If you’re a publisher that relies on digital ad revenue—and the vast majority of news sites fall into that category—you will have a new problem to worry about in February: That’s when Google starts blocking ads by default for users of its Chrome browser.
The fact that Google planned to make this move was first reported earlier this year by The Wall Street Journal, but the exact timing was unknown. On Tuesday, the web giant said in a blog post that it will start blocking sites on February 15.
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The company says this is an attempt to clean up the state of online advertising, which is awash in pop-ups, interstitials, auto-playing videos, and other clutter. And it says it will only block ads that fail to meet guidelines set by the Coalition for Better Ads (of which Google is a member).
The blocking also comes with a nuclear option: If a site falls below a certain threshold for bad advertising for 30 days, Google will block all of the ads on the site until it takes action to fix whatever problems have been reported.