Another headache for web publishers, DoGooder blocks ads for a good cause

This one is bound to send web publishers’ heads spinning.

While ad-blockers are nothing new, those who install such browser pug-ins tend to be geeks and/or those who believe that the web should remain commerce-free. But what if users could replace ads on any site they visit with ones for a variety of good causes and generate money for those causes at the same time.

That’s the functionality offered by DoGood Headquarters via their free browser plug-in, the DoGooder, which serves up campaigns related to green initiatives and social causes, with the company donating 50% of any profits to charity. The new ads are also highly targeted since anybody installing the plug-in will, presumably, be interested in ‘doing good’.

What’s even more disruptive, however, is that publishers, apparently, won’t notice a thing. The original ads aren’t so much blocked as obstructed as the underlying ads still get served, resulting in publishers still getting paid. The only ones to lose out are the original advertisers, obviously.

As long as this all goes unnoticed.

However, we can see this potential headache for publishers getting worse. Ad-blockers like DoGooder effectively turn the browser into a powerful fund raising tool. Couple this with the way users raised money for Haiti online and schemes that enable the traditional model to be subverted, shifting power from content publishers to content consumers could become more widespread outside the realm of geeks and those with an ideological stance against online ads.

Imagine a web publisher blocking users who have installed DoGooder. Turning away readers because they want to ‘do good’ doesn’t sound like smart PR or branding. While advertisers will also need to be kept onside. It’s probably a case of they’re dammed if they do and dammed if they don’t. In the end we suspect that site owners may just have to get used to this kind of thing – perhaps embrace it as a way of keeping users on side even.

Don’t you just love the smell of disruption.