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Publishers get ad blocking 'solution'

News, 20 June 2016

LONDON: Advertisers and publishers have been struggling for some time to find the best response to the global rise of ad blocking software, but now a start-up tech firm believes it has found a solution.

London-based Oriel has launched a plugin for WordPress, the largest content management system in the world, powering more than 60m websites.

It claims the plugin takes just two minutes to install, meaning publishers do not need to write any code or install any scripts on their websites, and gives them access to analytics tools to provide insight into visitors who use ad blocking software.

In addition to guaranteeing the delivery of web content, Oriel said its platform is designed to ensure that only acceptable ad formats are allowed, and it blocks poor quality ads such as pop-ups, flash ads and volume-enabled videos.

"They cannot be rendered through our system, because we don't want to be a technology that peddles the same garbage advertising that created the ad blocking problem in the first place," said Aidan Joyce, Oriel's CEO, in an interview with The Drum.

Joyce argued that most users who install ad blocking software do not really object to reasonable advertising in return for quality free content, but rather object to advertising that is intrusive.

"The wonderful thing that's come out of this whole ad blocking issue and debate is that the user has spoken. It's probably the biggest online protest in the world," he said.

"Publishers are reacting and technology like this is also reacting, and making sure that we provide a better user experience. I think that if publishers display a reasonable ad-light experience, which is fast, non-invasive on privacy and which is secure, I think that is a very fair exchange."

Joyce went on to say that the new plugin would be of particular value to small and medium-sized publishers, who don't always have the technical ability to put up a paywall on their websites to defend themselves against ad blockers.

"Sadly it is the smaller publishers and content creators that suffer the most," he said in a company statement. "What our WordPress plugin offers, is a way for publishers of any shape and size, to better understand their ad blocking problems and then re-engage their adblock visitors."

Data sourced from Oriel, The Drum; additional content by Warc staff