Friday, 02 October 2015 09:15

AdBlock joins Acceptable Ads

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The AdBlock ad blocker now supports the Acceptable Ads whitelist.

Recent changes to iOS have drawn fresh attention to ad blockers. On one hand, many web sites - including iTWire - rely on advertising to pay the bills.

On the other, a seemingly growing proportion of users have come to the conclusion that web advertising is too intrusive and consumes too much of the resources they pay for, so they have turned to ad blockers to filter out these annoyances.

As author and entrepreneur Seth Godin put it, "advertisers have had fifteen years to show self restraint. They've had the chance to not secretly track people, set cookies for their own benefit, insert popunders and popovers and poparounds, and mostly, deliver us ads we actually want to see."

By and large they didn't take that chance, and so "on the web, more and more people have come to believe that the deal [free content in exchange for attention] doesn't work, and so they're unilaterally abrogating it. They don't miss the ads, and they don't miss the snooping of their data."

The trouble is, that punishes advertisers that tried to do the right thing with 'polite' ads that don't get in the way, don't track, don't consume excessive amounts of CPU cycles with badly-written Flash animations, and so on.

Some time ago, the developer of Adblock Plus implemented the idea of 'Acceptable Ads'. The full requirements can be seen here, but they basically call for clearly identified, static, text-only ads that are placed above, below or to the side of content.

The process was funded by charging large sites that wanted to be whitelisted because they only carry complying ads, but it wasn't simply a matter of paying to be whitelisted. The ads had to meet the criteria whether or not payment was involved, and there was a community review process.

Eyeo, the company behind AdBlock Plus, has now decided to remove itself from the process of deciding whether ads meet the criteria and has invited "a completely independent review board" to take over Acceptable Ads.

Consequently, the developer of AdBlock has decided to participate in Acceptable Ads and so complying ads are now by default allowed through AdBlock. Users can change this setting to block all ads if they wish. The company that owns AdBlock is being sold, and the buyer is keeping the Acceptable Ads feature.

Eyeo said it will financially assist developers of ad blocking software that want to integrate Acceptable Ads with their products.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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