NMA 'concerned' over Chrome ad-blocker plans

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America's News Media Alliance has expressed its concern over Google's plans for an ad blocker in its Chrome browser.

Chief executive David Chavern says Google appears to be taking unilateral action to implement the standards of the Coalition for Better Ads - launched last September - with a Chrome feature which would block all advertising to websites that do not comply with these standards.

"Because Chrome has 60 per cent market share in the web browser market, Google, in effect, would be regulating the distribution of internet advertising and gaining even more control over how publishers monetise their content," he says.

"A key question is whether the feature within Chrome would block all ads on a website or filter ads that do not meet the standards established by the Coalition.

"As Google moves forward, we encourage it to also consider the impact of this approach on small publishers, non-profit organisations and even individuals that rely upon smaller advertising networks to support their digital ventures."

He says 77 per cent of consumers with ad blockers installed are willing to view ads around high-quality content, "but we recognise that everyone in the digital ecosystem needs to do better".

Chavern says Google has helped coordinate the extensive and real-time consumer research that led the Coalition to release standards identifying "less desirable" ad units. "Since the release of these standards, the Coalition has embarked on a 'one for all, all for one' campaign to voluntarily implement these standards with equal responsibility across the digital ecosystem.

"As publishers of high-quality, original journalism that are largely dependent upon advertising revenue, the Alliance is deeply committed to improving the user experience with digital advertising."

He points to the $5 billion a year the newspaper industry spends on high-quality journalism, which is distributed online free or at highly subsidised rates "in no small part due to revenue from online ads".

"Google greatly benefits from our investments in this high-quality journalism," he says. "We look forward to working with Google to make sure that their plans do not have unintended consequences."

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