Ad blocking is really part of Apple's war with Google - and publishers are collateral damage
But what's really driving this sudden upsurge?
Nilay Patel at The Verge makes a compelling argument that it's really part of the ongoing war between Apple and Google.
Google makes nearly all of its money from advertising on the web. So Google has a compelling interest in having lots of interesting new content published from all sorts of sources because you need a way to find all that content, so you use Google's search engine, which also delivers the most effective and lucrative form of advertising devised yet.
Meanwhile, most publishers also use Google's DART platform for serving ads - which it acquired as part of its $3.1 billion acquisition of Doubleclick in 2007 - and many serve other Google-sold ads directly using Google's AdWords.
Apple doesn't make any money off web advertising. Apple simply wants you to buy its iPhones and iPads. If you want to block ads to shave some time off how fast pages load, that's no skin off Apple's nose.
Plus: Apple could get a new revenue stream as publishers add their publications to the Apple News app, where Apple sells unblockable ads and splits the revenue.
The fact that blocking web ads hurts Google is a nice bonus, given that the two companies hate each other and are locked in brutal competition in a lot of markets.
Then there's Facebook, which also makes money from advertising but doesn't particularly care about the open web because everybody spends so much time in the Facebook app, where it can sell ads using its own platforms. Facebook is more or less allied with Apple in this fight.
What does it all mean? Patel sums it up:
And the collateral damage of that war - of Apple going after Google's revenue platform - is going to include the web, and in particular any small publisher on the web that can't invest in proprietary platform distribution, native advertising, and the type of media wining-and-dining it takes to secure favorable distribution deals on proprietary platforms. It is going to be a bloodbath of independent media.
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