Uh oh…there goes the Herald’s new revenue stream

The NZ Herald and Fairfax went all in on native advertising, hoodwinking readers into thinking that paid for articles were news.

But all that is about to come to a crashing halt. Software engineers have worked out how to block native advertising.

For publishers, ad blockers are the elephant in the room:?Everybody sees them, no one talks about them. The common understanding is that the first to speak up will be dead?it will acknowledge that the volume of ads actually delivered can in fact be 30% to 50% smaller than claimed?and invoiced. Publishers fear retaliation from media buying agencies?even though the ad community is quick to forget that it dug its own grave by flooding the web with intolerable amounts of promotional formats.

A week ago, I was in Finland for the Google-sponsored conference Newsgeist. The gathering was setup by?Richard Gingras?and his Google News team, and by Google?s media team in London. Up there, in a? high-tech campus nested in a birch forest outside Helsinki, about 150 internet people from Europe and the United States were setting the? agenda for what is called an?un-conference?as opposed to the usual PowerPoint-saturated format delivered in one-way mode. As expected, one session was devoted to the ad blocking issue. (I can?t quote anyone since discussions took place under the?Chatham House Rule).

Everybody agreed: ad blockers have grown exponentially in every market, and are?now threatening the whole ecosystem.Their reach now extends to native advertising?which was, until now, relatively spared because native ads?can be?managed by the publisher?s Content Management System instead of an ad-server. But ABP?s engineers found a way to spot and remove any phrase?like ?sponsored content? or ?sponsored by.? This?creates pernicious side-effects, as the user won?t be able to distinguish between commercial and legitimate editorial content on websites. In doing so, the Eyeo people now drift far away from their self-assigned ?mission? to protect users from aggressive ads?because branded content is?seen by publishers as a credible alternative to invasive formats that disfigure websites. As times passes, Eyeo GmbH now veers into anti-advertising activism?a pragmatic pursuit since it collects millions of euros from large players like Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and Taboola, who all?gave in to Eyeo blackmail??in order to have their ads whitelisted.

Perhaps Shayne Currie can use his Wolfson prize to study the prostitution of the media to their advertisers via native advertising.

Fairfax and the NZ Herald are eventually going to rue the day they sold out to native advertising.

– NZ Herald