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Publishers aim for ad block 'dialogue'

News, 08 March 2016

NEW YORK: Publishers have been given new tools and advice on how to cope with the threat of ad blocking in an IAB "primer" which advocates "meaningful dialogue" with users of ad blockers.

The first step to initiating that dialogue, however, requires publishers to identify who is using ad blocking and the IAB Tech Lab is also making its exclusive ad blocking detection script available to all IAB and IAB Tech Lab members around the world.

The primer proposes four-step approach for publishers to connect with ad blocking consumers.

DEAL stands for: Detect ad blocking, in order to initiate a conversation; Explain the value exchange that advertising enables; Ask for changed behaviour in order to maintain an equitable exchange; and Lift restrictions or Limit access in response to consumer choice.

"We believe that a combination of tools and the DEAL approach to communication with consumers will allow publishers big and small the chance to cut through the blockade, ensuring the strength of the open, ad-supported internet," said Scott Cunningham, General Manager, IAB Tech Lab, and Senior Vice President, Technology and Ad Operations, IAB.

The new acronym builds on last year's LEAN – Light, Encrypted, Ad choice supported, Non-invasive adsads program.

Announcing that program, Cunningham admitted that "We have let the fine equilibrium of content, commerce, and technology get out of balance in the open web".

That theme was taken up at the recent Mobile World Congress by the chief executive of O2, the UK mobile operator, who warned that "there is an imbalance between the interests of the consumers being supported and the interests of advertisers, and both are legitimate, but there doesn't seem to be a fair balance".

The latest IAB initiative is based on work with companies such as Viacom, BuzzFeed, Tribune Publishing and Gawker Media. Jed Hartman, chief revenue officer for The Washington Post, and who also sits on the IAB Board of Directors, said the "focus on engaging readers in this process is vital to the growth of digital marketing and media".

Data sourced from IAB; additional content by Warc staff