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Google, Among Others, May Have Paid off Adblock Plus to Not Block its Ads

By - Source: The Verge | B 44 comments

Adblock Plus accepts payment to "whitelist" certain ads.

It's a little bit difficult for companies to profit off of online advertising these days, especially when most Internet-savvy users are using services like Adblock to remove unwanted ads.

According to German site Horizont, companies may be getting around this by paying off Adblock Plus. Among these offending companies is tech giant Google, presumably to give its Google Ad service more user penetration.

Horizont didn't provide details of how much Google is paying Eyeo, the company that runs Adblock or the names of any other company that's also been added to Adblock's whitelist.

Eyeo's maintained a policy of allowing certain ads from smaller companies be added to its whitelist for free, while charging larger companies for similar treatment. "Whitelisting is free for all small websites and blogs," states the Adblock FAQ. "However, managing this list requires significant effort on our side and this task cannot be completely taken over by volunteers as it happens with common filter lists. That’s why we are being paid by some larger properties that serve nonintrusive advertisements that want to participate in the Acceptable Ads initiative."

For a company that aims to have an open source project to block online advertising, charging companies to be whitelisted seems to be a huge conflict of interest.

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    jshat , July 6, 2013 3:05 PM
    Seems no one at Toms knows how to use ABP, these "acceptable" ads can be turned off in the options. Guessing this is a push to get users to turn off ad blocking on your site(then again maybe not). Actually I'm pretty sure during install it asks you specifically if you want to allow non intrusive advertising, been this way for a loooong while now.
  • 11 Hide
    Camikazi , July 6, 2013 3:26 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Seems no one at Toms knows how to use ABP, these "acceptable" ads can be turned off in the options. Guessing this is a push to get users to turn off ad blocking on your site.


    Well, consider this... I just took a look at adblock plus on what I assume is their official website (adblockplus.org) and I saw these claims made...

    "Blocks banners, pop-ups and video ads - even on Facebook and YouTube
    Protects your online privacy
    "

    It does NOT at any point say "except from google and other companies willing to pay us money to not be blocked."

    Having to go through a bunch of extra options to have adblock perform its primary role, without being quite obviously forewarned that one would have to do this, seems to be a bit sketchy.


    On the Features page (not hidden and is the second point on that page)

    Acceptable Ads

    Adblock Plus will always block annoying ads.
    Still, many websites rely on advertising revenues so we want to encourage websites to use plain and unobtrusive advertising instead of flashy banners. That's why the Adblock Plus community has established strict guidelines to identify acceptable ads, and Adblock Plus allows these out of the box. You can always disable this feature if you want to block all ads.

    If you do not think enough to check out the features page of an addon or program then the fault is yours and no one elses. Don't go demonizing something when it tells you upfront and in big letters what it does, you messed up if you missed it.
Other Comments
  • 13 Hide
    jshat , July 6, 2013 3:05 PM
    Seems no one at Toms knows how to use ABP, these "acceptable" ads can be turned off in the options. Guessing this is a push to get users to turn off ad blocking on your site(then again maybe not). Actually I'm pretty sure during install it asks you specifically if you want to allow non intrusive advertising, been this way for a loooong while now.
  • 4 Hide
    irish_adam , July 6, 2013 3:10 PM
    All this will do is drive users to another service.

    Whats the point of an adblocker that allows ads? surely thats the conflict of interest
  • -4 Hide
    stevejnb , July 6, 2013 3:16 PM
    Quote:
    Seems no one at Toms knows how to use ABP, these "acceptable" ads can be turned off in the options. Guessing this is a push to get users to turn off ad blocking on your site.


    Well, consider this... I just took a look at adblock plus on what I assume is their official website (adblockplus.org) and I saw these claims made...

    "Blocks banners, pop-ups and video ads - even on Facebook and YouTube
    Protects your online privacy
    "

    It does NOT at any point say "except from google and other companies willing to pay us money to not be blocked."

    Having to go through a bunch of extra options to have adblock perform its primary role, without being quite obviously forewarned that one would have to do this, seems to be a bit sketchy.
  • 11 Hide
    Camikazi , July 6, 2013 3:26 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Seems no one at Toms knows how to use ABP, these "acceptable" ads can be turned off in the options. Guessing this is a push to get users to turn off ad blocking on your site.


    Well, consider this... I just took a look at adblock plus on what I assume is their official website (adblockplus.org) and I saw these claims made...

    "Blocks banners, pop-ups and video ads - even on Facebook and YouTube
    Protects your online privacy
    "

    It does NOT at any point say "except from google and other companies willing to pay us money to not be blocked."

    Having to go through a bunch of extra options to have adblock perform its primary role, without being quite obviously forewarned that one would have to do this, seems to be a bit sketchy.


    On the Features page (not hidden and is the second point on that page)

    Acceptable Ads

    Adblock Plus will always block annoying ads.
    Still, many websites rely on advertising revenues so we want to encourage websites to use plain and unobtrusive advertising instead of flashy banners. That's why the Adblock Plus community has established strict guidelines to identify acceptable ads, and Adblock Plus allows these out of the box. You can always disable this feature if you want to block all ads.

    If you do not think enough to check out the features page of an addon or program then the fault is yours and no one elses. Don't go demonizing something when it tells you upfront and in big letters what it does, you messed up if you missed it.
  • -2 Hide
    Unolocogringo , July 6, 2013 3:31 PM
    I have found a compromise.
    Turn off flash, which most adds are .Then install Abine tracking blocker.
    The websites still get ad revenue from static ads and you block all tracking cookies.
  • -4 Hide
    stevejnb , July 6, 2013 3:36 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Seems no one at Toms knows how to use ABP, these "acceptable" ads can be turned off in the options. Guessing this is a push to get users to turn off ad blocking on your site.


    Well, consider this... I just took a look at adblock plus on what I assume is their official website (adblockplus.org) and I saw these claims made...

    "Blocks banners, pop-ups and video ads - even on Facebook and YouTube
    Protects your online privacy
    "

    It does NOT at any point say "except from google and other companies willing to pay us money to not be blocked."

    Having to go through a bunch of extra options to have adblock perform its primary role, without being quite obviously forewarned that one would have to do this, seems to be a bit sketchy.


    On the Features page (not hidden and is the second point on that page)

    Acceptable Ads

    Adblock Plus will always block annoying ads.
    Still, many websites rely on advertising revenues so we want to encourage websites to use plain and unobtrusive advertising instead of flashy banners. That's why the Adblock Plus community has established strict guidelines to identify acceptable ads, and Adblock Plus allows these out of the box. You can always disable this feature if you want to block all ads.

    If you do not think enough to check out the features page of an addon or program then the fault is yours and no one elses. Don't go demonizing something when it tells you upfront and in big letters what it does, you messed up if you missed it.


    You basically just posted me a big wad of BS and tried to blame the end user for "not thinking enough to check out the features page."

    Let's see what that said:

    "we want to encourage websites to use plain and unobtrusive advertising instead of flashy banners. That's why the Adblock Plus community has established strict guidelines to identify acceptable ads,"

    Let's see... Do a good number of google ads use flashy banners and tend to be quite obtrusive? Yes. Is the whole article in question focusing on google paying this company to get by their ad blocking? Yes. What are those "strict guidelines" then? Strictly how much the advertising company is willing to pay?

    I don't know if you work for adblock or something, but I've noticed a lot of garish, distracting advertisements slip through it in the past six months or so, and now it comes out that they're being paid to let ads go through... You really want to blame the end user for thinking that "strict guidelines" which were supposed to stop "flashy banners" are code phrases for "we'll let anyone put ads through our service if they pay us enough"?

  • 1 Hide
    bison88 , July 6, 2013 3:53 PM
    Remove the click-anywhere-on-the-page-new-tab-ad and the in-text ads then we can talk about not using AdBlock to support sites. Maybe even those auto-flash movies which are bandwidth wasters.

    AdBlockers were only useful for certain types of ads on a site and back in the day I never tried to block them all, only the worst of the worst (like pop up ads), but commercial sites that depend solely on ads took things to the absurd level. Work a business model so that you don't become entirely dependent on ads to make a profit. Some of these sites, tech news sites are no different, are unrecognizable w/o AdBlocking software.

    Web admins brought this on themselves over the course of the past 13 years.
  • 3 Hide
    __-_-_-__ , July 6, 2013 4:19 PM
    addblock + flashblock + noscript + cookiesafe = win
  • 3 Hide
    codo , July 6, 2013 4:35 PM
    Dont feel so bad about continuously denying donations now
  • 6 Hide
    Camikazi , July 6, 2013 4:57 PM
    Quote:

    You basically just posted me a big wad of BS and tried to blame the end user for "not thinking enough to check out the features page."

    Let's see what that said:

    "we want to encourage websites to use plain and unobtrusive advertising instead of flashy banners. That's why the Adblock Plus community has established strict guidelines to identify acceptable ads,"

    Let's see... Do a good number of google ads use flashy banners and tend to be quite obtrusive? Yes. Is the whole article in question focusing on google paying this company to get by their ad blocking? Yes. What are those "strict guidelines" then? Strictly how much the advertising company is willing to pay?

    I don't know if you work for adblock or something, but I've noticed a lot of garish, distracting advertisements slip through it in the past six months or so, and now it comes out that they're being paid to let ads go through... You really want to blame the end user for thinking that "strict guidelines" which were supposed to stop "flashy banners" are code phrases for "we'll let anyone put ads through our service if they pay us enough"?


    No, I don't work for them and I have not noticed any flashy ads getting through at all but I do check the features and read up on any program I install. I have flamed and gone against programs that do things behind the users backs but one thing I don't do is blame the programmers for doing something they TOLD YOU they were doing from the beginning and were being right up front about. BTW, yes I do blame customers when they bitch about something that was right in front of them the entire time.
  • 5 Hide
    diplomacy42 , July 6, 2013 5:05 PM
    personally, I run ABP because I'm forced to. not running it leaves you vulnerable to security exploits(in addition to fits of banner-induced-epilepsy and computer sex-banner-tourettes(on kids sites for gosh sakes), so sorry to anyone who relies on ad revenue.

    in fact, before ABP, I even clicked ads every once in a while, but no more.

    that said, if you can't use ABP well enough to A) turn off the "feature," B) blacklist the stuff that still gets through or C) download a second filter list, well then that makes you hopeless.

    I'm Glad ABP got some cash for being the number 1 add on in the world. you deserve it.
  • 3 Hide
    jonathan1683 , July 6, 2013 5:22 PM
    I use it and never noticed any difference, but then I guess google ads are not that bad and I don't mind supporting websites.
  • 3 Hide
    DRosencraft , July 6, 2013 6:14 PM
    Yeah, I've never used ABP, and haven't had a need to. It's easy enough to just not click on ads, or ignore them. If it's a problem for you then all the power to you for finding a solution, but it seems to be a lot of fuss over not that big a deal.
  • 0 Hide
    grumpigeek , July 6, 2013 6:14 PM
    I just looked at the non-obtrusive advertising list and 3/4 of it is google stuff.

    The problem with Adblock's so-called non-intrusive advertising list is that it is letting through intrusive slide-in banners. I wondered why these annoying ads were showing up.

    I am going to have to untick the "allow some non-intrusive advertising box".
  • 2 Hide
    razor512 , July 6, 2013 8:16 PM
    for sites that I like, I always unblock ads to support them, though I will block annoying ones regardess of the site.

    For example, expect your ads to be blocked if you do some stupid, retarded, ignorant moronic crap like popup ads that act like landmines if you mistakenly touch the wrong word with your mouse.

    Or worst having random flash animations or ads that play audio.

    Other than that, ad companies need to improve their ads and better vet them.

    I will not buy anything from a shady ad. and anyone who has been on the internet longer than a billionth of a nanosecond, will notice that what ends up in your spam folder is the same crap that ends up in banner ads.

    With all the tracking they do, you would think they would be able to provide useful ads.

    eg, if I am searching for some liquid coolers that are compatible with socket AM3, then
    show me ads for liquid cooling systems. I am trying to buy some. Showing me an ad about sneakers or some herbal supplements is not something that I am in the mood for buying, and showing me is only pissing me off and wasting both the servers bandwidth, and my bandwidth, which I assure you, is far more limited than what the server has.

  • -8 Hide
    IndignantSkeptic , July 6, 2013 8:47 PM
    I can't see how it is legitimate for a business to make a program that blocks ads.
  • 1 Hide
    Benihana , July 6, 2013 9:14 PM
    "For a company that aims to have an open source project to block online advertising, charging companies to be whitelisted seems to be a huge conflict of interest."

    They could just block everything I suppose, without a whitelist. Then you'd have all the big companies working to circumvent and/or prevent ad-blocking. Lots of powerful players for one open-source group to go against.

    Or allow everybody to put stuff on the whitelist for free without charging a cent. But that list isn't going to maintain itself for free.

    Or just let the big dogs feel like their still getting their monthly ad-revenue from users who wish to allow "acceptable" ads, and let users retain the option to completely block all advertising. Win-win-win.
  • 1 Hide
    bryonhowley , July 6, 2013 10:10 PM
    The first thing I do after installing Ad Block Plus is uncheck Allow some non-intrusive advertising. That takes care of what ad's would be allowed though. I have not seen a ad in years on any of my rigs.
  • 1 Hide
    SirGCal , July 6, 2013 10:46 PM
    You can easily see the list. It's a url, nothing more complicated then that. Tons of google stuff for sure:

    https://easylist-downloads.adblockplus.org/exceptionrules.txt

    But ya, I just turn all that junk off. If they did somehow force it on, I'd switch to a new blocker.
  • 1 Hide
    voiidwulf , July 7, 2013 12:07 AM
    I don't mind if there are little ads or text ads. I just hate massive animated banners and stuff.
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