If you believe some of the market research about the prevalence of consumer ad blocking, the sky is falling on a publishing industry that has long depended on advertising.
Those surveys may or may not be wholly accurate, but Ben Barokas is intent on solving the problem.
Whilst working as general manager of marketplace development at Google, Barokas says German publishers reported 40% of readers using blockers, pleading to the Chrome browser maker for help.
That help comes in the form of Sourcepoint – Barokas’ startup, which got $10m in funding last year to tackle the matter.
Sourcepoint does that by powering publishers to present readers running blockers with several options, ranging from “pay up”, to a gentle cajoling and more.
For Barokas, it’s about up-ending the historical “implicit transaction” in which consumers get free content for viewing ads.
“We need to change this – to make an explicit transaction… to have a conversation and engage the user around how they would like to compensate the publisher,” Barokas tells Beet.TV.
He says publishers are “put in jeopardy by individuals that thought they could get away with stealing content”.