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IAB Lays Out Plans on L.E.A.N. Scoring to Stem the Tide of Ad Blocking

     
11:47 am on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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A hot topic for many sectors of the Internet is ad blocking, and the IAB is taking a lead with its L.E.A.N. scoring initiative to challenge the rise of ad blockers.

Read more about L.E.A.N.initiative from IAB [webmasterworld.com]

What is L.E.A.N. Light, Encrypted, AdChoice supported, and Non-invasive ads

Ad invasiveness has been seen as a reason for user dissatisfaction as publishers push more and greater invasive ads to users.

The IAB has created a roadmap to the L.E.A.N. scoring to help develop algorithms for a scorecard system of the user experience.

“LEAN scoring will guide the digital media industry towards building better user experiences,” said Alanna Gombert, Deputy General Manager, IAB Tech Lab, and Vice President, Technology and Ad Operations, IAB. “There is no question that people want to have unfettered access to the high-quality news, information, and entertainment they have long enjoyed for free on the open web. With the scorecard serving as a new industry standard, consumer-friendly interactive advertising will take hold, allowing the ecosystem to thrive.” IAB Lays Out Plans on L.E.A.N. Scoring to Stem the Tide of Ad Blocking [businesswire.com]


According to the IAB, it plans the following roadmap.

Q2

  • Formalizing the process of onboarding data and criteria
  • Starting the public discussion about initial guidance
  • Completing initial user experience testing

    Q3

  • Onboarding data and criteria from publishers, marketers, and agencies
  • Iterative publishing of LEAN scoring criteria
  • Next phase of user experience testing

    Q4

  • Create LEAN scoring algorithms
  • Publish initial findings and recommendations for rolling out LEAN scorecard
  • Present 2017 LEAN scoring roadmap


  • Q4 is a long way off, and the ad blocking sector is moving faster having won the initiative, so the IAB is playing catch-up.

    Previous discussions on the topic...

    Report: Ad Blocking is Worth $22 Billion in Lost Revenue [webmasterworld.com]

    IAB Closely Monitoring The Effects of Ad Blockers [webmasterworld.com]

    IAB Initiative to Combat Ad Blocking: L.E.A.N [webmasterworld.com]
    12:35 pm on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    There are still privacy issues with ads, although I suspect this will satisfy most ad blocker users, if it is not too late. They should have done this before ad blockers took off - and it was clearly coming.
    6:40 pm on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    We - as webmasters - need to start putting boundaries around what the ad pirates can do, including legal boundaries.

    Because the web is ours, not Google's. And not some alphabet agency's.

    Where is our Webmaster Advertising Bureau Blocking Legal Initiative (WABBLI - someone come up with clever acronym)?

    Can we crowdfund something like this?

    Edit: starting to come up with better acronyms.
    PAP - Predatory Advertising Practices. Pap Blocker.
    PAD, or PAN - Predatory Ad Network
    7:00 pm on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    Doubtful; there's no consensus even in this forum let alone across the entire internet. But good luck if you want to make the effort.
    7:37 pm on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    Things will change when both customers and partners revolt (and they are).

    Users are blocking and one time partners are leaving in droves (or been forced out).

    In the mean time the web will go on and (history proves this) something else will fill that vacant place. And it will work for 10, perhaps 15 years and go the same way.

    In all cases the get rich quick crowd recognizes that means get rich NOW and don't worry about tomorrow.

    L.E.A.N. is too little too late.
    8:48 pm on May 5, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    Total waste of time as those ads were never going to sell to that audience in the first place as they NEVER sell to me and I don't physically block them, just mentally, I skip over them all.

    Therefore, any time an advertisers ads run on my screen he's being robbed by the ad network so I'm assuming this is all for the ad networks to make more money as it's certainly not in the best interest of the advertiser.

    The way to properly reach people like me is SEARCH marketing and delivering the content I want based on INTENT of my searches.

    Shoving banners and other ads in my face will do nothing but waste my time and their money, which is true for a great many people.

    At a minimum, I wouldn't protest the ads if it was at least things I had any interest in whatsoever, and not like the crap on YouTube or other video sites that keep shoving the same video ads I can't skip in my face over and over. All they've done is made sure I'll NEVER buy from that company as it worked in reverse. Sure I've got their brand awareness, and I hate them, so it was money well spent. Good job chaps!

    Anyway, it's easy to block ad blockers, I've done it before.

    Lot's of fuss for no pay off except the poor advertisers being ripped off in the ad networks that took money from their pocket and dumped it into mine for people that had no interest in ads whatsoever.

    That's all we're talking about it how to milk more money from the cash cow which will just do nothing but cause advertisers to drop out when the ROI goes to hell with all the people seeing ads that will never buy anything, and could backfire with advertisers pulling out of those ad networks.

    Hope they've thought it through because it sounds like they're trying to fix something that isn't broken and about to screw it up for everyone.

    Typical.
    8:15 am on May 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    Yes, we see the horse disappearing over the horizon. We have a plan of action. That begins with us closing the stable door. So we're going to do that and we'll get back to you. In the meantime, keep your eyes on that horse, well, that cloud of dust. Back soon.
    8:16 pm on May 6, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    The way to properly reach people like me is SEARCH marketing and delivering the content I want based on INTENT of my searches.

    The ads should create your intent,
    about which you do not know yet.

    The ads are not obligatorily
    required to sell at once.
    4:38 pm on May 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    The ads should create your intent,
    about which you do not know yet.

    How True!, Unfortunately most of the Ads are a sad reminder of that dude on the corner 42nd and 5th, you know the one that tries to push a 'sleazy flyer' into your hands or a "Tam param param pam pam" sound coming out of the TV every few minutes.

    It does not matter if your advertising agency thinks that you have best bacon in town, I have my spouse and 3 of my offsprings walking 10 feet behind me.
    It does not matter if the wildlife could party in a pool, I don't drive anymore and never will.

    What matters is It is just not on topic, just not on topic for the most part and I don't want to see, waste my time hearing about it or even worst: smell the odor of dude with a 'sleazy flyer'. I don't want any of that, for free or at a discount.

    So I, and many! many! many! others, have chosen to block Ads, first it was mentally, now we have several other blocking technologies at our disposal.

    Privacy, Tracking, Annoying Ads = ME and many others BLOCKING THE ADS, TRACKING and Beacons. The rest just do not know about it yet, but they will.

    I promise.

    It has been too long of that.
    9:49 pm on May 7, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    The way to properly reach people like me is SEARCH marketing and delivering the content I want based on INTENT of my searches.

    That's too narrow a view of the how people use the Internet. Search is only a small part of what people do online, and in any case, only a small percentage of searches result in ad clicks.

    IMHO, a lot of "ad annoyance" is caused by:

    1) Too many ads;

    2) Intrusive ads (interstitials, for example);

    3) Ads that are tacky or deceptive;

    4) Ads disguised as content.

    I'd also point out that most people don't care if ads are "on topic," because those people have spent their adult lives looking at ads that aren't on topic. Beer may not be "on topic" for football, but who (other than a teetotaler) is offended by ads for beer at a football game? Cars may not be "on topic" in a news story about the Democratic or Republican primaries, but how many people really mind if there's an ad for Ford or BMW next to a discussion of Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump in the New York Times or on Politico? Caribbean cruises aren't "on topic" for today's weather in Winnipeg, but how many readers of a Winnipeg newspaper or news site get their drawers in a twist if there's an ad for Royal Caribbean or Holland America Line next to tomorrow's local weather forecast? In each case, the ad is intended to build awareness among a targeted audience.

    Contextual advertising (what's sometimes called "endemic advertising" in the print world) has its place, but it's only one type of advertising.
    3:06 am on May 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    One reason I quit buying comic books back in the 1980s was too many ads, even at 15-25 cents a copy. From a high of 64 pages with no ads (1940-50s) to a low of 36 pages with 8 pages of ads I wasn't getting the same content/value as before. The web has, over the last 10 years, taken on much the same attributes for "publishers", There's more ads than content. :)
    2:59 pm on May 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    Tangor, there is one obvious difference: You were paying for the comic books. If a 64-page comic book that cost a quarter had eight pages of ads, you were paying several cents for the ads. That isn't the case with most Web sites, since the majority of Web sites don't have paywalls.

    The Web is more like American broadcast television or radio, where advertisers are picking up the audience's tab for viewing or listening.

    Note: I agree that too many Web publishers go overboard on advertising, although it must be said that, at least in the U.S., printed newspapers and magazines (most of which readers pay for) devote a lot of space to ads. In fact, most newspapers let the advertising department set the size of the "news hole," or the number of pages devoted to editorial content. What they don't do is use interstitial ads. (I have yet to see a newspaper or magazine that makes you peel an ad off a page before you can read the editorial content underneath.)
    3:26 pm on May 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    The whole notion that people are too stupid to use their back button is asinine. We can't decide which websites suck on our own? Hate ads? Don't go there again. Oh, let's install and ad blocker so we can visit the sites we hate (all the ads) and we can condone what they do by giving them big visitor numbers. People speak like all the cesspool websites are mandatory to visit and that the back button is too complicated a solution. Google has TONS of algos yet they can't dump the ad laden sites that we all apparently hate to a lower search result? We get to these sites some way and based on market share it's Google. We can figure out the junk ad laden sites but they don't have an algo that can at least remedy the situation partially? Ah, the big sites are the ones with the most ads and those big sites have the biggest voice and the most to lose. I get it.
    3:32 pm on May 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    The Web is more like American broadcast television or radio, where advertisers are picking up the audience's tab for viewing or listening.


    Nothing like broadcast tv. Not at all. Advertisers are NOT picking up the audience's tab for viewing. In Radio and TV the advertiser is PAYING to BE heard/viewed on a show that is free to hear/watch with no extra charge to the listener/viewer.

    The WEB on the other hand, costs for every second the "viewer" is on. The content is offered free .... but then there's the advertiser (third party) INSERTING (can't do that in a newspaper or comic book) more "pages" as you read/view. Those ad inserts are PAID FOR by the viewer, not the advertiser or the publisher. That content, therefore, is no longer "free" as advertised. Any wonder that users, who know that Bandwidth has a cost 100% of the time are likely (and are) to revolt? That part (bandwidth) does NOT change (can't!). In many cases it is sold with monthly CAPS on usage and penalties for going over that!

    If 20-50% of any site's "content" is advertising bandwidth (easy to do with image ads) that site is LESS VALUE to the user who might view that overhead for "your" profit as either gouging or theft of their monthly fees to ISPs. Just because publishers don't usually pay to get ads on their site does not mean that someone is not paying for them ... and it is the end user who is doing that.

    This should have been sorted out years ago before the bandwidth nick hit 10%, but it wasn't. Thus ad blockers began about 10 years back and in RECENT years have taken off for this very reason.

    If anyone wants to use the "broadcast tv" analogy in the future they best figure out a way that those ads are paid UPFRONT by the ADVERTISER to a pool that then covers the cost of transmission of same to the ISP (the inbetween) and the end user.

    Like that will ever happen!

    L.E.A.N. is too little too late (already said that above) but I will add that it does not address the innate inequities of the present form of advertising on the web. At best it is only a band aid.
    4:23 pm on May 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    Nothing like broadcast tv. Not at all. Advertisers are NOT picking up the audience's tab for viewing. In Radio and TV the advertiser is PAYING to BE heard/viewed on a show that is free to hear/watch with no extra charge to the listener/viewer.

    That's semantic gymnastics, tangor. Public broadcasters and community channels aside, free-to-air television is monetised and funded by advertising. Without ads there would be no "free" shows. The same applies for a lot of websites. Without ads there would be no "free" content. And the argument that bandwidth has inherent value is just as flawed. Bandwidth is worthless without content for it to carry.

    L.E.A.N. is too little too late (already said that above) but I will add that it does not address the innate inequities of the present form of advertising on the web. At best it is only a band aid.

    I'm afraid to say that I tend to agree.
    4:55 pm on May 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    Public broadcasters and community channels aside, free-to-air television is monetised and funded by advertising.


    Who do the advertisers PAY on Radio and TV? Is it the end user? NO. They pay producers of shows for their products to appear on those shows and/or finance the creation of those shows, or they pay broadcast stations for their ads to appear on those stations in TIME SLOTS allocated throughout the broadcast day. The end user is not involved in any of those transactions, thus the content is "free" to the end user, other than the cost of the receiving set, electricity, or any tax or levy on same equipment by a regulatory body. Let's not get involved in royalties and residuals paid out by broadcasters to the creators (in web terms that would be the "publishers") as that has never been a part of the web.

    On the web advertisers pay an ad servicing company. Publishers provide "wall space" for ads in return for fees. The end user pays the bandwidth to receive those ads. Content can't be found by the user without another third party (a search engine). When the search engine and the ad servicing are in close holding the advertiser, the publisher and the user are disadvantaged (but that's another topic).

    Bandwidth is worthless without content for it to carry.

    Content is worthless without bandwidth. Quid pro quo.

    One thing I do know is that publishers do not pay the user's monthly bill, nor do the advertisers or the search engines. Bandwidth has a cost. Publishers might think they are due revenue via advertising, but that "agreement" has never been made with the user who is attracted to the web for the content which is offered FREE.

    None of this might have become problematic if not for greed, abuse, invasion of privacy, tracking, etc. But all of those have occurred and in response the users are taking notice, and in some cases, taking action.

    L.E.A.N. is a belated and desperate attempt to keep the cash flow going under the present form ... and it will fail (a personal prediction, not a fact!) as it does not address the underlying inequities in the current system for ALL parties concerned.
    5:58 pm on May 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    We're going over old ground. I'll just repeat a point I've often made. The vast majority of users don't think of the web in either these terms of exchange or technical issues. They respond to simpler factors. They may think the content is "free" or included in their bandwidth cost but it's not. They install adblockers because someone recommends it. They like adblockers because they make the web faster and cleaner. If content starts to evaporate or throw up paywalls, they may like adblockers a lot less.

    This LEAN scoring won't work for the same reason that press self-regulation doesn't work: it won't be binding and it won't take but five minutes for some suit to push the envelope.
    6:24 pm on May 8, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    I'll drop it in this thread ... but don't sell the users short. They are cutting the cable in droves (tv once advertised as ad free, but isn't, though there are other ills in that bundled concept) and it won't take them long to discover the net is screwing them over as well. Best make plans for that coming day. Opera has already moved to in browser ad blocking. Others will soon follow suit. A few providers are also rattling sabers over the cost of ads and customer complaints because their monthly caps are being ruined and they don't know why.

    Not the voice of doom, just commonsense.

    They may think the content is "free" or included in their bandwidth cost but it's not.

    Unless you require subscription or other method (personal data for example) your site is free.
    12:33 am on May 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    They are cutting the cable in droves (tv once advertised as ad free, but isn't, though there are other ills in that bundled concept)

    Yep, there is an App for that: KODI.
    4:52 am on May 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    Unless you require subscription or other method (personal data for example) your site is free.

    It may look that way to Joe Blow. But the content belongs to me and I offer it under the terms that I deem appropriate.

    Yep, there is an App for that: KODI.

    Unless you're only using Kodi to watch free streams or as a Netflix/Hulu client, there is another name for that: piracy.
    5:56 am on May 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    It may look that way to Joe Blow. But the content belongs to me and I offer it under the terms that I deem appropriate.

    And therein is the difficulty. Joe Blow does not know your intent unless it is clearly stated and no content is offered until terms have been met..
    8:38 am on May 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    Unless you're only using Kodi to watch free streams or as a Netflix/Hulu client, there is another name for that: piracy.

    And what do we call the snippets of my content, my hi-res images, my research/time/investment with Ads all over it then, in "Search Engines"?

    BTW, Many KODI users already DO foot the bill for content to Cable Companies(who buy content from the producers of it), they just choose to spend time wisely(cutting out up to 20 minutes of commercials out of 1 hour episodes).

    We keep going in circles, there is no cure for it. As many said, it is too late...

    blend27 out.
    9:28 am on May 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    And what do we call the snippets of my content, my hi-res images, my research/time/investment with Ads all over it then, in "Search Engines"?

    Different issue I'm afraid. The idiom about "two wrongs" applies.

    BTW, Many KODI users already DO foot the bill for content to Cable Companies

    I have no doubt that some do this. But we all know what Kodi is predominately used for and it's not bypassing ads.
    1:59 pm on May 9, 2016 (gmt 0)

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    This LEAN scoring won't work for the same reason that press self-regulation doesn't work: it won't be binding and it won't take but five minutes for some suit to push the envelope.

    It may not be binding, but if any of the leading ad-blocker companies take LEAN scores into consideration when deciding which ads to block, it will serve a useful purpose.
     

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