For about one hour today, web users noticed two odd things on most major news sites. First, the pages loaded faster. Second, there were no ads.
That’s because Doubleclick for Publishers (DFP), a Google advertising service, was hit by intermittent outages.
DFP is a service that allows publishers to manage their ad operations and is used by most subscribers as an ad server. That is, the ads originate from a Google machine rather than the servers that the publisher’s own content comes from. As the ads disappeared, you could see just how pervasive Google is in online advertising.
Everyday users—and the occasional website—rejoiced, though most publishers were less pleased at the loss of revenue from the outage. The fourth quarter of the year is traditionally the strongest for publishers in terms of ad sales, so extended outages cost them money in ads they’re unable to serve.
The outages affected publishers “globally, across their video, display, native and mobile formats,” Google says in a statement. “Our team has worked quickly to fix the software bug and DFP is now back up and running, so our publisher partners can return to funding their content.”
We took some screen shots during the outages, to compare what various news websites look like with and without ads.
The Atlantic (which, like Quartz, is owned by Atlantic Media)
Forbes “thought of the day”
Forbes home page
And our personal favorite, The Telegraph, which looks like it’s set up to prioritize serving ads over copy.