Tivo for the web?

Interesting article in today’s NYT article “Link by Link” by Noam Cohen.

Article profiles a web advertising filter by the name of “Adblock Plus“.  Built for the Firefox browser, this plug in app has 2.5 million users around the world and is in its infant stages of uptake.  While similar apps have come and gone, this “extreme menace to the online advertising business model” caught my eye as it makes all commerical communication disappear, including Google’s ad words.

While I make my living by finding ways to surface products and services on the web (which in turn may be monetized via ad serving), this obviously caught my attention!    I figured it was a matter of time until someone built an ad-free experience (similar to Tivo).  In the finance vertical, we have all at one time or another looked at the economics of an ad free offering (supported either by a subscription model, or other) as we continually strive to deliver a unique experience to the user.

I believe the average consumer appreciates that quality content has embedded ads to support the costs associatd to produce and thus is undermined by this type of app.  Will sites start serving ads from their own servers to get around this type of app (as the article implies)?  Maybe articles will have embedded products in the text in some form or fashion … (oh, how the editors of sites around the world are scratching their face in horror).

For now, this is just another evolution of the business, and if this takes hold, some one will figure out how to build a revenue stream to support those very large costs with building and deploying quality content.  This may have other dependencies, such as the reliance on Firefox as a browser of choice? If IE7 were to prevent this type of app (as MSFT is not immune to the outcry advertisers might employ if this were to become widespread), would this drive up the value users place on alternative browser experiences?

Speaking of..and tangential at best, what if Facebook, Myspace or other powerful social site were to launch their own browser?  What about Yahoo? Change the dynamics of an IE7 world by providing some type of value add if users of such social sites were to download a new browser?  Attack MSFT’s monopoly?

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