Today, trust is a becoming a rare quality; it is under fire from all sides. Fraudsters have become ingenious in creating convincing, well-researched phishing ploys designed to steal identities and financial resources. News and professional, ethical reporting is under fire anytime one doesn’t like what is written. Manufactured personas spew social commentary that may be difficult to distinguish from content posted by real people. Countries are using grade-school excuses to cover up misdeeds. What’s real and what’s fake? Who can one trust?
Publishers value reader trust as one of their highest values. Having a spotless reputation and being known for the highest levels of reliability are cherished attributes. Once trust erodes, earning it back is extremely difficult, if not impossible.
Distrust has been one of the factors driving the adoption of ad blocking technology. Developers of ad blocking technology and users of such solutions have come to distrust, and even fear, a betrayal by publishers. Topping the list of fears are malicious threats from malvertising, creepy targeted ads and loss of privacy.
Malicious Threats from Malvertising
It is becoming well known that users may be compromised even when visiting a reputable website. Spyware or obtrusive tracking software may load onto visitors’ devices simply by landing on a page without clicking anything. Worse, malicious software, designed to steal passwords or complete identities or initiate ransomware to commandeer an entire device until an extortion payment is made, may quietly slip onto their computers, tablets or smartphones. Some of this unwanted software may not be outright criminal, but it may seriously degrade computer performance.
Creepy Targeted Ads
There is a growing level of discomfort and the beginnings of an outcry over personalized, targeted ads that show up on a webpage based on some earlier web activity by a user. Somewhere, there is a line being crossed that balances smart, helpful ads from those that make users question or be afraid of what is happening. The sub-headline from an Adweek article earlier this year noted, “Brands are starting to push the boundary, using personal info in ads.”
Loss of Privacy
Like the problem with creepy, targeted ads, users are becoming wary of how much of their personal information and traits are being recorded and retained by unknown parties. Most people know and expect that they lose some privacy by going online, but concerns mount when detailed or more personal information might be collected. Once again, there is a line somewhere.
Publishers Get the Blame
While all three of these concerns may not be due directly from actions on the part of publishers, most users cannot distinguish the real culprits from the place where the actions occur. In other words, as users see and experience the effects of adware and malvertising, creepy ad targeting and loss of privacy on particular publisher sites, the publisher gets the blame. At a minimum, the visitor begins to distrust the publisher. At its worst, visitors start to avoid the publisher altogether. At the same time, users become distrustful of all sites and adopt ways to fight back or at least protect themselves. Ad blocking is one of those choices that seems promising.
Publishers need transparency and control in order to assure visitors a safe, positive experience and retain their trust. The current digital ad delivery system takes control of a publisher’s site through opaque third-party calls and code added to the web instructions that form the web pages. This prevents publishers from averting malware, governing ad content and display types and upholding privacy and enacting permission-based interactions. Publishers need to incorporate upcoming technology to regain visibility and control of the third-party system that is rapidly eroding visitor trust.
Learn more about Apomaya and how our breakthrough technology can help you regain user trust: