An Industry Effort to Block ‘Annoying’ Ads Was Quietly Fueled by Google Data


Google has confirmed to Ad Age that an industry trade body tasked with deciding which “annoying” ad formats web browsers should block largely used its data and research methodology to do so. The trade body, known as the Coalition for Better Ads, last year publicly presented the material in full with Google and 18 company employees’ names removed, describing it as “the Coalition’s research.”

By not crediting the search giant for its research, the Coalition had until now effectively insulated Google from potential new unwanted attention to its influence over the web, which could raise questions of transparency at a critical time for the search giant: The company was hit with a $21 million fine last Thursday after the Competition Commission of India said it abused its dominant position in the online ad search market.

And in August, after Google said its Chrome browser would block ads according to Coalition criteria, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said her organization “will follow this new feature and its effects closely.”

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