China is preparing itself towards banning ad-blocking programs from being installed on its citizens' machines, as part of a new internet advertising rule which was implemented last week. This was recently discovered by Ben Williams, the head of operations behind the popular ad-blocking program AdBlock Plus.
The new Internet Advertising Interim Rules (note: in Chinese) seek to define what constitutes online advertising. Also, the rules seek to target false or misleading online advertising. It further explains to readers that paid search results are completely differentiable from organic results.
However, another part of the rules, specifically Article 16, seems to alarm Williams. It states (translated from Chinese):
Internet advertising campaigns shall not commit any of the following acts:(A) providing or using applications, hardware, and legitimate business advertising for others to take blocking, filters, covers, fast forward limited measures, such as;
(B) use of network access, network devices, applications, and disruption of normal advertising data, alter or block other legitimate business advertising, loading ads without authorization;(C) the use of false statistics, dissemination of results or Internet media value, inducing price is incorrect, to seek illegitimate interest or damage the interests of others.
"The concept of ad blocking has always been about putting power back into the hands of the consumer, so this robs them of what has become a basic right," he said.
He argues that consumers still need to have control over seeing advertisements, stating that it helps when it comes to online security. China is plagued by third-party stores, which may contain malicious apps, putting consumers at risk.
In a global study Williams conducted with a marketing company, he found out the main reason people use adblockers, which is disruption/annoyance.
Lastly, the company will comply with the rules and remove its products in China if ever needed, but still emphasizes the importance of the right to choose.
A quick reminder: If you are using adblocking software, we would greatly appreciate it if you whitelisted Neowin. Advertising enables us to continue the Neowin community. We also offer subscription options which remove advertising from the website without the need for extra software.