Are you accepting Ad Safe ad blocking tags or monitoring tags only?

Published by: Shawna Stine , Microsoft, us
Published on: February 1, 2013

All -
we are getting some pressure from "annalect" (representing the Sponsor Hewlett-Packard) to accept Ad Safe ad blocking tags on ESPN instead of the standard monitoring tags that we allow. They are making the claim that "...every other premium publisher that HP works with accepts blocking tags. This technology is now considered standard."

Are any publishers out there that are not accepting these blocking tags?

Thank you!
Shawna Stine
ESPN Ad Operations


We have had the same pressure from agencies to use adsafe. They said pretty much the same thing, other publishers are accepting, why aren't you.
Not only that, but recently a few of these agencies are also passing on the cost of adsafe to the publishers.
We were pushing back since a year ago when we ran tags with adsafe layer for the first time and we experienced higher than usual discrepancies. It was DFP vs DFA, and I have never seen the % that they were different by during this run. Adsafe created many latency issues and also blocked impressions.
I agree with Ben, that it is redundant to run verification on directly bought publishers.

I head up Brand Safety and 3rd Party Ad Verification (and viewability) initiatives for my company, which services a large variety of clients from auto to tech to OTC pharma.

While I can understand the hassle that blocking tags can cause (impression and click discrepancies, broken tags, etc.), they provide a level of comfort for the client and the publisher still gets paid (at least per our contracts).

There are a few reasons why a client may want to run blocking tags on a direct buy, but one of the biggest I hear is the ability to block what the client might deem as inappropriate content at the page level. So even though ESPN is an premium publisher, perhaps the client does not want to run next to pages about auto crashes, which ESPN may publish in their Nascar section. It's a level of control in the online world, which often seems uncontrollable.

I mainly work in a DSP/RTB environment and 3rd Party Ad Verification can be a headache, but I also see the client's perspective and the benefit of safety across all of their buys.

When I was at WebMD we didn't take them, at least not those that could actually prevent the ad from serving. Can't say if they've changed their policy recently, but I expect not.

Ad blocking tags are really a silly proposition for a direct to publisher buy on a branded publisher in my opinion. What is the buyer really worried about? It's not as though ESPN is going to start dropping racial epithets, write diatribes against a specific brand, or host pornographic images. I mean, what is this buyer worried about that you can't address with them upfront with the targeting?

For exchanges, I get the value proposition of Ad Safe, but it seems redundant in your case.

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