Controversy and debate ensued following the official explanation of Adblock Plus’s “acceptable ads” program provided by creator Eyeo. The Acceptable Ads program consists of a workaround for publishers to qualify for its whitelist. Now the most popular ad block software in the world, Adblock Plus is standing to profit from the publishers it originally was designed to obstruct and experts from the media world are crying foul.
Publishers criticize the Acceptable Ads program
According to Eyeo, publishers that have more than 10M blocked ads can pay Adblock Plus 30% of its blocked ad revenue in order to make it onto its coveted whitelist. While the company assures that only an estimated 10% of its acceptable ad program members fall in this extreme category – and the rest can qualify for free – there are still strict standards that publishers must follow, and final approval (or dismissal) goes exclusively to Eyeo. Users and publishers alike are criticizing this move as defeating Adblock Plus’ purpose while risking punishing all publishers rather than the ones posting clunky and irritating ads.
Ad reinsertion helps publishers defeat Adblock Plus
Mark Bauman, CEO of elevated advertising agency MediaReps and leading ad block prevention tool ReviveAds, goes so far as to declare this revenue-for-whitelist exchange as extortion. A longtime veteran of the ad service industry, Bauman sees Eyeo’s controversial move as an unfair and unethical way to force publishers to pay big bucks in order to stay live online. Bauman’s ad reinsertion technology has helped hundreds of publishers reclaim revenues lost to adblocking.
“Adblock Plus has set a standard for popular ad block software and is arguably the most-used system among consumers around the world,” Bauman said. “It has a powerful and influential presence and, in my opinion, is taking unfair advantage of that power by implementing this acceptable ads program. Even if a publisher doesn’t fall into the 10M category, it still needs to comply with Eyeo’s other requirements and Eyeo – and only Eyeo – gets the final say over whether or not the publisher gets on the whitelist or is just left in the dust.
Disruption? Or destruction?
“With this move, Ad Block Plus seems to be intentionally seeking to destroy small businesses online,” Bauman continued. “In addition to the revenue they’ve already depleted from bloggers, e-stores, and mom-and-pop retail, they are now looking to make them ineligible to compete unless they do 10M in ads.”
Eyeo has reported that it is “laying the foundation” for an official committee to take over this powerful decision-making role, though the timeframe for its implementation is not clear. Members of this committee are slated to be independent members of the ad industry.
Meanwhile, discussion of ad blockers and improving the mobile ad experience was heated at last week’s Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, where representatives from Yahoo, Google, an ad block company, and more sparred over how to handle the current state of the mobile ad industry. The heated discussion took place during a panel dedicated to ad blocking and ad engagement and introduced valid, yet clashing points regarding this timely issue.