World’s biggest ad-blocker launches exchange for ‘acceptable ads’

The world’s most-used adblocker Adblock Plus has made the step towards becoming an ad server itself, launching an exchange which will display only ‘acceptable ads’ to people using its platform.adblock-plus-ad-platform

The idea behind the Acceptable Ads platform is it will show only whitelisted ads – ads that conform to certain technical specifications – to users of the platform in the space where regular advertising would normally appear.

The move is in contrast to Adblock Plus’ stated intentions earlier this year, when Mumbrella interviewed Ben Williams at SXSW and asked him whether he could forsee a time when adblockers would start serving ads to their customers.

He said: “I don’t think it will go so far as becoming an ad network. AdBlock a couple of years ago had a great April Fools joke where they replaced all the ads with cats. And I think if they ever started doing that en masse users would run away in droves. You’ve got to continue to deliver on your USP and then if you occasionally like to joke around or do something for a good cause that is serious I think people will understand that.”

Hear Mumbrella editor Alex Hayes’ conversation with Ben Williams here…

It is unclear what terms Adblock Plus’ new Acceptable Ads platform will offer to publishers or how much it intends to charge for its inventory to marketers.

In a blog post on the Adblock Plus website its head of communications, Ben Williams, writes that the new move will “help small websites” in particular.


He wrote: “Looking ahead, the chief improvements the AAP will offer are its feedback mechanism, the way that mechanism will turn real-time bidding (RTB) on its head and how the AAP will especially be a boon to small blogs and medium-sized publishers.”

The announcement is likely to anger some publishers, marketers and, in particular, rival ad exchanges who have questioned the right of adblockers to interfere with their commercial rights. Comments on a blog post from Adblock Plus this morning suggest it will also anger some users.

Conversely the technology could also give marketers an avenue to reach people who have far less exposure to advertising because they use adblocking technology, many of who fall into attractive advertising demographics. It will also open up a channel to monetise visits from people using adblockers for publishers which were not previously available.

Questions about whether adblockers could move into ad-serving territory emerged earlier this year after Colenso BBDO’s collaboration with another platform called AdBlock, serving up Amnesty International ads in place of blocked ads to users of that platform. 

Adblock Plus’ parent company Eyeo has been subject of several lawsuits in its home country of Germany over its platform, but has yet to lose a court case on the issue.


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