Adblock Plus parent unveils independent Acceptable Ads Committee

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that consumers would lose a measure of control over the delegation of which ads are "acceptable" with AdBlock plus, when, in fact, the public vetting forums will stay the same, with management handing over responsibilities. The story has been corrected to reflect these facts.

Dive Brief:

  • Eyeo, parent company of the ad blocking software Adblock Plus, announced the first members of its independent Acceptable Ads Committee (AAC) in a press release. An ordinary user will be one of the 11 committee members to represent the consumer view of the online ad industry.
  • The group will oversee the Acceptable Ads program started in 2011 by eyeo, which allowed some ads to pass through Adblock Plus's technology if they met certain acceptability criteria for users that opted-in to the program. The AAC will now take authority over the program's criteria for what constitutes an "acceptable" ad.
  • The committee’s seats come from three groups: for-profit coalition, expert coalition and user advocate coalition. For-profit members include Dell, Rocket Fuel, M&C Saatchi Mobile and Condé Nast; expert members are J. Walter Thompson Worldwide's Jay Morgan group, Bloor Research International Ltd. and UC Web; and the user advocate coalition only currently features one member, Fight for the Future. 

Dive Insight:

The whole idea of AdBlock Plus' "acceptable" ads program is interesting, allowing regular users — albeit volunteers — to delegate which ads bypassed the blocking software. Low-quality ads that are intrusive more than anything are one of the main reasons ad blocking technology is adopted in the first place, so giving consumers a bigger say in what gets displayed ideally highlighted the types of spots that actually engaged audiences.

The AAC, while still granting control to ordinary AdBlock customers, arrives as a "compromise," per the release, and puts more of the quality control in the hands of independent, third-party professionals. 

"The AAC will take over management of the Acceptable Ads criteria and the rules for whitelisting that Adblock PlusAdBlockAdblock Browser and Crystal all abide by to offer users the ability to block unwanted ads while allowing through better, more respectful ones for those users who choose to view ads," the release states. "While eyeo is facilitating the recruitment of the members constituting the initial AAC, the various member groups represented on the committee itself will seat future committees."

The most interesting member of the committee will be the ordinary user, set to be assigned at the end of a recruitment process over social media that starts on March 15. That member will have an equal part in the committee's decision-making process alongside industry professionals such as publishers, ad tech firms, agencies, digital rights organizations and researchers, and might provide them more insights into what works in digital advertising. 

Filed Under: Corporate News
Top image credit: Getty Images