Adblock Plus sells ads?

Ba dum tss. The most famous ad blocker in the world is now running its own ad network.

For those who are now puzzled (just like us), let us tell you more.

What happened

Acceptable Ads program has already been there for a while. And basically even then it was quite controversial. The initiative was embodied in certain criteria of "acceptability" of ads. If any advertising complies with them, it can be added to a special whitelist of "acceptable ads". The owner of a website could appeal to Adblock Plus with the request for the inclusion to the whitelist. Small sites got there for free, large companies should have paid a fee.

And recently Adblock Plus has launched an Acceptable Ads Platform, dramatically changing the approach itself. Now it is a real advertising network designed to show "acceptable" ads.

How it works

Anyone can use the code of the Acceptable Ads advertising network on his or her website. In this case, Adblock Plus users will see "acceptable" ads and other users will continue to see "unacceptable" ones.

Eyeo believes that this is an attempt to please both users and website owners. Sites will be able to continue to earn on advertising, users will get less annoying ads.

What we think

We believe that this new initiative is a big mistake, which may cause serious consequences for the entire online advertising market.

First, we do not think that one company can combine two such different roles. Ad blockers are designed to protect the rights of users and "balance" the development of ad technologies. Turning Eyeo into an ad company is a direct conflict of interest.

Second, though all its contradictions, the original idea of "acceptable ads" initiative had a positive side. To ensure its way into the whitelist, all ads should have satisfied a set of criteria of "acceptability". Without any separation for users. Thus, Eyeo could have claimed that they change the whole advertising market and try to connect users more with the industry. Now, this argument does not work anymore.

Third, Adblock Plus is a leader in the field of ad-blocking, no matter what. And such actions of theirs cast a shadow on all of us.

And finally. Perhaps with this novelty Eyeo has opened the Pandora's box. Just think about it, who will prevent Google from blocking ads of competitors in their browser because of, well, "unacceptability"? Who can forbid Apple to make criteria of "acceptability" for iOS-advertising, one of which will be a mandatory half-eaten apple in the logo? Let's leave this question unanswered.

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Andrey Meshkov

Co-founder and CTO of AdGuard.

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