Archive for the ‘SEO’ Category.

Victoria’s Secret Swim Special not available to Ad Blockers

If you are like many of internet users, you probably use an Ad Blocker. If so you have unwitting joined what I call the Ad Blocking Arms Race. This arms race is extremely interesting. Unlike real war, this arms race doesn’t include a body count, making it extremely interesting and fun to watch. I keep an eye out to see how this arms race progresses.

Ad Blocking has caused a significant hit to the bottom line of many Ad-sponsored websites. It is well-known that has taken a stand against Ad Blockers. Their actions have made a clear statement:

“Our content is not free, it is paid for and sponsored by ads. Block those ad, and you will be blocked from our content.”

I previously discussed 6 Reasons Why Ad Blocking Is A Short Term Fad, even though I not against ad blocking. In this article, I discuss how soon, almost no site will work unless you disable your Ad Blocker. If that happens, Ad Blockers will be rendered quite ineffective.

Today, CBS joined in the Ad Blocking Arms Race, taking a stand and fighting back against Ad Blockers. If you try to watch free CBS content, then Ads are required. Those who go to to catch up on shows that they might want to catch up on, such as Victoria’s Secret Swim Special, will receive the following denial:

“This Video is unavailable because we were unable to load a message from our sponsors. If you are using ad blocking software please disable it and reload the page.”

CBS is giving a similar message as Here is what it looks like when you go to their web site and try to watch the Victoria’s Secret Swim Special with an Ad Blocker enabled. This is not subtle and makes it clear that the Ad Blocker is not acceptable on their site. Instead of feeling like an ad blocker is effective, this makes it feel like the Ad Blocker simple got in the way.

CBS Blocks Victoria's Secret Swim Special to Ad Blockers


Turning off Ad Blocking is easy enough, but that is not the interesting part of this. The interesting part of this is the effect this has on the Ad Blocker Arms Race. As a techie myself, I probably won’t stop using an Ad Blocker, but many average users will soon be annoyed enough by these constant denial of content to Ad Blockers, that they may stop using Ad Blockers altogether. It may take time as they may not uninstall an existing Ad Blocker, but next time a user switches to a new device, might they simply forgo installing an Ad Blocker. If that happens, Advertisers will soon win this arms race.

However, in an Arms Race, there are two sides who continually escalate. Content providers, who are sponsored by ads, are just starting to fight back.  These are their first punches.

Besides the ubiquitous feature to disable the Ad Blocker for a certain site, what is going to be the Ad Blocker’s response? Are they going to try to disguise themselves somehow? Technically, that seems difficult.

With so many sites being funded primarily by ads, are Ad Blockers really good for the Internet? There are multiple points of view. On one side, Ad Blockers are having a small but positive effect on the quality and legitimacy of ads. However, already some sites are shutting down, or if not shutting down, going inactive, do to Ad Blockers. Others are simply blocking users who have Ad Blocking software enabled.

All I can say is, this: The battle is on, and this arms race is fun to watch.



6 Reasons Why Ad Blocking Is a Short-Term Fad

Recently there has been an influx of people who want to use Ad Blockers. They are great tools, especially when the site is obnoxiously add-filled. Who hasn’t hit a site that had an annoying blinking ad. Or worse, an Ad that suddenly starts music and a loud video. Ugh. Nobody like this.

However, how effective will Ad Blockers be? They will reach peak usage sometime in early 2017 and then almost completely disappear from use by 2020. They will be nothing more than a passing fad.

  1. Ads fund the majority of the internet world
    Content is provided for free if you view the ads. Web site owners have started adding javascript code that refuses to show content if an Ad Blocker is installed. These aren’t just small sites. Very large and popular sites, including, are starting to do refuse to show their content.
    This isn’t out-of-the-box simple to do yet (only simple for a skilled JavaScript developer), but it is getting simpler. See #2.
  2. Countering ad blockers will soon be easy and ubiquitous
    WordPress runs 25% of the websites in the world. There are already Ad Blocker detectors plugin, such as the cleverly titled Ad Blocking Detector plugin. It won’t be long until a JavaScript library exists that is easy to use on custom web sites. One might argue that this will start an “arms race” between Ad Networks and Ad Blockers, where each side improves continually. But I see this as a short term Arms race. In this arms race, the money to be made is far greater on the side of the Ad Networks. Such an Arms race will be too costly for Ad Blockers, causing them to either close up shop or stop improving.
  3. Ads can be static or injected server side to appear static
    Ad Blockers won’t block static content. If they do, they will cross a line. Right now Ad blockers are blocking ads based on JavaScript. But what happens when the Ads change to be server side? The content appears static and inline.
  4. Most people don’t even know about block Ads
    So far, the majority of people don’t even know Ad Blockers exists. By the time knowledge of them has spread beyond your average “techie,” their effectiveness will be already countered. Ad Blockers already have a large user base, but compared to the Billions of internet users, their user base really hasn’t penetrated the market.
  5. Most people don’t care enough to install an Ad Blocker
    People are used to ads, and are already used to ignoring them. Some people even like that Google figures out what they like and shows them ads about it.
  6. The Ad Blockers are already no longer blocking all Ads
    The Ad Blockers are now white-listing certain ads. That means that the Ad Blockers are now in the game for money, not for you, because the Ad Blocker is free. So how are Ad Blockers going to make money? By allowing Ads. I know, it sounds crazy. Ad blockers are going to show you Ads to make money. This sounds like a good short term move. The plan is to make their money and get out because soon, by displaying ad, ad blockers are going to alienate their own users.

For all the reasons above, Ad Blockers won’t last long. They will soon lose their effectiveness, and be forgotten. One that happens, after Ad Blocker users get their next phone and next PC/Tablet/Hybrid, users probably won’t even remember to install an Ad Blocker again.

Ad Blockers Will Play an Important Role for Change

However, Ad Blockers will have played an important role. A role for change. So what about Ads are going to change?

  1. Ads Standards will Slightly Improve Ad Quality on Valid Sites
    Advertisers have been able to put out ads unchecked on the internet for almost two decades. Ad networks have risen up. However, the industry as a whole has done a poor job with ad quality.
  2. Ads Will Slightly Improve in Honestly on Valid Sites
    They have also done a poor job with ad honestly. Advertisers have gotten away with ads intended to trick and fool users. Ad blockers are already leading to Ad Networks creating more stringent rules.
  3. Ads Will Be Less Distracting on Valid Sites
    Nobody likes distracting, blinking ads. Some of these are even hard on the eyes. Such ads will no longer exist in the post Ad Blocker world.

Will Ad blockers ever go away?

No. They will always have a niche market, especially among “techies,” some of whom can even write their own ad blockers. But the market will be 1% or less. It might have a small impact and Ad Network’s bottom line, but long term, but not much.

Expect Google To Take Advantage

Google isn’t going to favor sites that use Google Ads over sites that don’t. However, Google could implement a standard of quality for Adsense ads. Then once the majority of ads have complied with those standards, then Google (the search engine) could suddenly include “Ad Quality” as a way to rank sites. Since sites using Adsense will already meet this quality, all sites using Adsense over another Ad network will be ranked higher. Google will profit hugely from this as 3rd party Ad Networks take years to adjust.