Disrupting the Disrupters
Mercy for the User
Beginning this week, several leading online newssites, mainly from traditional publishing houses, started an onsite campaign against browser plugins like ad blocker and such.
In a kind of personal message they adress readers/viewers begging them to shut down their blockers. Key message: help us to be funded by advertising, help us to deliver news.
It was interesting to see that the audience had two opposite reactions- those who were in a way touched by the message (“if you ask that kind, voilá”) and those who have been very angry. Although I get the publishers’ point and even although I work in communications and advertising I think all in all it was a very bad move for them.
Some of my crowd really shut down their ad blocker. For about one hour maximum. Most of them couldn’t stand the bad, blinking, sounding banners. Although a lot of them have been open for the publishers’ arguments - the way these sites use advertising was way to disturbing and ugly.
So the best side effect of the campaign here in Germany is maybe the evolving discussion about good and bad advertising online. And that a lot of online professionals looked at what online advertisers maybe (hopefully not but I fear they do) call state-of-the-art online adverts. And have been shocked. Most of us haven’t seen this crap for years thanks to ad blockers or (as I do it) flash blockers.
What needs to start now is exactly this discussion: What kind of advertising will be acceptable now and in future. A lot of onliners know and are ok with the the fact that online journalism or even just online publishing needs some funding like adverting. At least in theory we all know that- as the most obvious alternative would be indeed pay walls.
But as long as the publishers are just putting old world ideas and disruptive advert models into this much more volatile media space, as long as they use adverts that move or sound without me clicking to exactly do that;- as long as they just cry for mercy without hearing the readers/viewers´cry for quietness and beauty, they will not win.
It’s a great time for creative and forward thinking advertising people. And the discussion about future of online adverting just begun.