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IAB Initiative to Combat Ad Blocking: L.E.A.N

L.E.A.N. stands for Light, Encrypted, Ad choice supported, Non-invasive ads

     
11:18 am on Oct 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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There's been a great deal of discussion on ad blocking, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau has been monitoring these developments and has realised that ads have gone too far as participants chase every dine, as they put it.
The IAB has come up with a proposal, with an acronym L.E.A.N.
L.E.A.N. stands for Light, Encrypted, Ad choice supported, Non-invasive ads.

Invasiveness is one of the big factors that put me off a site.

We will invite all parties for public comment, and make sure consumer interest groups have the opportunity to provide input.

L.E.A.N. Ads do not replace the current advertising standards many consumers still enjoy and engage with while consuming content on our sites across all IP enabled devices. Rather, these principles will guide an alternative set of standards that provide choice for marketers, content providers, and consumers. IAB Initiative to Combat Ad Blocking: L.E.A.N [iab.com]


Is L.E.A.N too late? Can it push back the tide of distaste for invasive ads?

Previous discussions.
Report: Ad Blocking is Worth $22 Billion in Lost Revenue [webmasterworld.com]
IAB Closely Monitoring The Effects of Ad Blockers [webmasterworld.com]
11:33 am on Oct 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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See also (posted earlier) [webmasterworld.com...]

Much the same report. (engine! Not trying to steal thunder. Just thought it was a good topic! Move mine here, or delete it)
7:44 pm on Oct 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Is L.E.A.N too late? Can it push back the tide of distaste for invasive ads?

It's a start, sometimes nothing is ever too late to start.

Publisher sites infested with invasive [and misleading] ads indicate to me that "pour la seule raison que" is AdSense. As AdBlockers begin to bite, many of those sites will inevitably disappear. No ad revenue, no point in having the site - it only came into being to capitalise upon an opportunity.

What is needed is a three way education programme.

1. Educate the User that many sites rely upon advertising to sustain their very existence.
2. Educate Publishers that maximising advertisements is counter productive - you're killing the Golden Goose. An own goal. AdBlockers aren't your worst enemy, you are your own worst enemy motivated by your greed.
3. Educate advertisers that "in your face" is invasive. Improve your game.

AdBlockers aren't going to go away. Some of the discussion forums I looked at recently had posts dated as far back as 2007. So they're certainly not new. They're just becoming more, and more mainstream and have gained momentum with wide publicity and recommendations.

Finally, ad serving companies also rely upon advertising, they have to play their part by formulating better standards in the interests of all concerned.

Remember AdBockers aren't going to go away, you will not insulate your sites from them, and unless we collectively clean up the game?

Adbloclers will only become more prevalent. Investigating ways and means to defeat them only confirms my worst fears about human nature.

Governments and people always much prefer to treat symptoms, rather than ever addressing the underlying root causes.
10:37 pm on Oct 16, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Adding to IanCP's comments....

2.1 Educate Publishers how to respect their site Visitor`s Privacy before asking to have the user disable plugin in their browser for the user to see the Ads. If Publisher has the most exquisite article on "How To Boil Water" - (engine, I swear I have it bookmarked somewhere:) ) - and I arrive at the site, I don't want to be tracked, fingerprinted.... otherwise No Cigar for the Publisher.
1:08 am on Oct 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Here we Go: "How To Boil Water": [thecontentfarm.tumblr.com...]
5:28 am on Oct 17, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I am pessimistic about this

1. Educate the User that many sites rely upon advertising to sustain their very existence.

Too many people to reach easily, too hard to get the messages across, too many ads are annoying, too many ads are privacy infringing.

2. Educate Publishers that maximising advertisements is counter productive - you're killing the Golden Goose. An own goal. AdBlockers aren't your worst enemy, you are your own worst enemy motivated by your greed.

Will not work. Too many advertisers are only interested in the short term. Also, it is essentially an externality: if I out annoying ads on my site I make more money, even if the industry has a whole loses. I suspect some really big websites, particularly MSM sites would love to see ad reliant sites die as then they can go back to their lucrative subscription model but with lower costs.

3. Educate advertisers that "in your face" is invasive. Improve your game.

Annoying ads are often effective - that is certainly true on TV (it has been properly studied) and probably true for other media.

@blend27 love that site!
5:34 am on Oct 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I like @Ian's suggestions but I share @graeme's pessimism.

Web users have no sense of collective or individual responsibility. They don't care who pays for a site, so long as they can access it. Educate by all means but don't underestimate the capacity of the individual to say either "it's not my problem" or "it's my right not to look at annoying ads".

A lot of publishers just want to make hay while the sun is out. Then they'll move on to something else. Some flood their content with ads because they've got to meet targets and stay above the bottom line. There are ethical publishers, no doubt, but I suspect they are outnumbered by those who are dollar-driven.

The advertising industry is based on capturing attention, whether through visual techniques, humour, loudness or garishness. Asking advertisers to tone it down is like asking a certain hamburger chain to stop putting toys in children's meals so they'll pester their parents.
6:00 am on Oct 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@trebuchet: many times we are on opposite sides of a discussion, but, dear friend, you have nailed it for all opinions on this one. Kudos!
9:48 am on Oct 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Have we been on opposite sides of a discussion? I haven't noticed. :)
I'm not sure we disagree on too much. Perhaps on the future more than the past or present.
Even so, there is much to learn from opinions you don't necessarily like or agree with.
1:28 pm on Oct 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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1. Educate the User that many sites rely upon advertising to sustain their very existence.

I sometimes visit a music site that runs regular appeals for funding. Regular participants will proudly boast on the forum that they have blocked the ads on the site without understanding that is why the owner has to keep appealing for donations,.
1:57 pm on Oct 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Yeah. And I bet they don't donate either.
7:16 pm on Oct 18, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Regular participants will proudly boast on the forum that they have blocked the ads on the site without understanding that is why the owner has to keep appealing for donations

And nobody politely responds to them with the truth of the matter?

Or are they just densely thick? I donate modestly to Wikipedia, a site many people have varying opinions about - for me it is a valuable resource, especially in refreshing my memory on dates and other facts.

No donations, no Wikipedia.
6:01 am on Oct 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Interesting you should bring up Wikipedia. Someone I met recently referred to it as 'proof' that donations are a viable form of monetisation. It was quickly pointed out to him that Wikipedia is (a) non-profit, and (b) relies on thousands of unpaid contributors. If we all had that then monetisation would be a breeze.

FWIW, I donate once a year. Not because I use Wikipedia (I try to avoid it) but I do often use content from Wikimedia Commons.
6:14 am on Oct 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Since Wikipedia's editors have consistently plagerised my articles over the years, why not just send the money directly to me. I'll stay afloat to write more content and at some point a lazy Wiki editor will likely come along and scrape it.
7:16 am on Oct 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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This might sound harsh but if it is an original content you can at least ask the editor of the article to provide you with a link. I believe all Wikipedia links are nofollow, but if there is a chance for a dofollow link, even better. I for one would welcome the chance for Wikipedia to use the content I create, I`d chase them to the ends of hell for backlinks.
7:17 am on Oct 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm in the same boat, keyplyr. I've found a lot of stuff that I've written, or paid someone to write, knocked off and posted on Wikipedia. It's one reason why I avoid their 'encyclopedia' as much as I can.
8:04 am on Oct 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Same goes for your content as well @trebuchet. Contrary to popular belief, actually having a backlink from Wikipedia is good for rankings for one and you can write an article how your content is used by Wikipedia. I see a crap-top of opportunities here and I am shocked that you are mumbling instead of rolling your sleeves and starting to reap the easy rewards.
8:27 am on Oct 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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actually having a backlink from Wikipedia is good for rankings
Not if the links are "nofollow."

I do have a few back-links from the bottom of Wikipedia pages as sources or related links or something. While I appreciate the moderate traffic they give, still that is not the point. Maybe I'm being a bit prudish, but IMO a copyright is a copyright. I write articles for my publications and on occasion write for others. But this is my choice. For someone to assume my property is "fair use" or whatever their rationalization, is unethical and illegal. The DMCA may be difficult to enforce, but never-the-less it does exist.

Having said that, Wikipedia has eventually always taken down my content after receiving my C&D. Sometimes it took a couple weeks and once I had to become an editor myself to take it off. Also, this type of infringement has not happened since 2011 so maybe they're more ethical now. Sorry, it's a sore spot with me. Every time I read anything good about Wikipedia, I have a knee-jerk reaction.
8:55 am on Oct 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Same goes for your content as well @trebuchet

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind Wikipedia editors using portions of my content, so long as they link back to the original page. As you say, it's good advertising and promotes the site as an authority. I was more referring to the stuff that is plagiarised or crudely reworded, then posted into Wikipedia articles without citation. I've identified three instances of this, two of them by searching complex phrases. All they had to do add a citation and an external link.

My understanding is that links on Wikipedia are nofollow so their value is limited to incidental traffic rather than SEO/rankings. But I'm happy to take what comes.
11:47 am on Oct 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Not if the links are "nofollow."

I doesn't have to be "follow" to be of value. Just having a link shows value, and that a user might click on taking them quickly and easily to the site has got to be of value. Not only that, but it might be good branding, which has longer term brand-building potential. Brand not necessarily being a large corporate.

Back to the original point, perhaps the IAB has finally woken up to the fact that over-intrusive ads are only going to make things worse for those in the ad industry. I was juts on a few sites today and the ads were awful, in your face, and annoying. I ignored them, closed them, or scrolled past them real quick. I might have actually looked at relevant ads on the page, instead of ignoring them. These were on a major publisher's site. No surprise to me that someone might want to put an ad blocker on when reading that site!
12:24 pm on Oct 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@ engine - I didn't say the links didn't have value, of course there is some value to any incoming link. You are taking my statement out of context and applying it to something different. I hate it when that happens :)

Read my post again. I was commenting on Nutterum's statement that those Wikipedia back-links were "good for rankings." Assuming he was referring to SERP ranking (and that's the obvious assumption) since the links are nofollow they are not counted. So no, they actually are not good for ranking.
6:07 pm on Oct 19, 2015 (gmt 0)

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@keyplyr fair enough.
7:55 am on Oct 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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After reading the last few posts, I just want to add this: just because a link is 'nofollow' doesn't mean that it doesn't pass authority. Google has admitted this themselves. Think of 'nofollow' as a way of not diluting your own 'link juice'. If the site you are linking to still has enough high authority links, it still will will receive 'link juice' from your link (but it won't hurt you...think of a big web of trust). Long story of course, and I will tell you that you can't exploit this (Google has another ranking factor that stops you from exploiting this)...something to keep in mind though. Also, If you have 'nofollow' links to every god given place on the web and they all suck, you can still penalize yourself. Don't do that.
1:16 pm on Oct 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Think of 'nofollow' as a way of not diluting your own 'link juice'. If the site you are linking to still has enough high authority links, it still will will receive 'link juice' from your link (but it won't hurt you...
That sounds like it might be better called something like a"Citation Credit"

May sound like a small difference, and may have a different impact (+/- that of link juice) but might help clarify the issue a bit, but the maybe not.
7:23 pm on Oct 20, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm not going to second guess the subtle nuances of the Google algo, and I don't believe anyone else can either.
2:30 am on Oct 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I'm not going to second guess the subtle nuances of the Google algo

My friend I think you are being most generous, and courteous in terminology - I perhaps could have expressed your sentiments somewhat differently. Starkly different.
1:22 pm on Oct 21, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Me thinks this topic has taken a left turn.
8:08 am on Oct 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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anyone can block ANYTHING with their hosts file..and with all the ad blockers and browser options to block elements....etc.

There is any easy answer to all of this. A happy medium for everyone - HTML ads. That's all I use and all i ever will. Banners downloaded to OUR server so OUR domain serves them. No third party java etc., that anyone can easily block.

While the rest of the web is losing their $ traffic we are gladly taking that lost $ traffic from their stupid java ads blocked.

sorry guys out there i have all your ads blocked. I use no script just to build the database of all third party site scripts out in the wild and add them right to hosts file, blocked at source.

our site ads show 99.9% of time to all users globally.

and IMO all this CPM and PPC is absolute nonsense. I would never go back to that only straight up affiliates paid commissions on conversions. anything else waste of time and you getting jipped in long run - and they know this.
9:57 pm on Oct 26, 2015 (gmt 0)

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I would never go back to that only straight up affiliates paid commissions on conversions

Errr, that's not new - I've been doing it with Amazon since 1998 plus a few others as well.
12:29 pm on Oct 28, 2015 (gmt 0)

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Never done affiliate websites for myself. They simply don't pay themselves enough to matter. Not in 2015 anyways...maybe if I was more prolific in my teens back at dawn of the Internet I would have made pretty penny out of them, but now I can get paid more by the hour, than waste the same hour caretaking an affiliate website.
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