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AdBlock to Sell and Whitelist 'Acceptable' Ads

A new platform will whitelist pre-approved ads, boosting AdBlock's revenue.
AdBlock to Sell and Whitelist 'Acceptable' Ads
Image credit: AdBlock

A new, "less extreme" version of AdBlock Plus will let some internet advertisements -- those approved by the company itself -- through its filters.

That's right: AdBlock, which bills itself as the most-downloaded ad blocking browser plugin, is getting into the ad business. It has combined forces with a German advertising platform to create the "Acceptable Ads" platform, which allows ads that abide by certain user-generated criteria to be whitelisted.


In order to comply, ads can't disrupt the normal reading flow of a site -- that is, they can't be placed in the middle of the web page. They also have to be labeled at all times, and can only contain text or static images.

Eyeo, the company behind Adblock Plus, said that approving and displaying the ads will help boost its revenue and those of the web sites who opt in to the platform. The largest ad publishers will pay a fee to display the ads meeting AdBlock's criteria, though the vast majority of publishers -- around 90 percent -- are small enough that Eyeo will offer them access to the platform for free.

"The Acceptable Ads Platform helps publishers who want to show an alternative, nonintrusive ad experience to users with ad blockers by providing them with a tool that lets them implement Acceptable Ads themselves," Adblock Plus co-founder Till Faida said in a statement.

According to the company's research, 75 percent of AdBlock users are OK with seeing some ads as a way to support the sites they visit, as long as the ads aren't intrusive. So as to not upset the 25 percent of users who don't want to see any ads, the plugin will offer an option to disable the Acceptable Ads platform.

Eyeo's experiment is similar to offerings from other advertising and widget blockers like Ghostery, which gives users the ability to fine-tune which content they'd like to whitelist. Ghostery sells its aggregate blocking data to website owners and ad publishing networks as a way to monitor the performance of their sites and ads.

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