Google has a new strategy to combat pesky pop-up ads that plague internet browser users around the globe. In what appears to be a contradictory move for a company whose profits come largely from advertising, Google is now blocking particularly annoying advertising on its browser, Chrome.
The move comes after some 615 million instances of adblockers were installed in 2017, according to a report from ad tech company FairPage.
Now in an effort to prevent even more users from downloading adblockers, Google is launching its own more moderate filter, which will automatically block aggressive advertising like pop-up videos and separate ad windows on Chrome.
And yet it all sounds a bit illogical for a company that earns billions of dollars in advertising each year. “In the short term, we do not benefit from it,” says Google manager Michael Todd. It is instead about a longer-term strategy, he explains.
In other words, it’s an effort to prevent more users from installing external adblockers that completely block out online advertising.
After all, the tech giant operates its own billion-dollar ad market on the internet. Google’s in-house product, Chrome, with a market share of around 56%, is also by far the most widely used browser in the world.
However critics fear that Google will further expand its already powerful position in the online advertising marketplace with this filter.
For its part, Google insists that it will not get to decide which advertising is eliminated. Instead, they say they will adhere to the Better Ad Standards, a set of rules established by the Coalition for Better Ads. This is an association, which members include Google, Microsoft, the Washington Post, the Axel Springer publishing house and many others.
However, the Association of German Magazine Publishers (VDZ) regards Google’s market power with concern. “Here, the gatekeeper becomes even more the overseer of who can publish which ads and thus make money,” the group said in a statement. “Google has the last word, as well as the power to implement.”
This goes for log-in capabilities, operating systems and browsers, said the Association, which represents more than 500 publishers. “Chrome is a key part of Google’s strategy to dominate the advertising markets.”