Rene Ritchie on Bad Web Ads

Rene Ritchie:

We also have no ability to screen ad exchange ads ahead of time; we get what they give us. We can and have set policies, for example, to disallow autoplay video or audio ads. But we get them anyway, even from Google. Whether advertisers make mistakes or try to sneak around the restrictions and don’t get caught, we can’t tell. It happens, though, all the time.

When bad ads appear, we report them and ask that they be disabled. Since different people in different geographies see different ads, it can be a challenge to identify them, and it can take a while to get them pulled. It’s a horrible process for everyone involved.

It’s so bad, our tech team has been exploring their own “bad ads” extension that would identify any resource-heavy ads that violate our policies, and provide us with better information so the ad network can more easily find and kill them. And yes, we’re well aware of how insane that sounds.

Open and honest. I deeply appreciate that Rene and iMore (and Mobile Nations as a whole company) are facing this head-on.

To me, it’s a classic example of a slippery slope. They never should have started with these black box ad exchanges in the first place, but now, years down the road, they find themselves dependent on the revenue from them, with no obvious replacement in sight.

This, to me, exemplifies what’s wrong with the online ad industry:

Just as desktop ads pay far less than old-fashioned print ads, mobile ads pay far less than desktop. Because phone displays are smaller than desktop, ads are also far harder to ignore. They’re not off to the side or a small strip on a big screen. They’re in our faces and in our way.

As more and more people move to mobile, revenue goes down, and the typical response is to amp up the ads in an attempt to mitigate the loss. That, of course, just makes them even more annoying.

Because there is less screen space, and because attention is more focused on mobile devices, mobile ads should cost as much or more than desktop ads. Certainly not less. The industry is fucked up. Exclusivity has tremendous value.

Thursday, 9 July 2015