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Is Nothing As It Seems In This Industry?

It’s hard to give someone the benefit of the doubt when you’ve been burned by them in the past, but that’s what publishers are grappling with today, a full 24-hours after Adblock Plus announced that it will be launching its very own ad exchange. There’s a lot still left unanswered about the project, and some of the parties “involved” seem to be hitting the brakes pretty hard — including those who were originally listed as partners for the project.

Trust, especially in this business, is a fickle but important thing that we need to be cognizant of as we go about our daily activities. For publishers who pay bills with advertising dollars, trust in advertising technology companies is waning. It’s a harsh reality, but it’s reality nonetheless.

The ad industry is in the process of picking itself up off the mat and redefining what the future looks like for everyone in the ad ecosystem. That means plenty of ideas will come and go before we’re back on our feet. The philosophy behind Adblock Plus’ Acceptable Ads is something most in the industry agree with at a fundamental level. Online advertisements need to be better. Ads need to be delivered to publishers (and their audiences) in a way that’s on par with user expectations in 2016. There’s no denying the fact that slimmer, streamlined advertisements that are bereft of data collection technologies are the future of digital advertising. It’s an idea that will stick. It’ll go the distance.

The disappointing thing about yesterday’s news is that this Adblock Plus ad exchange debate muddies an important conversation that’s happening today, and it detracts from the progress that’s being made on a daily basis by responsible ad tech companies. Trust in an initiative that aims to clean up unethical advertising practices online is waning now, as media companies find themselves, once again, questioning the motives behind yet another questionable move by Adblock Plus.

Not all ad tech companies are created equal, but there are plenty out there that refuse to collect private user data. There are a handful of ad tech companies that refuse to partake in the the transmission of data between third-parties. The voices of those who are willing to challenge an industry and push it forward need to be heard. Sadly, however, one of the most prevalent voices in this debate got a little bit quieter today, as everyone struggles to determine whether or not Adblock Plus really wants to change the way advertisements behave online, or if they’re just looking to set themselves up as a platform, complete with a walled-garden audience and advertising revenue streams.

Todd Garland, CEO, and Founder at BuySellAds

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