Backbytes: Google's Ad nonSense?

By Backbytes
15 Jul 2014 View Comments
Old style advertising

The technology industry has often tended towards near-monopoly - IBM, Microsoft, Oracle in databases - even on the open internet where Google dominates both search and advertising.

But, just at the moment all the money that it is making has turned it megalomaniacally insane, is Google's dominance already drawing to a close?

Further reading

Regardless of the extreme cleverness of self-driving cars, Google Glass, and myriad other projects, the bottom line is that AdSense, one of the company's key cash machines since its inception in 2003, is struggling.

After peaking in the last quarter of 2012, AdSense revenues fell throughout 2013, rising only in the final, Christmas quarter, before dipping again in 2014.

Google itself admits that fewer and fewer people are clicking on online ads, which it claims is merely the result of "advertising policy changes" - a campaign to clean its network of spammers, fraudsters other internet ne'er-do-wells.

Or can it be attributed to the rise in mobile and, in particular, the ad blockers that have become more popular as online advertising has become more irritating? PageFair, a company that offers an app enabling organisations to measure how many visitors are using AdBlock, Ghostery or whatever to avoid online advertising and the tracking that goes with it, believes it is.

It claims that one-quarter of desktop users are now using browser plug-ins to block ads, with their use growing at a rate of 65 per cent every year. According to Google's own search stats, interest in web blocking boomed in 2012 and 2013 - thanks in part to the ease with which such apps or extensions can be installed within Google's own expensively promoted Chrome browser.

"Google's AdSense network experienced massive growth during a period [2007-2012] when users were being assaulted by abusive and deceptive advertising. The ad industry's chickens appear to be coming home to roost, with average web users now learning how to opt out of advertising altogether," claims PageFair's David Barton in a blog post.


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