So there has been a bit of controversy going around the tech world over the last few weeks. Nothing new there really, there’s always some new cutting edge process or piece of software coming out that causes a lot of discussion. But this time the controversy isn’t about a new system, but a new policy to be rolled out by Google called ‘Funding Choices’. This initiative is due to be rolled out in North America, the UK, Germany, Australia and New Zealand over the next few months, and will require Google users who use ad-blockers to either enable advertising or make a payment to view content without ads. That’s all well and good, but what does it mean in real English?
Ad blockers are a very commonly used piece of software that prevent those annoying advertisements and pop up windows appearing when you're trying to view content online. Pop up ads were particularly popular in the 90’s, and ad blockers were created to combat the wave of frustrated users who just wanted to view their online content. People block advertisements for a variety of reasons, and you are not asked what these are when you download the software. But for example, some people find that advertisements interrupt their content viewing, find them irritating or even stressful at times. This style of marketing is called ‘interrupt marketing’, which is intrusive by design and comes between the user and their content deliberately to try and sell their products or services. It’s no surprise then that so many people use ad blockers to make their web viewing experience as painless as possible. In fact, many anti-virus and internet protection software programmes come with ad blockers built in, so the user might not even know that they are there.
Funding Choices presents a controversial move by Google, and one that may prove unpopular with users, but very popular with those engaging in interrupt marketing. Many have commented that ad blockers take a big toll on publishers and producers who rely on advertising revenue, and that these new changes will ensure that all content producers, big or small, will now have a sustainable way to fund their work with online advertising. In the same breath, Google has also announced that it is working on an ad blocker of its own, which will block specific ads that don’t meet their high standards. This is part of their campaign in conjunction with the Coalition for Better Ads, whose aim is to improve user experience and business profits by only allowing high quality adverts to be displayed online.
But for regular users and content consumers Iike us, this creates a dilemma. Either we have to put up with irritating adverts popping up all over put screens as we browse online, or we will be forced to pay a fee to make them go away. The fee has not yet been announced by Google, but with 22% of web users (that’s more than 100 million people) employing ad blockers, the money generated from this could skyrocket very quickly. But on the plus side, a large number of the ‘junk’ adverts should disappear from your screens very soon. For more information, and to keep up with new developments in the world of business tech, why not sign up to our newsletter today?