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Push for better online ad standards

Technology
London - A broad coalition of advertising trade groups, ad buyers and sellers from Europe and the US have urged the industry to stop using annoying online marketing formats that have fuelled the rapid rise of ad-blockers.

The types of ads the coalition has identified as falling below standard include pop-up ads, auto-play video ads with sound, flashing animated ads and full-screen ads that mask underlying content from readers or viewers.

The explosion of ad-blocking tools has launched a prolonged debate within the advertising industry over whether to rein in abusive ad practices, or simply freeze out consumers who use an ad-blocker and still expect access to premium content.

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Illustration: Colin Daniel

The Coalition for Better Ads said yesterday it was publishing the voluntary standards after a study in which more than 25000 web surfers and mobile-phone users rated ads. They identified six types of desktop web ads and 12 types of mobile ads as falling beneath a threshold of consumer acceptability.

The coalition is made up of advertising associations from Britain, France, Germany and the US, Google and Facebook, advertisers such as Procter & Gamble and Unilever and news publishers including News Corp, Washington Post and Thomson Reuters, the corporate parent of Reuters News.

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