Adblock Plus’ ad exchange runs into problems as ‘partners’ distance themselves

The controversial ad exchange launched by Adblock Plus yesterday has already run into trouble with mooted partners Google and AppNexus distancing themselves from the project.


Yesterday’s announcement that the world’s biggest ad-blocker would start serving ‘acceptable ads’ to users was met with distaste from many digital publishers angry that the company is effectively holding them to ransom with its software.

Adblock Plus has signed up with ComboTag to create the platform.

However, overnight the two companies named as exchange providers for the project both categorically denied they had signed on to be a part of it.

A Google spokesperson told Business Insider: “We were surprised by the announcement and learned of it when we were contacted by press. We have no involvement in their program and this is not a business we want to be part of. We are moving to terminate ComboTag’s AdX account.

“Ad-blocking is a symptom of bad ads online and that’s why we believe the industry needs to align around a standard—backed by data and insights from conversations with real consumers—for what constitutes a better ads experience online.”

AppNexus was similarly blunt in its description of the situation:

“We informed ComboTag this afternoon that they had no authorization to announce such a partnership, and that we are definitively refusing to make Acceptable Ads Platform available on AppNexus.

“AppNexus does not work with companies like Eyeo; we regard their business practices as fundamentally harmful to the ecosystem. Essentially, Eyeo, via its Adblock product, erects toll booths on a public road and siphons off advertising dollars that should be going directly to publishers. We hold that practice in low regard.

“ComboTag issued today’s announcement without our knowledge or authorization. The only AppNexus contact with whom they previewed details of the initiative was a junior support manager who is not authorized to sign off on it. When the story posted today, we promptly informed ComboTag that we would not allow Eyeo on our platform, even through the back door.”

Mumbrella has contacted Adblock Plus for clarification on this, but had not had a response at the time of publishing.

Below is Mumbrella’s audio interview with Adblock Plus’ Ben Williams:


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