The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is working hard to better understand ad blockers, also known as ad filtering. Ad blocking is the practice of eliminating or changing webpage advertising content like pictures; animated, audio and/or video embedded content; pop-ups; or audio and video auto-play.

IAB President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Randal Rothenberg has recently restated his dislike for ad blocking, noted that small publishers are adversely affected by the practice, and promised that the IAB will be working to help small publishers fight back. Mr. Rothenberg described this as his “cri de coeur” against ad blocking, according to AdAge.

“Because many ad blockers cloak their presence, for example, the IAB said it had developed code to help small publishers tell when consumers arrive intending to stiff-arm their ads,” wrote AdAge. That code, noted MobileMarketingWatch, enables publishers to understand “who’s knocking at the door—and gives them an opportunity to change hearts and minds.

IAB’s code will better enable small publishers to detect consumers who appear with ad blocking activated. “We believe this script will actually help enable them in their fight just by enabling their ability to detect,” said Scott Cunningham, senior VP at IAB and general manager of the IAB Tech Lab, who was speaking at a press conference during the annual IAB Mixx conference, which takes place at the same time as Advertising Week.

“Some publishers that see ad-blocking visitors arrive greet them with dialogue boxes encouraging a change of heart or, failing that, perhaps becoming paid subscribers,” AdAge noted. “But the open architecture of many web pages has allowed ad blockers to hide even those dialogue boxes, Mr. Cunningham said. “The IAB is recommending that publishers switch to more secure protocols to prevent that.”

Rick Jaworski, CEO at said, during a main-stage session with Mr. Rothenberg meant to bring light to the issue small publishers face, that, “Part of the problem is, as an industry, we have gone a little bit overboard on the advertising,” “For myself, when I go to a lot of sites these days, I’m irritated and I want an ad blocker,” Mr. Jaworski said.

The IAB has convened a new group to work on the issue and is scheduled to hold its first meeting next week to “study and experiment with responses, including a more clutter-free web experience, strict guidelines for the data that ads traffic in, public messaging, and renewed promotion of the industry’s AdChoices program.” The aim is to provide consumers with some control over their digital experience. “They have a business that they’re trying to run,” Mr. Jaworski said, “I don’t like their business, but we need to remove their model by removing the need for their product.”

According to AdAge, advertisers and publishers prefer staying out of what it describes as “a never-ending engineering war with ad blockers,” noting that the way in which digital advertising is delivered tends to drive consumers into these blockers.


Barton, J.; Mobile Marketing Watch. IAB Wants to Do More About Ad Blocking; Convenes Group to Study Options; October 02, 2015.

Ives, Nat; AdAge. IAB Starts Publicity and Engineering Battle Against Ad Blocking: Introduces Script to Help Publishers Detect Even Cloaked Blockers. September 29, 2015.