Yandex has launched an alternative to ad blockers in the form of a ‘complaint button’, allowing users of its Android browser to report intrusive or annoying ads and initiate custom ad filtering.

According to the Russian search giant, the update helps to achieve a “golden mean” between user preference and publisher revenue. It’s reported that any ad that a user chooses to block fires off a report which the company will use to filter irrelevant placements through machine learning.

Additionally, advertisers will have access to the resulting data, allowing them to gain insight into what’s working and what isn’t, producing more targeted and effective campaigns as a result.

The aim, of course, is to curb ad-blocker usage on Yandex’s browser. The group says the number of people using these tools has shot up by 20% since October 2015, and while the new button has only been made available on its Android browser, Yandex plans to extend its use across other operating systems in the future.

Ruining the batch

According to the group’s head of projects, Roman Ivanov, consumers “don’t hate” all ads, arguing that the widespread, “indiscriminate” use of this software has instead stemmed from a portion of bad examples.

“Our goal is to identify what type of advertisement is unacceptable for our users so that we can block it in the browser automatically,” he explains.

Ivanov says this will be achieved by analysing reports from every single user of the button through AI-based technology, which will process the results and work to the end-goal of targeting more relevant content.

Latest efforts

The announcement marks the latest in a slew of ad-blocker workarounds, dripped out from all corners of the industry within the last year or more. Earlier this month and in a similar vein, Facebook launched measures to circumvent the software on its desktop site.

Yandex’s head of advertising, Dmitry Popov, added that the total removal of ads by coverall ad blockers currently on the market is “incompatible” with the principle business model on which free web services are based.

“The overwhelming majority of popular web services and websites that people use every day, including online media, search engines, email, maps and social networks, wouldn’t exist or evolve without advertising.

“Advertisements are indispensable, but [advertisers] should consider the interests of the user and be useful rather than annoying,” said Popov.