Ad blocker Shine rebrands as ad platform

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Ad blockers like AdFender strip out ads from web content, but that reduces publisher income

A firm that previously offered ad blocking software to web users is due to launch a service with adverts.

Israeli firm Shine, newly rebranded as Rainbow, aims to offer “a better ad experience for consumers”.

Ad blockers, which allow web users to turn off unwanted marketing campaigns, have proved popular.

But advertisers and content owners have warned such software could jeopardise free, ad-funded internet services.

Under the new system, ad agencies will send their adverts to the Rainbow platform to be verified. The service will be free to both publishers and consumers and it will not charge advertisers to validate its ads.

It expects to make money from an insights and analytics product based on the data produced that can be sold on to advertisers.

Creepiness factor

James Collier, Shine’s chief revenue officer, told the BBC the firm planned to offer improved adverts.

It has worked with industry bodies, including mobile carrier Three, an advertising agency and a media firm, for the past six month to develop its platform, he said.

“We have been consulting with the industry about what a good ad should be – how big the ad is on the page, does it take up data? Does it have auto-play or is it muted?” he said.

There was also work to be done on relevance of ads.

“The creepiness factor is important – whether people are followed around for three days after looking at towel rails in John Lewis or a 12-year-old being targeted by Stannah stairlifts,” he said.

The plan will be to “feed back” to advertisers and publishers.

“If someone is being served 15 to 20 car ads a day because they are in the market for a car, we can say ‘don’t serve any more’,” he said.

Consumers who have opted into the service will only be shown Rainbow-verified ads and the rest are filtered out.

Charlotte Palfrey, a senior analyst at research firm Ovum, questioned how effective it would be.

“I have reservations myself about whether this halfway house approach will really satisfy people who simply don’t want to see adverts.

“The advertising industry has done a poor job so far in coming up with a set of consumer acceptable standards and if people don’t like the results of using Rainbow, they’ll simply move on to a more effective ad blocker.”

Rainbow will be launched in the UK at the end of the summer in partnership with mobile provider Three.

Several other operators are likely to offer the service next year.