Re: Can't say I'm sorry for the publishers.
@AC asking for evidence. Just google it. Estimates indicate about 61% of all Ad Spend on the Internet Goes to Google and Facebook. Google alone account for about 44% of spend. Google are pushing this because together with Facebook they are a duopoly and can see publishers are stuck in a kind of game theory scenario where individual rational choice is leading to a worse outcome for readers and the web as a whole. Helping reduce bad ad practices will lead to higher revenues. Their action will help in some way to stop publishers crossing over the line into adpocalypse where placing additional banner ads add decreasingly marginal revenue, but where the weight of ads is making the site quality decline (especially as the publisher has no direct control over ad quality, though they can control the quality of where the ads are placed on a site, but not unfortunately, the quality of the code some kinds of ad bring into the site).
I wouldn’t say Google are “helping” the publishers though. The analogy is with the supermarket chains where they say to farmers/producers ok, you need our business and you can only continue with us if you ensure higher quality for the part you control, but the price remains the same. It can be argued this “helps” the consumer and Google, but actually the whole system represents something of an economic trap for publishers. Online publishing is becoming an increasingly low margin business with the competitive choice between medium to low quality Google owned ad feeds or generally worse quality google competitor ad feeds. There are ad networks specialising in the luxury market that don’t fit this simplified model, but at a basic level I think I have presented the market reasonably fairly.
It is important for publishers to stay strong and avoid the ever present gravitational pull of adpocalypse. A bit like with finance/personal loans, the more you are feeling the squeeze, the worse the options become. The Register having found their niche are one of the better examples of how this can be done. John Gruber’s Daring Fireball is an even better example, but done at a smaller scale where the individual (lone publisher) gets much higher margins. But unfortunately these are outliers in a sea of counter-examples