Adblocking: a cat-and-mouse game built on trust

Adblocking is a hot topic these days. A never ending cat and mouse game between advertisers and consumers in which ingenious developers are constantly finding new ways of avoiding or trying to avoid advertising pressure. What Adblocking is showing us too is a lack of trust on the part of consumers. Who else but Doc Searls, one of the co-writers of the celebrated Cluetrain Manifesto was in better position to raise the subject? This is exactly what he did at our late September meeting in Prague*. Once more, consumer trust ranked high on the agenda.

“Adblocking is becoming a big deal and it’s even one of the biggest downloads and even more so in certain countries like Germany and Austria” Doc said in his introduction to the subject. “This has grown and grown and journalists are describing it as a War now”. Even better, Apple has made this decision to add adblocking in the IOS 9 SDK. You will then be able to block whatever you want. “Immediately after this change” Doc said, “Adblockers became the most popular apps on the store”. 

Doc Searls talking about Adblocking in front of the panel of ODR experts at the Prague September meeting organised by Youstice

Adblocking: Apple knows before consumers they really need it

“It’s very easy for the Press to describe this as an Apple vs Google feud” Doc added “but the point is somewhere else”. Doc’s argument is that Apple is making it easy for consumers, because “they know what the customers want even before they know themselves what they want”. Apple has indeed taught us to expect the unexpected, offer products we don’t need apparently, and then once the object has been created we suddenly realise we are craving for it.

One of the interesting things about the Adblock controversies is that it emphasises that our world works through advertising. “But online, the junk-mail world has taken over and this isn’t what we were expecting” Doc added. Things have gone out of control. The publishing world acts as if they didn’t understand what is happening. To them, this is how the world works and that’s that but “we, as consumers, we have never signed up for this”.

Why do we need trust in business?

Lea Whing has an interesting point to make on this. when Doc Searls mentions trust, what are we hearing? “Are we only interested in trust because this is what will trigger consumer purchase?” She asked wittily, “or is it because people need it? If so, what do customers really need?”

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The real Internet of Things seen by Web pioneers

This weekend is a very special one. On October 18-19th, 2014 quite a few pioneers from all over the world will gather to debate about what the real Internet of things really is about and other subjects which are all listed per below. They are all being invited by Youstice, the leading start-up which is revolutionising customer relationship management all over the world [disclosure: Youstice is our client]. Here are the invitees of this meeting, amongst whom we find Ether Dyson (1st head of ICANN and one of the first persons I saw on Channel 4 in 1994 talking about the Internet) and Doc Searls (one of the co-writers of the obligatory cluetrain manifesto still available at I will keep you posted at visionary marketing and LinkedIn about the outcome of these discussions and what we have learnt from these pioneers of the Internet about the Internet of things and a few other subjects.

Stay tuned!

Prague, Czech Republic




esther dyson
Esther Dyson
  • Yang Jianzheng (China) 
  • Yann Gourvennec (France) : CEO and founder of Visionary Marketing.
  • Yoshi Hayakawa and Megumi Ohkubo (Japan) 
  • Zbyněk Loebl (Czech Republic) : CEO at Youstice.
  • Also for Youstice: Karina Ludz, Patric Illigen and Rado Bonk





Delegates who proposed the topics will introduce them briefly as an introduction to the discussion.


·         Terms and policies individuals assert.

·         The real Internet of Things.

·         Is it safe to buy from this retailer in that country? What should be considered?

·         The relationship between the collaborative economy’s focus on positive social impact and mutuality and how that creates untapped or under-tapped opportunities for ODR.

·         Implications for ODR of the many new services for online personal buying assistants (both automated and live) that we are seeing in e-commerce?


Vendor Relationship Management (VRM) Is The New CRM (Youstice)

VRM player Youstice 's Zbynek LoeblThe concept of vendor relationship management isn’t quite new. It’s been around for at least four years as far as I can remember from my earlier work on the subject at the end of 2010. At the outset, I must admit the concept was a little bit lost on me even though I could well imagine that something was brewing in the background. Okay! There CRM systems were somewhat one-way and the vendor – consumer relationship pattern was a little on the top-down side; so what!? One day, a Czech gentleman based in Slovakia gave me a ring and came to my Paris office in order to introduce the concept to me. And it all started to make sense. His angle was a lot more down to earth than what I’d heard on the subject before. Seen through the filter of online dispute resolution (ODR) management, I could well figure out that VRM naturally fits in the overall pattern of this inversion of the traditional relationship with customers, after the past six years of experiments and industrialisation of CRM and customer support on various social platforms (of which I have been an active player in the field). Here is my account of my brief encounter with Zbynēk Loebl, the founder of Youstice (aka “your justice”).

VRM is the new CRM

I think that the introduction of innovations like Youstice may well be a sign that things are moving forward in the right direction… And not only for the end customer I mean, but also for retailers who are concerned that their current level of support isn’t up to scratch and wish to do something about it before their reputation has to suffer from the current state of procrastination and before it’s too late. Here’s a video recording of my brief encounter with the founder of Youstice, Zbynēk Loebl.

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As shown in the above gallery made of screenshots taken from the demo site (which is mimicking an online shop equipped with the youstice plugin), the 3-step process is simple and straightforward (I have taken 12 screen dumps which cover the whole process), even though there may well be a few required adjustments in terms of process, brevity and wording. Anyway, one can easily picture what the solution is bringing in terms of renewal of the vendor-customer relationship.


Here’s the transcript of my interview with Youstice’s founder, Zbynēk Loebl.


What is Youstice?

Youstice is a service for retailers for customer dispute resolution. It is a new service that is globally available, simply because the Internet is no longer English-speaking or American for that matter; it is worldwide. With Youstice we have designed a communications system which enables customers and retailers to communicate very easily and to resolve their issues. And if they cannot their resolve their issues on the spot, customers can then escalate them through third party. These independent third party bodies can act as ombudsmen and help them settle the case on their behalf.

So typically a customer would go to a retailer’s website, would click on a particular button and that would lead to a plug-in which is sitting on the retailer’s website. And then, what happens?

When the customer clicks on that button, he then enters the Youstice environment. This customer will get a very simple form to fill-in, he can do that that by clicking on a couple of pictograms which relate to the issues which happened on the retailer’s website, and then he will then select the kind of resolution that he desires: product refund, price reduction etc. This is then transmitted, and then the retailer gets immediately a notification about that case and he can react. He is also presented with a very easy entry form, which he can fill in easily by clicking on a few pictograms as well and act on the issue. And then the negotiation takes place.

Case resolutions are a two-way process: first, a set of predefined responses which can be filled in by the retailers when they set up the system, and another process whereby cases can be escalated with an ODR. Can you describe what an ODR is all about?

ODR stands for Online Dispute Resolution. These are dispute resolution bodies which are either established institutions like arbitration courts attached to Chambers of commerce which just extended their services to encompass the online environment. Alternatively, they are innovative experts in online dispute resolution who have seized this opportunity fill in a gap in the market.

So your system is a vendor relationship management which can be used by consumers to settle their disputes isn’t it?

Indeed. Most people know CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems. CRM is mainly for retailers as it’s about sorting out data about customers: names, purchases etc. We have designed a system for consumers. This is different. We offer a supplement to standard CRM systems. In favour of consumers who can actually take the matter into their own hands

about Youstice: you have some very important advisors and well-known figureheads in your capital can you describe that?

We have Esther Dyson from the States for instance; she used to be the head of ICANN. And we’ve only just started. We started at the end of June 2014. We are glad to be here in Paris, because Paris is such an exciting market. I like Paris particularly, because it grabs everything new and we hope to be here again soon for further announcements.