You might have seen the headlines. Google, the search engine enjoying a huge advantage in the online advertising world, recently made a jaw dropping announcement that it will introduce a sophisticated ad blocker in its Chrome browser. A browser, we’ll remind you, that is currently used by up to HALF of all internet users in the United States.
Privacy advocates cheered and forums lit up with excitement. No more pesky app store Google banners, no more Google auto-play Youtube ads and no more skimpy images reminding you there are singles overseas waiting for you to marry them.
Google is being quite misleading in this new endeavor. The truth is Google isn’t going to have a Chrome default extension that blocks all ads and makes the user experience more enjoyable. No, Google is simply going to block ads from its advertising network competitors.
More via The Intercept.
What ads would get blocked? The ones not sold by Google, for the most part.
The Chrome ad blocker would stop ads that provide a “frustrating experience,” according to Google’s blog post announcing the change. The ads blocked would match the standards produced by the Coalition for Better Ads, an ostensibly third-party group. For sure, the ads that would get blocked are intrusive: auto-players with sound, countdown ads that make you wait 10 seconds to get to the site, large “sticky” ads that remain constant even when you scroll down the page.
But it gets even better. This seemingly mystical Coalition for Better Ads dictating what standards must be met to avoid having ads blocked just so happens to basically be a Google funded/created organization.
But who’s part of the Coalition for Better Ads? Google, for one, as well as Facebook. Those two companies accounted for 99 percent of all digital ad revenue growth in the United States last year, and 77 percent of gross ad spending. As Mark Patterson of Fordham University explained, the Coalition for Better Ads is “a cartel orchestrated by Google.”
So this is a way for Google to crush its few remaining competitors by pre-installing an ad zapper that it controls to the most common web browser. That’s a great way for a monopoly to remain a monopoly.
In other words, Google is likely going to use this “feature” to knock its opponents out of the game. And it will do so under the cloak of an organization that sets standards closely aligned with those created by Google for its own ads.