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Swedish publishers plan summer ‘Block Party’ to thwart ad blockers

Blocking the blockers. Insert obvious pun here

Swedish publishers will mount an aggressive counter-offensive against ad blocking software later this year. “80 to 90 per cent” of publishers will simultaneously block the ad blockers for the month of August.

It’s the first nationwide action of its kind.

“Yes, we know this could be naïve, and we know this will be complicated,” Daniel Weilar of Nyheter24, an entertainment and news site. But Weilar thinks its preferable to the “protection racket” model of paying off the ad block software companies, he told Digiday.

The collective action has been brewing for a year.

Participating publishers will take one of three countermeasures on detecting an adblock plugin: ask for the blocker to be disabled, ask for the user to pay, or in the case of video content, downgrade the quality of the video stream.

Eyeo, the German company which commercialises the Adblock software, will whitelist publishers who agree to pay a fee and conform to its idea of an “acceptable” advertisement. Culture Minister John Whittingdale compared the whitelisting practice to “a modern day protection racket” in a recent speech.

The number of Britons who use ad blocking software has risen from 15 per cent last July to 22 per cent. ®


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