Is Google's no ad experiment cannibalising the ad industry?

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 28 November 2014

The advertising industry is giving mixed reviews to Google's “contributor” service, but all agree it's a “move that the advertising industry will be watching”.

The experiment, which is rolling out in the US in invitation-only beta, means that for a monthly subscription fee between US$1 and US$3, no ads will be served on participating sites, with users seeing a thank you message and a pixel pattern instead.

UM CEO Mat Baxter said the move is certainly something the industry will be eyeing closely.

“It sends mixed messages out there, because here is Google, which is an ad-centric business, offering to block out advertising,” Baxter told AdNews.

“The technology has been around for ages, but for an advertiser to actively participate in cannibalising the advertising industry is just strange. It would be better if Google focused on making the advertising better and working with the industry rather than blocking ads out.”

However, Adstream MD Peter Miller said the service will either not take off and Google will scrap it, or it will and the industry will adapt.

“If it does create revenue for Google and there is no backlash, they'll stick with it and advertisers will need to find a new way to spend money,” Miller said.

“You lose one option, you flick another way. There are different and very powerful media alternatives. It's probably good news for main media: television, newspaper and magazines.”

MEC head of digital Guillaume Goudal said that the experiment could have a few positive outcomes for the advertising industry, such as allowing users to better understand the value of advertising.

He used an example of rail tickets in Paris being offset by outdoor advertising. Goudal said if there is a parallel social role that advertising plays, it could be made more evident through Google Contributor.

Goudal also said it is possible the experiment would allow the industry to gauge to what extent users dislike online ads, by seeing how many users decide to pay to hide them.

“Right now, it is unlikely to change the media industry as we know it overnight,” Goudal said.

“However, if this experiment can get us to better understand users and improve their overall online experience, it can only be a positive thing for advertising and for the industry.”

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day. Need a job? Visit adnewsjobs.com.au.

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at adnews@yaffa.com.au

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day. Need a job? Visit adnewsjobs.com.au.

comments powered by Disqus