Tensions are running high within the digital media industry as Google plans on making changes to its Chrome browser that will leave out certain types on ads from the browser. Starting next year, Google will unveil a new Chrome browser that will automatically block certain ads including video ads that play automatically with sound. Google says it’s decision has been spurred on by a study carried out by cross-industry group called the Coalition for Better Ads, whose study identified the 12 most common ads that viewers find the most annoying. The coalition then recommended that these ads be done away with both by the publishers and ad tech companies.
A few conspiracy theories have risen from this with one ad executive claiming that Google is leading the coalition, funding it, and driving its agenda. In other words Google has solely decided which ads to target and then acted on that unilaterally and is sing the coalition as a cover.
“It’s a little Draconian, and there are too many combatants to talk to everybody,” said Jim Spanfeller, an industry veteran who once ran Forbes.com and founded the publication The Daily Meal, referring to the coalition’s goals and challenges.
Publishers, added Spanfeller, are “anxious and worried. They feel that this is being done to them, not by them. And the IAB [the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the leading digital-ad trade group] is a major player here, but they are fundamentally controlled by Google and Facebook. They pay the lion’s share of the dues. So it’s a fair criticism.”
“There is a lack of knowledge right now and a lack of information from Google,” said Gefen Lamdan, senior vice president at Celtra, which helps advertisers manage which ads run where on the web. “It’s uncomfortable.”
According to Lamdan, some of Google’s recent decisions surrounding Chrome “came as a surprise to the IAB. Even IAB members did not know. So we are getting a lot of questions from all around.”