How Chrome ad blocking is already changing the web

How Chrome ad blocking is already changing the web, by Stpehen Shankland.

On Thursday … Chrome takes a significant step in the direction that hundreds of millions of us already have gone by installing ad blockers. Chrome stops far short of those browser extensions, which typically ban all ads, but the move carries plenty of importance because Google’s browser dominates the web on both personal computers and phones.

Chrome is used to view about 56 percent of web pages, according to analytics firm StatCounter.

Chrome’s ad-blocking move is designed to rid the web of sites stuffed to the gills with ads or degraded by obnoxious ads, said Ryan Schoen, Google’s product manager for web platform work at Chrome.

There are signs it’s already had an effect: About 42 percent of sites that the company’s warned have dialed back on ads to pass Google’s standards, including the LA Times, Forbes and the Chicago Tribune.

“We want the web to be a place where businesses can thrive and make revenue, but also a place where users can have a good experience,” Schoen said. “We’re hoping this will bring balance back in the web ecosystem.” …

In Chrome, you’ll no longer see ads that:

  • Cover more than 30 percent of your phone screen
  • Cover your screen and show a countdown timer
  • Autoplay video with sound
  • Use “sticky” panels that won’t go away
  • Pop up to cover part of the screen

What you’ll see instead is a message from Chrome explaining what’s happening and allowing you to disable the ad blocking. …

It’s part of an ugly feedback loop, Deloitte said in a study: “As traffic volumes have increased, revenue per [ad] impression has fallen and the number of intermediaries extracting a commission has risen. To compensate for this, web pages have become ever more cluttered with banner and video ads. In response … hundreds of millions of online consumers have deployed ad blockers, which in turn has provoked the channeling of ever more advertisements per page to those not blocking ads.”