Ad Blockers And The Internet Of Tomorrow

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Are ad–blocking, bots, and mobile gutting economic viability of the internet? We’ll take a close look.

The newest version of the Apple mobile iOS system allows ad-blocking software on mobile browsing for the first time. (Abdullah Syahbal / Flickr)
The newest version of the Apple mobile iOS system allows ad-blocking software on mobile browsing for the first time. (Abdullah Syahbal / Flickr)

Lots of people have been skipping the ads on TV for a long time. Now, ad blockers have a new boost on the Internet. Apple’s latest mobile operating system invites Internet users on iPads and phones to skip the ads. Block them. Less wait for what you want. Less data consumption. Quicker loading. But also another blow to the economics of a whole lot of big players on the web. For many, it’s no ads, no money. News sites in particular. And don’t get them started on bots! It’s a rough world out there. This hour On Point, rising challenges to the economic underpinnings of a big chunk of the Internet.
-- Tom Ashbrook


Tim Peterson, digital reporter for AdAge. (@petersontee)

Sinan Aral, professor of management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he co-leads the Initative On the Digital Economy. (@sinanaral)

Rebecca Lieb, consultant, research analyst and author focused on digital marketing and media. (@lieblink)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Putting Mobile Ad Blockers to the Test — "The advantages of ad blocking seem obvious. Not only can consumers eliminate the clutter of promotions, but eradicating data-intensive ads could help deliver faster web page load times and longer battery lives for devices. Dean Murphy, who developed the ad-blocking app Crystal, said blocking programs might also encourage publishers to create better ads that are less taxing on mobile gadgets."

Bloomberg Businessweek: How Much Of Your Audience Is Fake? -- "All a budding media mogul—whether a website operator or a traffic supplier—has to do to make money is arbitrage: Buy low, sell high. The art is making the fake traffic look real, often by sprucing up websites with just enough content to make them appear authentic. Programmatic ad-buying systems don’t necessarily differentiate between real users and bots, or between websites with fresh, original work, and Potemkin sites camouflaged with stock photos and cut-and-paste articles."

AdAge: Top iOS9 Ad Blocker Is Pulled From Apple App Store — by Its Regretful Creator — "Two days after Apple began letting people install apps to block ads within its Safari web browser, the man who created Peace, the most popular iOS9 ad blocker to date — early Tumblr developer and Instapaper creator Marco Arment — decided to pull the app that cost publishers their ad revenue and people $2.99 to download."

This program aired on October 5, 2015.


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