June 2, 2017 Last Updated 1:32 pm

News Media Alliance concerned that Google is ‘taking unilateral action’ in effort to promote good advertising experience

The US newspaper association worries that Google’s dominate browser might end up ‘regulating the distribution of Internet advertising and gaining even more control over how publishers monetize their content’

The News Media Alliance today, likely reacting to Google’s introduction last night of its new Ad Experience Report, has expressed concern that Google may be “taking unilateral action” to implement new ad standards advocated by the Coalition for Better Ads.

“While we appreciate the energy and resources that Google has brought, as a partner of the Coalition for Better Ads (launched last September), to the effort to improve the customer experience around digital advertising, we are very concerned to learn that Google appears to be taking unilateral action to implement the Coalition’s standards by adding an ad blocking feature within Chrome that would block all advertising to websites that do not comply with these new standards,” said David Chavern, President and CEO at NMA. “Because Chrome has 60 percent 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 monetize their content.”

The comment comes as Google prepares to launch a new version of its Chrome browser with a built-in ad blocker. The ad blocker would block as that don’t comply with Better Ads Standards, such as pop-ups. To assist publishers in preparing for the new browser, Google launched its Ad Experience Report page where publishers can see if their websites violate the standards (TNM’s status is “not reviewed” though one assumes it would pass Google’s test).

Google has also launched a best practices guide through its DoubleClick service.

“We believe these changes will ensure all content creators, big and small, can continue to have a sustainable way to fund their work with online advertising<‘ said Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior VP, Ads & Commerce at Google.

Chavern of the NMA concedes that some online advertising can be obnoxious.

“Digital advertising is a relatively new technology and, unfortunately, some ad formats – such as auto-play video and ads that block content – that can be annoying to consumers,” Chavern said. “Fortunately, 77 percent of consumers with ad blockers installed are willing to view ads around high-quality content, but we recognize that everyone in the digital ecosystem needs to do better.”

Indeed, because among the worst websites out there are those of several NMA members, such as Gannett sites that regularly feature pop-ups, takeovers or other types of digital advertising that readers find so objectionable — and an incentive to install an ad blocker.

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