Google’s Play Store welcomed an intriguing addition today – that of the Adblock Browser; a mobile app from Adblock Plus which delivers the world wide web without many of the ads that fill it.
While some web users will be aware of the company’s ad-blocking software for desktop, this is the first time Adblock Plus has packaged elements of its tech into a fully functional, out-of-the-box browser.
By automatically blocking inventory at the browser level, Adblock says its free app is able to deliver a faster and safer surfing experience for all.
But according to Berit Block, marketing director for Europe at programmatic ad software group DataXu, the online world might be left to rue the mistake of eliminating what keeps a lot of sites free-to-view.
Meanwhile there is an argument that advertisers should be doing more to enhance their reputation in the eyes of those who would be tempted to download the app.
“Consumers should have a choice of whether or not to block ads, but it’s important to keep in mind that advertising is what keeps the internet free,” states Block.
“It’s up to the advertising industry as a whole to make advertising as valuable and interesting as possible to help, rather than annoy, consumers – the more relevant advertising is to consumers, the less it will disrupt or intrude on their online experience.”
Adblock gets serious
Should the app prove a hit with browsers, it could represent yet another setback for marketers looking to strike a chord with a mobile audience.
Adblock’s news comes in the aftermath of reports that mobile network providers, irate at companies like Google making money from their infrastructure, are looking to block ads on future devices.
Part of the rhetoric behind Adblock’s quest to erase “annoying” messages from the web has certainly been targeted at users that feel ads don’t enhance their experience – a point which, for marketers, could be a warning to improve the current situation.
“With technologies like programmatic and dynamic creative optimisation, there’s no reason marketers shouldn’t be creating personalised and relevant advertising that consumers actually appreciate,” adds Block.
In the meantime, Adblock will be working hard on trying to keep the browser on Google Play after one of its previous titles – Adblock Plus – was removed on the grounds of it interfering with other apps.
One thing Adblock’s browser does have going for it this time is the status of ‘platform’ rather than ‘add-on’, meaning it does not apply a layer to another program.