Google Takes Offensive Action

This month Google[i] decided to take offensive action against the browser extension Adblock Plus.[ii]

According to The Escapist[iii] ( ), Google disabled the Adblock Plus extension on YouTube[iv] for its Chrome[v] browser. Google management also engaged in what is perceived as punitive action against Adblock users by preventing them from skipping three-minute commercials. (YouTube usually allows users to skip a commercial after five seconds). Skeptics contend while it’s possible this ‘punitive action’ is just a bug in the new program, it doesn’t smother the gossip.

There’s a bit of a backstory here for those of you who don’t share my passion for online advertising news. Forgive me if I make this too simplistic. Adblock Plus is a free optional extension that prevents online advertisements from displaying. The effect, in the eyes of the user, is a faster web experience free from clutter. The impact on content producers and advertisers who rely on online exposure is loss of impressions, actions, and revenue.

Advertisers liked the online advantage where they could pay by visitor. With the advent of Adblock-like extensions, corporate and agency advertising professionals began to require tools that expose how many users actually saw their ads. The accountability cost to platforms such as YouTube was painful. You certainly can understand why Adbock Plus is not Google management’s favorite extension.


Google management team members must have had some jolly and interesting conversations on their way to punish their Chrome customers who happen to be Adblock Plus users.

What do you suppose happened when the managers asked: Why do our loyal Chrome users install Adblock Plus?

The answer to that fundamental question seems to be straightforward. A user uses Adblock to achieve a faster, cleaner, browsing experience. In an IT-rich environment where three seconds can be viewed as an unacceptable wait time, many see Adblock as a focus-management tool, a necessity. While some argue Adblock is a united battlefront against corporate greed, convenience seems to be the argument that wins hearts. Either way, I would suspect Google managers, brilliant folks who navigate Mensa-like puzzles in order to be hired, thought, just maybe, Google Chrome’s new policy would foster resentment. If three second interruptions are borderline unacceptable, imagine what three minutes must be like for the must-have-what-I-wanted-loaded-now-or-I-will-scream millennial?

(I want to know what happened during the strategic conversations.)

Alas, now Google executives may find they are stuck. How do frustrated, time-delayed, punished millennials respond?

In my experience:

  1. Millennials leave,
  2. Millennials tell everybody within social range why, and
  3. Millennials recommend replacement products/services.

Isn’t it reasonable to assume millennials will abandon Google Chrome for web browsers that allow Adblock to be used on YouTube? Do you really think hyperactive Internet users will be loyal to Google Chrome despite this wait time? Or is it more likely some millennial hot shot will blog about how many hours will be consumed watching unwanted promotions and the millennial gossip tree will scoop up that projection feeling its way to impressive exaggeration? Will shareholders evaluate the time and cost Google devoted to programming this subroutine as worthless?

Did Google managers hand Eyeo (the owners of Adblock Plus) a donations bonanza, assuming Eyeo plays this public relations chess game wisely?

Google leadership should brace for flak. Meanwhile, I hope a great reporter tells the interesting story: What were they thinking?


[i] Google is a trade name of Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, California 94043

[ii] Adblock Plus is a trade name owned by Eyeo Gmbh, Im Klapperhog 7-23, 50670, Cologne, Germany

[iii] The Escapist is a trade name owned by Themis Group Inc., 27 Signal Road, Stamford Connecticut, 06902

[iv] YouTube is a trade name owned by Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, California 94043

[v] Google Chrome is a trade name of Google Inc., 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway, Mountain View, California 94043


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