Adblock vs PageFair: Is the Digital Economy Doomed?

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Adblock crusaders Eyeo went head-to-head with PageFair on the Marketing Stage today. The panel included Adblock’s CEO Tim Schumacher and PageFair’s CEO Sean Blanchfield. This made for a fairly heated discussion.

Tim began by throwing a question out to the audience – Who uses an adblocker?

After seeing many hands raised he came to the conclusion that about 70% of the audience, likely filled with marketers and advertisers.

This, to Tim, is “pretty telling”. He believed that the widespread adblock use is due to “combination of publishers, advertisers, agencies, who had too much short term thinking”. Bad quality ads are still being pushed out to the detriment of user experience. Adblock, then, is correcting the problem.

Or is it?

PageFair’s Sean is quick to point out that Adblock charges publishers to allow ads to come through.

According to him, it’s like “someone charging you to not break your shop windows in the morning”.

Sean was adamant that Adblocker is “a very blunt instrument,” due to the way that it automatically blocks all ads, regardless of whether they are good quality ads.

Tim was keen to stress the fact that publishers can apply to be whitelisted, and that the process is pro bono.

“Unless the industry fixes the way advertising is served, Adblock usage will continue to rise,” said Tim.

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