Ad Blocking

Mirkwood Evans Vincent stop ad blocking

Ad blocking software is becoming increasingly big business, promising to suppress sales advertisements and give subscribers a less irritating surfing experience. What may be less obvious is that a key income stream associated with software of this type is the money which advertisers are prepared to pay to make sure that their adverts are not the ones which are blocked.

It was in this context that we followed with interest two cases in the German courts of publishers alleging anti-competitive behaviour against Eyeo, the licensors of AdBlock Plus, which suppresses advertisements for businesses owned by its competitors unless they have paid an “appearance” fee to Eyeo but does not suppress advertisements for Eyeo affiliated businesses. The position of the German courts in both cases has been that the actions of Eyeo are not anti-competitive because Eyeo does not have sufficient market dominance to stop online publishers from sourcing sufficient users to see their ads by other means.

We wonder what the future holds for ad blocking software, in terms of whether subscribers will vote with their feet against ad blocking software which does not quite do what they expected it to, or whether online advertising is just set to become more expensive, as new entrants to the market continue the trend of charging advertisers for the privilege of appearing on their subscriber’s devices.