Eyeo GmbH, the Germany-based provider of the market-leading ad blocking software AdBlock Plus, announced in a blog post it is launching an Acceptable Ads Platform (AAP) for publishers that will serve whitelisted ads to AdBlock Plus users. The project is being developed in conjunction with ad tech company ComboTag.
All ads must conform to AdBlock Plus’ acceptable ads criteria and will go through a review process by an independent board before being whitelisted. The platform also has a mechanism that asks AdBlock users to provide feedback on the ad experience.
- Publishers will be able to use the platform to sell ad space. While the Wall Street Journal initially reported that Google and AppNexus would sell inventory on AAP to advertisers through their online marketplaces, Google said this morning it was cutting ties with ComboTag and AppNexus is severing its relationship with Eyeo, according to Adweek.
After over a year in development, AdBlock Plus’ controversial Acceptable Ads Platform has moved into the beta phase, signaling a shift in priorities for a service that previously made great efforts to help its over 500 million users completely circumvent digital ads. Just last month, Adblock Plus figured out a workaround for Facebook’s new way of serving ads to ad blocking users, but those blank browser spaces might soon be bought out through the AAP’s real-time bidding system.
However, it's unclear if the initiative will gain any traction. Google and AppNexus' moves to renounce their relationships with ComboTag and Eyeo may effectively serve to blacklist AdBlock Plus' new Acceptable Ads Platform in the advertising community.
According to AdBlock Plus, the initiative comes as a “compromise between advertisers and users” — one that will potentially benefit small blog and websites that are often hurt most by the rise in ad blocking software downloads. The move positions AdBlock Plus as the gatekeeper for reaching ad blocking users and what constitutes good online advertising. But the effort may seem counterintuitive to AdBlock Plus users who adopted the service to block all ads, not get served with ones that the ad blocking company deems acceptable.
The initiative could help digital advertisers struggling to reach internet users in an online environment rife with bad advertising experiences. Ad blocking adoption continues to grow, with the IAB’s latest report from July finding that 26% of desktop users have adopted ad blocking software while 15% of mobile consumers have done the same. But for consumers conditioned to avoid all disruptions in their digital space, it might come as too little, too late.