IAB Recognition of Ad Problem Too Little Too Late

2015 11 04   Peter Feinstein   Online vs Offline Media    

I’m impressed that the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) has stepped up and acknowledged the problem with annoying online ads. (Ad-Blocking Horse Leaves; IAB Closes Barn Door, MediaPost.Com, Oct. 16) It’s the first step toward any kind of recovery or redemption.

Sadly, IAB officials still don’t get the big picture. It’s not just that many online ads are lame; it’s that there is no standard by which they are placed or run. Every publisher/property makes up its own rules, and the user experience is so uneven that the Internet can’t even be called a medium. It’s just a bazillion pages of interconnected data, each of which presents itself differently, offering what designers think is the most enticing user experience.

Even more to the point than this maelstrom of icky ads (yes, that is the technical term - ok, not really) is the fact that they’re served to us in the most inane ways, based upon the notion that “more is better.” More is not better; it’s only more. And, for all the much ballyhooed superiority of online ad tech, I – like hundreds of millions of others around the globe – get inundated by ads that are a day (week, month or year) too late. So, like the hundreds of millions of other consumers who’ve decided enough is enough, I’ve chosen to block every ad from my online experience.

I credit the IAB with waking up. Finally. However it’s too late. The horse indeed has left the barn, in a full gallop, and getting it back in is going to be more difficult than herding Jell-O!