The Googler in the Trenches of the Ad-Blocking War

Scott Spencer isn’t a recognizable name in the consumer tech industry, but he’s one of the executives most likely to shape the future of advertising across the web.

The veteran Googler is dead center in the battle between publishers and website visitors over ad blocking. Millions of people are using ad-blocking software, a response to the rise of increasingly intrusive and sometimes malicious ads. That’s bad both for websites that sell ads and for Google, which brokers their sale.

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“AMP is Google making the publishers eat green vegetables by giving them technology that is better for them in the long run. And Google has the power to make them do it,” said Craig Calder, a former DoubleClick director who worked with Mr. Spencer in the mid-2000s.

—Amir Efrati contributed to this article.

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At Google, Mr. Spencer quickly became the resident expert on the exchange and was sometimes referred to as “the godfather.”