Friday, April 21, 2017

"Google Plans Ad-Blocking Feature in Popular Chrome Browser"

According to this Wall Street Journal article, Google is planning to develop its own ad-blocker for Chrome. What's more, the ad revenue giants plans to possibly turn it on by default for users. It begs the question why a company whose majority of revenue comes from advertisers would develop a product that potentially threatens that revenue stream. In the arms race between ad blockers and advertisers (and their publishers), perhaps Google is taking the "if you can't beat them, join them" approach. Rather, Google is taking a defensive stance against the proliferation of ad-block software, an industry that pulled in $60 billion of revenue last year from online advertisers that pay to get their ads through ad-blockers' filters. Indeed, Google intends to claim a part of this market for itself, perhaps charging current clients more to get through its own ad-blocking filters. If successful, this can be a win for Google on two fronts. By blocking annoyingly disruptive ads, Chrome users will experience a better browsing experience, thus strengthening loyalty to the brand, which already claims more than 47% of the browser market on desktop and mobile. Furthermore, Google will create a "premium" service that advertisers must pay for to serve ads, which both enhances revenue growth, but also strengthens (if not by force) the relationship with its advertisers. It is a risky move, however, as there may be backlash from advertisers, who may threaten to advertise on competitor browsers or allocate funding to boost ads on other channels, such as TV. Moreover, Google must ensure that its filtering technology is flawless because, if it accidentally blocks clients' ads and allows others' through, they potentially threaten their credibility and invite more retailation from current customers. On the other hand, however, in the eyes of consumers, Google will be seen as the "hero" in response to consumer advocacy and demand. 

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