Eyeo, the parent company of Adblock Plus–an ad-blocking tool that removes pesky banner ads, pop-ups, and video advertising and is available today for iOS devices–has opted to allow an external board to determine which ads are “acceptable” and can pass through Adblock Plus filters.
The decision comes barely a day after German publisher Axel Springer, which just closed a deal to acquire Business Insider, lost a case to Eyeo in which it argued that ad blocking should be illegal. One of the allegations Axel Springer brought against Eyeo was that its “acceptable ads” program was unfairly authorizing ads from certain companies, some of which had paid Eyeo, to bypass the Adblock Plus filters.
Adblock Plus currently lifts its filter for advertising from about 700 companies, according to the Wall Street Journal; these are ads that Eyeo has determined meet its “acceptable ads” guidelines and do not significantly impede the user experience. But Eyeo is being compensated by a portion of these companies: approximately 70 firms, including Google and Microsoft, pay Eyeo for the inclusion of their ads.
Allowing an independent board to review and choose acceptable ads should make the playing field fairer for advertisers. An Eyeo spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that the board will be comprised of representatives from media brands, online publishers, advertising agencies, and consumers. The board will also be given the flexibility to tweak the existing criteria for acceptable ads.
“Users determined the original criteria and can object in our forum to whitelisting proposals, but since we were the only ad blocker to offer such a compromise we have taken on a large role in the day-to-day maintenance of the criteria,” Adblock Plus cofounder Till Faida said in a statement. “We have been looking for a way to make the Acceptable Ads program completely independent while also updating the criteria to evolve with changing forms of online advertising. An independent board solves both issues.”
Adblock Plus is the most popular ad blocker in the world, with more than 50 million active users; that number is sure to increase now that Adblock Plus is available on iOS devices. The impact of ad-blocking software has been a hot-button issue of late, in large part because Apple’s new mobile operation system, iOS 9, supports ad blockers.
[via The Guardian]