AdBlock Plus now selling "Acceptable Ads" via exchange

14/09/2016

Adblock Plus is now selling “acceptable” ads themselves, aimed at replacing intrusive ads with less annoying ones, it claims.


The move will see the ad filtering service introduce its own ad marketplace where web site owners and operators can choose “acceptable” ads and place them on their pages where the bad ads were.

When an Adblock Plus users visits their page, they’ll only see the “acceptable” ads and not the normal ones (but they will still see ads).

Users without an ad blocker installed will see the regular ads that the publisher has running on their site.

Till Faida, co-founder of Adblock Plus, said: “The Acceptable Ads Platform helps publishers who want to show an alternative, nonintrusive ad experience to users with ad blockers by providing them with a tool that lets them implement Acceptable Ads themselves.”

Adblock Plus will still block all non-compliant ads, and users can still turn off the Acceptable Ads feature completely if they choose.

“There are two ecosystems of online consumers out there right now: the one composed of people who block intrusive ads and the other where people do not. The Acceptable Ads Platform lets publishers reach the former group without changing anything about how they’re reaching the latter,” continued Faida. “We’ve been waiting years for the ad-tech industry to do something consumer-friendly like this, so finally we got tired of waiting and decided to just do it ourselves.”
Industry criticism

Publishers will get to keep 80% of all ad revenue from marketplace ads, with the remaining 20% being divided between various other parties involved with serving the ads. Adblock Plus will receive 6% of total revenue.

However, acceptable ads are likely to be less valuable than the ads a publisher could otherwise display, limiting what a website can earn.

Also, by setting up its own marketplace, Adblock Plus continues to position itself as a gatekeeper charging a toll to publisher to get through a gate of its own making.

"Going full circle"

Commenting on the move, IAB UK's CEO Guy Phillipson, said: "Adblock Plus, who spent years as the consumer champion squashing adverts - now sell ads!

"We see the cynical move from Adblock Plus as a new string in their racket. Now they're saying to publishers "we took away some of your customers who didn't want ads, and now we are selling them back to you on commission".

"The fact is, in the UK ad blocking has stalled. It's been stuck at 21% throughout 2016 because the premium publishers who own great content, and provide a good ad experience, hold all the cards. More and more of them are offering ad blocking consumers a clear choice: turn off your ad blocking software or no access to our content. And their strategy is working, with 25% to 40% turning off their blockers.

"So with their original business model running out of steam, Adblock Plus have gone full circle to get into the ad sales business."

The ad marketplace has launched in beta today and will launch in full later this year. Adblock Plus is also working toward setting up a committee of publishers, privacy advocates, and advertisers to figure out the future of what its Acceptable Ad guidelines should look like.

Read more about the new Ad Block marketplace here

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