Google to stop publishers detecting traffic from ‘Incognito Mode’

2 July 2019


From July 30th Google are going to prevent publishers from detecting if a user visits their website via ‘incognito’ mode with the introduction of Chrome 76.
This is significant because many publishers currently block traffic that comes via ‘incognito mode’ as they presume they are only using this method to bypass a paywall. Once this change is implemented it means a lot more users could potentially bypass paywalls, resulting in publishers missing out on vital digital subscription revenue.
Publishers such as Dallas Morning News and Boston Globe currently employ this method to capture or block that segment of traffic.
This change will mainly affect those with a metered paywall as visiting a website repeatedly from incognito mode essentially ‘resets’ the meter. Publishers that adopt a hard paywall won’t be affected so it will be interesting to see if some publishers will actually change their subscription strategy following Google’s change.
Google Chrome is the most popular interest browser with a market share of 69% so this change will undoubtedly have an effect.