With the growing use of ad blockers installed in browsers and now mobile operating systems such as iOS 9, some websites have refused to display content when they detect visitors are using ad-blocking software. Over the weekend, Yahoo went a step further by temporarily preventing some Yahoo Mail users from accessing their own emails until they turned off their ad-blocking software. When interviewed for an article in The Washington Post, Attorney Ansel Halliburton explained that Yahoo was within its rights, noting that more companies have begun including anti-blocking language in their terms of service. Although users may be in technical breach of those terms, “Practically speaking, no one is going to sue 5 million people for using an ad blocker, but it gives them some leverage to block the blockers.”
This uptick in ad-blocking usage poses business challenges for media and Internet companies like Yahoo, who rely heavily on advertising revenue. Although Yahoo’s action may seem harsh and may negatively impact its public reputation, Mr. Halliburton adds “…running email infrastructure at that volume takes a lot of resources.” He expects the battle against ad-blockers to continue, noting that some companies have already tried — and failed — to challenge the legality of blockers with lawsuits in Europe.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2015 and is filed under FTC Advertising Law Compliance, Internet Law News.