Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Ad Blocking May Threaten the Internet

"Use of Ad-Blocking Software Rises by 30% Worldwide," reports the New York Times. That could be a problem:  "By using software to block digital advertising, critics say, users are breaking an unwritten pact with websites and digital publishers, many of which generate the bulk of their revenue from these ads."

A National Bureau of Economic Research study also sounds the alarm: "Ad blocking poses a substantial threat to the ad-supported web," say the authors of the study. According to their research, one-quarter of site visitors in 2016 used ad blockers and by doing so reduced the quality of web sites as determined by traffic ranks. After examining proprietary, site-specific data from 2013 to 2016, the researchers determine that each percentage-point increase in site visitors who use ad blockers worsens a site's traffic rank by 0.6 percent over a 35 month period. "We conclude that ad blocking poses a substantial threat to the ad-supported web."

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Will Ad Blocking Break the Internet? NBER Working Paper #23058 ($5)

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