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What’s the point of AdBlock Plus if Google, Microsoft and Amazon can pay to bypass it?

by on February 3, 2015 in Apps & Software, FaceBook, Google, Latest News, Lead Article

Ads are pretty much universally hated; in the list of lovable things in the world, ads rank pretty far down. On TV, in movie theaters, in magazines and online, ads are forced upon us and are impossible to avoid. Except that’s not true online. Ad-blocking software can be used to filter out the stuff you don’t want to see, making for a happier web browsing experience.

But it turns out that installing an ad-blocking tool like, ooh… I dunno… AdBlock Plus… is not enough to prevent the appearance of unwanted advertisements. Some time ago we learned about the whitelist operated by AdBlock Plus and now the Financial Times reports that that big companies like Google, Microsoft and Amazon have paid to be included on the list so their ads are no longer blocked.

Back in 2013, we learned that advertisers could apply to be included on the whitelist. Just 9.5 percent of those who applied were actually added to the list, and Adblock Plus’ Ben Williams explained that “over 90 percent get whitelisted for free”. But what about the remainder?

Here is another viewpoint ….Internet giants Google, Amazon, Microsoft have been shaken down for an undisclosed amount of cash by AdBlock Plus, the world’s most popular adblock service. In exchange for a “fee”, AdBlock Plus will stop blocking adverts on their websites. With the ability to decide what adverts its 300 million users do or do not see, Eyeo, the owners of Adblock Plus have found themselves in the unusual position of being able to dictate terms to the likes of Google who depend on advertising for revenue.

Eyeo operates a “whitelist” of acceptable adverts that it doesn’t block. While joining the list is free for small websites, large companies are required to pay a “fee” to keep their advert revenue streams protected. While the amount Google, Amazon and Microsoft coughed up is unknown, one digital media company told the Financial Times that Eyeo had asked for  equivalent to 30% ……..


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