell when consumers arrive intending to stiff-arm their ads,” according to AdAge.

That lets publishers know who’s knocking at the door — and gives them an opportunity to change hearts and minds.

“Some publishers that see ad-blocking visitors arrive greet them with dialogue boxes encouraging a change of heart or, failing that, perhaps becoming paid subscribers,” noted AdAge. “But the open architecture of many web pages has allowed ad blockers to hide even those dialogue boxes, Mr. Cunningham said. The IAB is recommending that publishers switch to more secure protocols to prevent that.”

But it’s not all bravado. There’s a bit of mea culpa mixed in, too.

“Part of the problem is as an industry we have gone a little bit overboard on the advertising,” said Rick Jaworski, CEO at JoyOfBaking.com, during a main-stage session with Mr. Rothenberg designed to publicize the plight of publishers. “For myself, when I go to a lot of sites these days, I’m irritated and I want an ad blocker.”

What’s next?

The IAB’s new group working on the problem will hold its first meeting next week. The goal is to “study and experiment with responses including a more clutter-free web experience, strict guidelines for the data that ads traffic in, public messaging, and renewed promotion of the industry’s AdChoices program,” which aims to give consumers at least some control over their digital experience.