Changing online ads
Changing the online ad space

With Internet Explorer holding 67% of the web browser market share, what if Microsoft offered users an easy way to block online advertisements in the next version of Windows?

According to comScore in January, Google held a 63% market share in search over Microsoft at 8.5%. However, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer held 67% of the web browser market share over Google Chrome’s one per cent. With the search experience starting at the browser, Microsoft could block online advertisements in the browser and starve Google from advertising revenue. How would this change the online advertising industry?

The browser add-on Adblock Plus already blocks advertising for Firefox, which holds 22% of the web browser market share. Adblock Plus blocks nearly all advertising from AdWords, AdSense and DoubleClick. It has been downloaded more than 600,000 times per week with more than 45M total downloads.

However, with the technology to block advertising comes the question: is it ethical? Targeted advertising compensates for monthly hosting cost, but it distracts users from search.

If blocking online advertising is unethical, what about TiVo and television advertising? How is blocking advertising different from applying filters in other forms of digital media, for instance, a local print shop correcting white balances in a photo?

Do you consider Google AdWords and other banner ads as unsolicited spam? If so, should Microsoft help consumers filter online advertising like spam email filters in the next version of Internet Explorer? What do you think?

Tim Tang

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