In June, Google revealed that Chrome will stop showing all ads (including those owned or served by Google) on websites that display non-compliant ads “starting in early 2018.” Now the company has committed to a date: Chrome’s built-in ad-blocker will start working on February 15, 2018.
Interestingly, this date does not appear to be tied to a specific Chrome version. Chrome 64 is currently scheduled to arrive on January 23 and Chrome 65 is slated to launch on March 6, suggesting Google will be turning on its browser’s ad blocker remotely, and possibly gradually for select users.
Google this year joined the Coalition for Better Ads, a group that offers specific standards for how the industry should improve ads for consumers — full-page ad interstitials, ads that unexpectedly play sound, and flashing ads are all banned. Yesterday, the coalition announced the Better Ads Experience Program, which provides guidelines for companies using the Better Ads Standards to improve users’ experience with online ads.
In addition to the date, Google today also shared how sites affected by Chrome’s ad blocker will be able to get back into the browser’s good graces:
Violations of the Standards are reported to sites via the Ad Experience Report, and site owners can submit their site for re-review once the violations have been fixed. Starting on February 15, in line with the Coalition’s guidelines, Chrome will remove all ads from sites that have a “failing” status in the Ad Experience Report for more than 30 days. All of this information can be found in the Ad Experience Report Help Center, and our product forums are available to help address any questions or feedback.
The Ad Experience Report tool provides screenshots and videos of annoying ad experiences to help sites find and fix issues. For a full list of ads to use instead, Google offers a best practices guide.
Google’s strategy is simple: Use Chrome to cut off ad revenue from websites that serve low-quality ads, as determined by the aforementioned standards. To be clear, a single ad violating the standards isn’t enough for Google to consider a publisher to be “failing,” a Google spokesperson told VentureBeat. Chrome will adhere to thresholds set by the coalition:
Assessment of participating companies’ compliance conducted in connection with the Program will be based on measureable,
empirical thresholds that establish the frequency of display of ad experiences that do not comply with the Standards. In the initial phase of the Program’s operation, the threshold for non-compliance for web sites will be measured according to the following percentages of page views assessed:
- 7.5% in the first two months following the Effective Date of the Program
- 5% in the ensuing four months
- 2.5% in the months thereafter
A single violation may result in a warning from the Ad Experience Report. If there are multiple, unfixed violations, Chrome will block all ads on the site in question.
The hope is that Chrome’s built-in ad blocker will stymie the usage of other third-party ad blockers that block all ads outright. Google has noted in the past that ad blockers hurt publishers that create free content (like VentureBeat) and threaten “the sustainability of the web ecosystem.” Despite the fact that Google makes the vast majority of its revenue from ads, the company sees its selective ad blocker as the natural evolution of pop-up blockers.