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Yandex Offers ‘Complaint’ Button And AI As Alternative To Ad Blocking

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Yandex, a major search engine in Russia, hopes to reach a compromise between users and advertisers as an alternative to indiscriminate ad blocking

Yandex has added a ‘complaint’ button to its browser so users can flag obtrusive or low quality advertising rather than install ad blocking software.

The Russian developer says the use of ad blocking software on its platform has risen by a fifth in the past year as users become increasingly irritated by adverts.

Many use ad blockers because they find ads intrusive while others believe some creatives slow down system performance, use excessive amounts of data and reduce battery life, while others hold security fears. A number of advertising networks have been used to launch malvertising attacks in recent times.

Yandex complaint

adblock plusYandex operates the largest search engine in Russia, with 60 percent of the domestic market. This means it has a vested interest in the online advertising market. It hopes to forge a compromise between consumers and publishers, claiming that without advertising, much of the free content and many of the services that users enjoy would simply not exist.

Every time an advert is complained about, it will be hidden from the user and a report sent to Yandex, which will then use its machine learning algorithms to learn more about users and help advertisers create more effective campaigns.

The ‘complaint’ button will first arrive in the alpha version of the Android Yandex browser and there are plans to bring it to desktop and iOS too, the company confirmed to TechWeekEurope.

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“People don’t hate online advertisements in general – it’s the bad ads that are annoying,” argued Roman Ivanov, head of projects at Yandex browser. “Ad blockers, however, block almost all ads indiscriminately, which negatively impacts good advertisers and website publishers. This, in turn, has a negative effect on web users.

“Our goal is to identify what type of advertisement is unacceptable for our users so that we can block it in the browser automatically. To achieve this we will be analysing ad blocking reports received from every single user who blocks an ad on our browser, using our pioneering AI-based technology.”

Facebook recently said it would override ad blockers, echoing the argument presented by Yandex. One of the most popular pieces of software, Adblock Plus, accepts payments from a number of companies for their adverts to be ‘whitelisted’ so creatives are only blocked if users dictate so in the settings.

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