Bad Move: Google Removes AdBlock Plus From Google Play Store
from the not-doing-its-reputation-any-good dept
Another day in which Google makes a move that leaves me scratching my head about what it’s thinking. It has decided to remove Adblock Plus from the Google Play store arguing that it interferes “with another service or product in an unauthorized manner.” Obviously, some will argue that of course Google is doing this to protect its own ad revenue, but it still surprises me. Google’s entire premise was built on the idea of building advertising that was non-intrusive and non-annoying such that it created value for people. The whole reason that Adblock exists is to fight back against bad advertising. On top of that, Adblock is a very popular tool, in part because it helps stop annoying advertising. If anything Adblock represents a useful way of exposing information about when and why people find advertising annoying.
As we’ve argued before, even though things like Adblock directly mean less revenue for us, we don’t begrudge anyone for choosing to use it. To us, it’s just a sign that we’re not doing a good enough job delivering what our community wants in a manner they want it. That’s useful. It sometimes puts us in a difficult position, because we have to deal with advertisers who only seem to want banner ads that our audience doesn’t like. But we should never take that out on our community, but rather the responsibility is on us to seek out ways to convince advertisers and sponsors to work with us in ways that benefit everyone, rather than intrude or annoy our audience. On that front, we’ve always found Adblock to be a useful tool.
While Google may not view it totally that way, in the past, Google has generally taken the position that what’s best for the user is something that it will support, even if it’s not directly the most beneficial thing for Google. Instead, it took the longer term view that doing what’s right for the consumer would mean that consumers would stick with them and trust them. But blocking AdBlock goes against that very concept. It’s a short term move and one that the EFF (with whom we agree) sees as simply a bad move for Google.
Part of the appeal of the Google Play store is the lack of Apple iOS style walls and gates. Putting up those gates in a way that goes against user’s own interests just seems like a bad long term decision.