Ad Blocking Stays In The Headlines; Axel Springer Maybe Interested In Business Insider

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Ad Blockalypse

The Randall Rothenberg “calm down about ad blockers” media tour continues, this time with a column at Ad Age (following up on Monday’s WSJ Q&A, where he also referred to ad blocking as “the latest crisis du jour”). In a scathing piece, the IAB CEO says profiting off ad blocking is “robbery, plain and simple -- an extortionist scheme.” He cites the potential damage to the overall economy (advertising represents $350 billion in direct sales and $9 trillion in consumer purchases), but that’s a faulty analogy. Ad spending has remained steady at 1-2% of GDP since the early 20th century. The money will flow, just maybe not through IAB ad units. Read it.

Digital News Still Paying Off

Axel Springer is reportedly interested in purchasing Business Insider for $560 million, according to Re/code’s Peter Kafka. Axel Springer purchased a minority share of Business Insider early this year at a $200 million valuation, so the rumored price is a big step up. Business Insider and Axel Springer execs haven’t commented, but this could be the next in a series of recent big-money investments and acquisitions of digital-native news sites. Details.

The Price Of Security

It’s uncommon to hear about competitors like Google, Microsoft, Baidu and Qualcomm teaming up, but the four tech titans did just that on a joint $110 million investment in web security firm CloudFlare. (The round was led by Fidelity.) CloudFlare CEO Matthew Prince says the deal is entirely strategic, with specific goals attached to each new investor. Forbes reporter Kate Vinton says CloudFlare will be expanding its international and mobile applications, as the one-two punch of the Chinese market coming online and mobile web browsing concerns drive top-level strategy. Read on.

Wax And Wane

Whispers of a potential brand/agency pullback from the ad tech ecosystem turned into a shout on Tuesday. In the wake of Belkin’s decision to pull back from programmatic spending, as reported by Suzanne Vranica at The Wall Street Journal, there are now agencies going on the record with concerns over programmatic’s impact. Carat Global and 22squared are both cited by Laurie Sullivan at MediaPost as being unhappy with the state of ad tech. It’s worth noting, though, that agencies are pushing for improvement, not abandoning digital. Read it.

Get It While It’s Hot

Facebook engineer T.R. Vishwanath wrote a post on its developers blog Tuesday pitching the ability to publish directly to Instant Articles from a site’s own CMS. And first up to the plate is The Washington Post, which announced that it would be publishing 100% of its content directly to Facebook’s news service. WaPo redesigned its own site earlier this year to make it faster and more reader-friendly, but publisher Fred Ryan still sees Facebook as “a faster, more seamless news reading experience.” The newspaper has already sold ad placements for its articles on Facebook. More.

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