- Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) President Randall Rothenberg gave the keynote address at the 2016 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting, and took the opportunity to denounce ad blocking as a war against diversity and freedom of expression.
- He specifically called out ad blocking firm AdBlock-Plus for complaining that its team was disinvited from the IAB Leadership Meeting.
- In separate IAB news, the organization also recently created a Data Center of Excellence that will drive the “data agenda” with input from industry thought leaders, develop research and educational materials as well as host events around data related topics. MediaMath CEO Joe Zawadzki is the chair of group’s Board of Directors.
Tensions between the advertising community and ad blockers are coming to a boil with the leading ad blocking firm alleging it was disinvited from the IAB leadership meeting. Although Rothenberg said AdBlock-Plus’s claim that it was disinvited from the event was a "lie," he did admit the IAB actively prevented the tech firm from attending.
"They registered for this event online. When we found out, we cancelled the registration and reversed their credit card billing," he said. "Why? For the simple reason that they are stealing from publishers, subverting freedom of the press, operating a business model predicated on censorship of content, and ultimately forcing consumers to pay more money for less – and less diverse – information."
In talking about the ad blocking space in general, he pointed out that for-profit ad blockers are "one of the more recent darlings of the venture capital industry and angel investors," including investment firms that also invest in advertising technology and ad-supported publishing companies.
Rothenberg had strong words for what he sees as the real issue behind ad blocking technology and venture capital investment in that technology, stating, “This is the true face of ad blocking. It is the rich and self-righteous, who want to tell everyone else what they can and cannot read and watch and hear – self-proclaimed libertarians whose liberty involves denying freedom to everyone else.”