Who Blocks the Blockers? A Mad Man

In another life, Ben Barokas would have been the sort of smoking, drinking advertising man that sells slide machines on the back of nostalgia and popsicles by referencing Catholic imagery.

But in the 21st century, Barokas wants to deliver ads to your computer screen. His problem isn’t punchy prose of teaching the world to sing — his problem is your ad blocker.

Barokas solution? Sourcepoint, a company established to put advertising back in front of the eyeballs of users around the world. He’s no newbie to online advertisin, having founded AdMeld, an online advertising optimization service Google snapped up for $400 million in 2011.

Rather than retire to his own private island in Tahiti, Barokas decided to tackle what may or may not be a real problem. The gray area about ad blockers is that some studies pegged only five percent of web users as actively using countermeasures to avoid ads. But others say it is a real problem, especially when all anyone has to do is do an online search for ad blockers and a screen of options are there for the taking. (Also ironic — Google is dependent of online ads for its revenue, but most of those search results no doubt come from the Mountain View company.) Pagefair, a rival adblock blocker, estimates about 50 percent of users now use ad blockers.

Whatever the real amount is, adblocking is about to explode. Apple recently OK’d guidelines for developers to start coding blockers for their iOS devices and mobile is where the growth is in online advertising. iPhone and iPad users are high value targets for marketers, and study after study points to those users spending more money than users of other platforms.

Given the attention and steam adblockers have/may have/will have Sourcepoint has much potential as well if it works. Spark Capital, Foundry Group, Greycroft and Accel are the VCs involved with the company.

As Yoda would say, begun, the block wars have.

Via re/code. Photo by yuichirock/flickr.

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