Advertising revenues help support a huge proportion of the content and services available to people on the Web, by covering cover day-to-day operational costs while allowing usage and access to all visitors.
Since the core Web platform was not designed with advertising use cases in mind, most current Web facing advertising technology has been built on top of application-level hacks which, too often, result in a substantially degraded end-user experience with ample opportunities for tampering and exploitation by malicious agents.
Consumers have been taking notice and the advertising industry has taken some initial steps to improve, independently, but it is time to start working on more robust, long-term, and integrated platform-level solutions.
The “Improving Web Advertising Business Group” will do structured thinking about “Web advertising by design” and push for core Web platform capabilities that can better and more efficiently support key Web advertising use cases. It will aim at identifying key areas where the Open Web Platform can be changed, and at starting Working Groups or liaising with existing Working Groups as needed.
Likely technical areas might include:
- Improving the user experience, and providing more information and control to the user;
- Exploring ways to balance the user experience improvements that come from showing interesting and relevant adverts against the need to improve both privacy and safety, perhaps using the techniques being developed in the areas of Web Payments, Web Credentials and Verifiable Claims to support anonymous preferences, as well as reviewing HTML sandbox support for securing third-party content;
- Empowering content and service providers to enforce UX promises to their audiences, including providing guidelines for creating and delivering accessible advertisements;
- Delivering advertisements with less overhead, greater compatibility, and in an accessible manner;
- Reporting on when advertisements have been seen or acted upon, and possibly enhancing them to include in-ad purchases that are less disruptive to browsing.
In other words, by working together we can improve the Web itself to help it embrace a “Web advertising by design” approach that includes the needs of all parties involved, that acknowledges the reality today of the advertising-funded Web sites, and that places privacy, security, accessibility, and user experience all in the forefront.
The Business Group is just getting started; see more information, including how to join, at www.w3.org/community/web-adv/.