When fake news and misleading ads rule the internet like never before, who would have thought big giants like Google would have to spill blood to stop the cause?
As a move to safeguard brand value, big brands from the UK and elsewhere started to boycott advertising on YouTube; Google's video-sharing platform as a response to their advertisements placed against explicit content showing terrorism, hate speech, and violence. Companies like Verizon, AT&T, Johnson & Johnson, and General Motors lined up to boycott advertising in Youtube and decided not to spend money on any Google products or services until Google find a solution to the problem.
The whole crisis for Google was built up by one man named Eric Feinberg, a marketing executive, and owner of Global Intellectual Property Enforcement Center; a company that specializes in deep web interrogation techniques to find hate speech and terror content over the internet.
Feinberg owns a patent claiming a "computerized system and method for detecting fraudulent or malicious enterprises." His system works by analyzing videos that appear on the internet alongside phrases like "terrorist," 'kill Jews" in platforms like Youtube. Eric is trying to cash in his patented system to Youtube and claims that Google can least survive alone and even if they did, he added: "not without violating my patent."
In response to all the fuss, Google apologized for the failure to ensure brand safety to enterprises but promises a safer environment for brands in future. Over the years, Google has made many initiatives to prevent bad quality advertisements, but they never made any initiatives to monitor as to which ads are being served to which viewers over Youtube.
However, back in 2015, Youtube has invited Mot, a digital audience measurement firm that aims to safeguard brands from appearing against explicit contents and Mot was the first company invited by Youtube to monitor the site.
Meanwhile, Google in a recent blog post announced that they are beefing up the advertisement policies and tightening up the nuts and bolts for increased brand safety levels and will provide precise control for advertisers.
Google claims that it has always been in a race to find out and block bad ads from the internet through advanced algorithms and advertising policies, and they managed to bring down 1.7 billion ads that violate their policies in 2016, and it amounted more than double the ads they took down in 2015.
But what pulled Google's nerve was the reaction of those big enterprises like the Havas Worldwide, the world's sixth-largest ad holding group, by boycotting all of its ads from Google and joined with others like The Guardian, and BBC and this growing lists include brands like Marks & Spencer and Walmart. The fear of brands over brand safety costs Youtube 5% of their advertisers.
Google's Cheif business Officer, Philipp Schindler in the latest interview addressed the issue that, "We've been in emergency mode." and added, "We take this as seriously as we've taken a problem,"
Moreover, in the past few days, Google have determined what type of video contents can an advertisement be carried in Youtube. And as a starting, they began to stop broadcasting of ads along with video content that appears to have hate speech, sexually aggressive and discriminatory content and other materials that conflict the interest and values imposed by the advertisers.
This whole issue started a nuclear chain reaction in the web world, and its waves reached the advertising space. Now Google as a resort to bringing back its revenue decided to bring a new adblock to Chrome browser along with strict advertising policies.
Google Chrome enjoys a 60% global browser usage, and an introduction of a native ad blocker is also a response to third-party ad blockers, as many publishers and advertising agencies lost huge amount money and with the Google alone lost billions because of third party ad-blockers.
The introduction of native ad blocking in Chrome differs from the ad-blockers currently in the market. The ad-blockers like the Ad Block Plus have a growing number of customers ranging up to 300 million downloads and close to having 50 million monthly active users. This increasing trend of adblockers is worrying for publishers as they rely on advertising revenue to support their business.
By introducing native ad-blocking inside Chrome, Google wants to stall the growth of third-party ad-blocking websites, and hope this will discourage users from relying on third-party ad blockers that charge an amount to the advertiser to get passed through their ad filter tools. In Chrome, users will be provided with the liberty of going ad-free by paying some amount and this revenue will be collected using a tool designed by Google and will benefit publishers.
With Google Chrome having 60% of the web browser usage share, providing an ad block in itself gives a monopoly of control back to Google. There are questions arises in many sides as, if Google has control over contents a user must experience, will this undermine other ad agencies, as they can filter out ads endorsed by them.
In response to Google's ad-block in Chrome, Mark R. Patterson a professor and author of the book "Antitrust Law in the New Economy"; addressed that “Google has a lot of power." and shared his opinion of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs having so much control over ads appearing online.
Google's ad policies became more complicated, and the ad-blocker in Chrome is set up by teaming up with a third-party group called Coalition for Better Ads, that promotes and determines proper advertising habits over the internet. But criticism also fell on this group, as it was formed and maintained by large enterprises who are also big companies and advertising agencies and includes members like Google, Facebook, Teads, and Unilever.
If Google's intention to bring out ad-blocker is in good faith, then slow-loading websites, pop-up ads, redirecting and auto-play video ads will be filtered out and users will have a rich online experience.
But if Google decides to work in bad faith and uses the reason of giving good user experience as a gimmick to filter ads by other ad agencies, this will create unrest among many advertising agencies, and many ad agencies will have a slow death under this move.
To ease the blow and to follow a good advertising strategy, Google provides a six months transition time to publishers. An online evaluation tool called "Ads Experience Report Tool" is provided to check whether the ads showcased in publisher websites complies with the policies of Google.
This new change looks more favorable to Affiliate programs and websites that rely on Google AdSense.
Google may start to show ads placed by itself more, and websites that have Adsense will benefit from this, generating revenue to both sides. The publishers that are promoting advertisements to increase the value of good user experience may be at ease, while many websites that rely on third-party advertising agencies may get a sudden blow with this change.
Websites that depend only on ad revenue will find it hard to revamp their revenue model and cope with the change to strive in the market, and some will fall apart as soon as Google introduce this change. But publishers who follow a good ad experience could benefit from this shift, and we can hope that the whole change will act favorably in the coming times.
Google to bring ad-blocker and strict advertising policies to regain control over the advertising industry and we have all reasons to worry about.
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