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The Great Ad Blocking Wars Are Upon Us...
This week a browser (Brave) raised $4.5 million dollars to fuel the development of a privacy-first web browser. The ‘ad-blocking, privacy-centric’ browser hopes to move upstream and set up shop between media companies and end-users in a way that a plugin never could: enabled by default upon installation.
We find ourselves amidst an ad-blocking arms race. In one corner, there is a new browser on the market hoping to overstep ad blocking plugins (ad blocking is already pretty played out…), and in the other corner, there are companies looking to take the blocking technology directly to Internet Service Providers and even cellular carriers, thereby overstepping browsers entirely. If this arms race continues, it’s not hard to see a future on the horizon where privacy-first ad-blocking technology is on by default for the entire internet. It’s also not that far fetched to assume that a company (or a handful of them) will be solely responsible for determining what’s safe, what’s not, and what should be censored if we continue down this path (cough it should have been the IAB, btw cough). It's a severe and self-inflicted penalty for the ad tech industry.
We haven’t been able to police our industry, and the result is a third-party determining which cars have access to the roads we're all riding on today, and which are being forced into the ditch. It's not surprising that many are referring to these blocking technologies as anti-net neutrality mechanism.
But, people have been begging for better solutions for a while now. People started by asking for better user experiences and more respect for their privacy. The ecosystem we find ourselves in today is the culmination of these missed opportunities (and a whole bunch of laziness across the industry).
No-one should have to choose between privacy on the internet and access to the rich content on the web. We’re better than that.
Todd Garland, CEO, and Founder at BuySellAds