AdBlock Plus

AdBlock Plus Gets in the Ad ServiceAdBlock Plus has recently caused a wave of controversy due to its recent partnership with ComboTag and the release of the Acceptable Ads (AA) platform. It all seems downright confusing–maybe even ironic.

AdBlock Plus is one of the industry leaders in browser extension ad blockers that hurt many businesses in regards to their paid media campaigns.

Its recent beta will now streamline the process of whitelisting ads it deems appropriate for users. Ad Block Plus will now allow ads to be displayed for users who use the ad block service.

AdBlock Plus spokesman Ben Williams says that AdBlock Plus “can take ads from an exchange, check their compliance with the Acceptable Ads criteria, and offer publishers a real-time drag-and-drop editor to put these ads on their sites.”

What used to be a 10-day process, which was handled by people, will now only take seconds for the whitelisting process to take place. While AdBlock Plus maintains they are not in the business of selling advertisements, they will still offer a fee for large entities that increase ad impressions by 10 million or more a month once they reach AdBlock Plus users.

Many publishers have condemned AdBlock for years and its AA platform as a protection racket. Many contend that they essence are making themselves the gatekeepers of ad information, which publishers before had control over.

While publishers still get to choose which ads they will include on their website, the ads they choose that will reach AdBlock Plus users will be picked from a list chosen from seemingly arbitrary requirements.

AdBlock Plus maintains this is a technical achievement meant to revolutionize the traditional RTB ad auction process and will instead place users with ads that are based on user feedback itself. The whitelisted ads are not supposed to infringe on the natural reading flow of a user and will not include animations or excessively large spaces.

This is not exactly a win for advertisers either. Ad blocker software has been a thorn in the advertisement business side for many years and their recent alteration of the traditional RTB process enforces this notion. Still, it’s better to reach Adblock users than to not, so there is a bit of an upside for advertisers in this move.  AdBlock Plus’s AA platform will also conform to Google’s search engine standards.

AdBlock Plus’s business model only holds up if users accept this change. In light of the announcement, the Google AdBlock Plus was flooded with a wave of 1 and 2 star ratings. There are numerous other ad block extensions out there and it’s hard to see why users would stick with one that does not block all advertisements. Many users responded to social media stating their outrage and while the move by AdBlock Plus to include advertisements began in 2011, it’s certainly catching a media storm of hate right now.

We may also see a similar scenario that occurred in Britain where many websites flat out refused to show content to users who had an ad block software installed. While the move may seem to be a technical achievement, it seems like a story of a company who lost sight of why they created their business in the first place.