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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > IAB head: 'we messed up' in escalating Internet advertising technology

IAB head: 'we messed up' in escalating Internet advertising technology
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MacNN Staff
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Oct 16, 2015, 09:25 AM
In a blog post, Scott Cunningham, the senior vice president of technology at the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), confessed to driving the state of Internet ads to near collapse. Saying that the rampant proliferation of Flash and similar technologies has "steamrolled the users, depleted their devices, and tried their patience", the vice president has launched the LEAN ads program, designed to lighten the impact on users, reduce the data footprint of ads, and guarantee viewer device safety simultaneously.

The nonprofit IAB was founded in 1996, and comprises 42 licensee organizations across the world. The ad industry advocacy group criticized for "Do Not Track" enabled by default in 2012, and campaigned against Mozilla's block of third-party cookies in 2013. The group also frequently lobbies against regulation of Internet advertising, and provides legal support to ad vendors.

In the post, clearly inspired from the recent explosion of ad blocking technology for the mass market, Cunningham claims that "we built advertising technology to optimize publishers' yield of marketing budgets that had eroded after the last recession. Looking back now, our scraping of dimes may have cost us dollars in consumer loyalty." He confesses that in doing so, "the fast, scalable systems of targeting users with ever-heftier advertisements have slowed down the public internet and drained more than a few batteries."

LEAN stands for light, encrypted, ad choice supported, and non-invasive. The program is not intended to supplant anything -- Cunningham says the new program will "not replace the current advertising standards many consumers still enjoy and engage with while consuming content." Instead, the initiative will "guide an alternative set of standards that provide choice for marketers, content providers, and consumers."

Cunningham is clear about why the initiative is starting. He says that "the rise of ad blocking poses a threat to the internet and could potentially drive users to an enclosed platform world dominated by a few companies." Furthermore, the executive writes that "we lost sight of our social and ethical responsibility to provide a safe, usable experience for anyone and everyone wanting to consume the content of their choice."

It is unclear when technologies introduced by LEAN, which appear to also be targeted at circumventing conventional ad blocking will appear. Also not known is the potential impact on the advertising ecosystem of an optional program, which isn't designed to completely replace existing advertising on the web.
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Oct 16, 2015 at 09:29 AM. )
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Oct 16, 2015, 10:21 AM
FINALLY .... I personally applaud the idea that "effective" advertising is not the same as "intrusive" advertising. I absolutely REFUSE to support companies that force download huge images, movies, or other stuff. They are defeating their purpose.

Keep ads simple ... engaging ... and with links to more detail if I am intrigued
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Oct 16, 2015, 10:30 AM
The biggest problem is Flash.
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Oct 16, 2015, 12:59 PM
Flash is so 2000 now. The big problem these days, in iOS, are apps/games using iAds that redirect to the App Store without touching a single ad.
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Oct 16, 2015, 02:18 PM
What next? Climate change is real?
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Oct 16, 2015, 04:08 PM
Well that's unnervingly honest about the sewage-filled hole they dug themselves into.

If publishers actually get on board with this, the web could start sucking a lot less, and possibly greater revenue. I know I personally have no particular aversion to being tastefully advertised interesting products, but I will never buy from intrusive companies--I long since wrote off anybody who tried to telemarket to me, even if it was a service or product I might otherwise be interested in, and I've on multiple occasions abandoned shopping at online stores that advertised too aggressively to me.

@ElectroTech: The biggest problem is most certainly not Flash, as mobile devices (which suffer most from advertising bloat) don't even run Flash. The biggest problem is that almost every page you visit now has (literally) twenty different tracking networks, ad networks, and hidden pieces of "analytics" javascript watching your every move, bloating download sizes, and causing massive CPU use for absolutely no benefit to the reader.
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