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In the battle to ensure that online ads reach consumer eyeballs, what's the best way to address the proliferation of ad blockers?
A new company, Sourcepoint, has a simple answer: attack them head on.
Founded by Ben Barokas, who previously started ad optimization company AdMeld, which Google later bought for $400 million, Sourcepoint "helps publishers quantify their monetization challenges and provides technology to address the issue by increasing the options available for consumers to support the content they love."
Barokas says he believes that:
Publishers and users should be able to decide together on how content is paid for. No longer should the exchange that happens between a content creator and consumer be implicit.
Don't let the pleasant descriptions fool you: according to Barokas, his company has the technology to defeat "all the ad blockers."
Sourcepoint's technology is based on detecting ad blockers and either circumventing them to deliver ads or instead delivering a message to users encouraging them to compensate the publisher in other ways, such purchasing a subscription.
According to Sourcepoint, comScore 100 publishers are already employing its technology, which is currently being offered for free.
In the future, Sourcepoint will likely charge publishers for use of its technology. A licensing fee is one possibility, but Barokas also indicated that his company could look to share in the revenue generated by advertising it delivers to adblocked users or subscriptions its technology helps sell, positioning Sourcepoint for to become a major player in the ad tech space if can deliver on its promise.
A panacea for publishers?
While ad blocker blockers are not new, the pedigree of Sourcepoint's founding team is raising eyebrows and might give hope to publishers desperate for a solution to ad blockers, which by some estimates are now used by more than 100m consumers in the United States.
But even if Sourcepoint's technology delivers as promised, is it really a panacea for publishers?
Even when ads aren't blocked, publishers will have to face the deepening concerns over viewability, and the general fact that consumers usually aren't interested in their ads.
Even though the subscription economy is booming, more and more publishers are vying for a piece of a subscription pie that probably isn't expanding as rapidly as the number of competitors is.
Because of these challenges, even if a new generation of ad blocker blockers proves capable of staying one step ahead of the ad blockers, many publishers will find themselves struggling to maintain and grow their revenue and do so profitably as the costs of producing high-quality content continue to rise.