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Ad Blockers Are a Big Deal
By: Mike Bush
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We knew it was coming...the ability to block ads in a browser. Apple had previewed it as part of their upcoming iOS, and we knew a ton of digital ink would be shed over the launch of ad blockers.

I touched on it a while back here. People who are far smarter than I am, like Nilay Patel and Mathew Ingram, also chimed in.

And today, we’re in a place where publishers must frantically be looking around for a lifeline, which may or may not come in the near future. The Washington Post tackled the issue head on, disallowing anyone using an ad blocker to get to the website’s content. Others were more measured in their approach. Maybe micropayments will be the answer? Or, well, maybe not:
 
I don’t know how much a piece of content will be worth to me, so I am not willing to pay for it until I have read it http://t.co/ic0i1bLYOq
— Fred Wilson (@fredwilson) September 18, 2015
Advertisers should have lots of questions. Are people turning on ad blockers to speed up their load times, or because stunning, intrusive ads that take over entire web pages and create crummy user experiences are stunningly intrusive? Would something more subtle have been more acceptable? Is there a new emphasis on native advertising, in all its forms, so people who think they won’t see an ad are suddenly confused by what they’re reading? If so, who will be the first organization dragged in front of a consumer advocacy group for “aggressive marketing”?

On the PR front…well, this whole thing is messy. Earned media may be harder to come by with even smaller pools of reporters at fewer publications. Maybe not? Earned media may have less value as native ads become more prevalent. Maybe not.

As an industry, we need to keep a keen watch on what’s happening and be able to speak intelligently about it to our clients. And that’s tough when so many answers are “I don’t know, because no one does.”


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About the Author
Mike Bush is a PR and Marketing freelancer with more than a dozen years of experience in the field. Find him on and connect Twitter @mikebush or at www.mikebush.nyc. 
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