Recent research by ad-tech company Oriel has found that adblocking is actually doing more than simply blocking ads.
Adblocking is, they say, a “blunt instrument” that’s causing error messages on websites and leading to important content disappearing from things like airline check-ins, cookie policies and order-tracking pages.
Even entire blogs are going AWOL without us knowing, they claim.
The company, who endorse the UK culture secretary’s assessment that adblocking is “a modern day protection racket“, report that a number of the UK’s top companies including BA, Land Rover, P&G and Vodafone are being affected.
Third party Adblockers have become very popular in the last few years and browser vendors like Opera and Microsoft are now starting to integrate adblocking directly in to their software.
Mobile operator Three is even looking at blocking adverts at a network level and Oriel is concerned about that too, describing it as a “shady and serious issue”.
Oriel isn’t the only ad company who doesn’t like adblockers though, the entire industry is rattled – in 2015, a report by Adobe and PageFair claimed that adblockers would cost business $22 billion USD over the course of that year.
Oriel, just wants to protect publishers from “censorship”:
It might seem convenient, but below the surface is a very shady, and serious issue – it is interfering, changing and potentially censoring web content and like a “man in the middle attack” the true nature of what the publisher intended to deliver to their website audience is therefore compromised.
While we believe adblocking is a consumer right we also believe that publishers whose content we access have the right to protect the Integrity and Delivery of their web content from any form of manipulation, change or censorship.
Am I, a member of the browsing public, really concerned about publishers’ rights to protect the integrity of their web content from a form of manipulation, change or censorship that I’ve sanctioned?
Not in the least.
People like me running adblockers want to manipulate pages. We’re downloading adblockers because we want a better online experience; we want faster, safer and easier-to-use browsers. We want annoying, irrelevant and potentially unsafe ads to be blocked.
I’m much more worried about my PC being infected by malvertising and fed up with annoying and irrelevant ads. After all, suppressing an adblocker that gets in the way of a site I want to use is far less hassle than sorting out an infected computer.
If adblockers are accidentally tripping over and blocking other bits of pages then that’s unfortunate, but unless it’s deliberate it isn’t censorship, it’s just a false positive.
Is this type of scaremongering really going to stop people turning to adblockers?