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Adblock Plus Comes (Somewhat) Clean About How Acceptable Ads Work ( 218

Mark Wilson writes: The Acceptable Ads program from Adblock Plus has proven slightly controversial. The company behind the ad blocking tool, Eyeo, has already revealed a little about how it makes money from the program - despite the fact that no money changes hands in most whitelisting cases - and today it has opened up further about how is makes its money.

Whilst recognizing that people do want to block ads, Eyeo is also aware that sites do need to benefit from ad revenue - hence Acceptable Ads, non-intrusive ads that it is hoped are less irritating and therefore easier to stomach. But Eyeo itself also wants to make money. How does it decide which company to charge to Acceptable Ads whitelisting, and which to charge? If you're expecting full transparency, you might be disappointed, but we are given a glimpse into how the financial side of things works.

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Adblock Plus Comes (Somewhat) Clean About How Acceptable Ads Work

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  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @01:04AM (#51589483)
    It's colored differently and has an 'ad' flag.... At any rate the "Acceptable Ad" thing just sounds too much like the kind of stuff Yelp is accused of, which sounds like what the Mafioso used to do... I know it's popular to hate on advertisers but I'm kinda with them on this. You know. Nice web site ya got heres. Be a shame if anything happened to it...
    • I know it's popular to hate on advertisers but I'm kinda with them on this. You know. Nice web site ya got heres. Be a shame if anything happened to it...

      That's why a lot of people, myself included, don't use ABP. Their business model will collapse when they lose market share, no one will pay them to whitelist an ad for 25% of people using ad blockers.

  • Not interested. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG ( 946591 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @01:04AM (#51589485)

    Let's chat about this after ad revenue has dropped far enough for the advertising networks to fully understand how much our satisfaction is a factor in their success.

    • Erm... Wasn't expecting to get modded down, curious as to why?

      • A mod of -1 Overrated can generally be translated into "I disagree with what you're saying and wish to silence you like the little dictator I wish I could be in real life." So, either someone who works in the online advertising industry or who earns money thanks to online advertising, most likely.

        Or someone is jealous of your butt-licking savvy. It's tough to call.

        • So, either someone who works in the online advertising industry or who earns money thanks to online advertising, most likely.

          If it's the latter then I'd really love to have a chat with that individual. Not hearing what I have to say is dangerous to his livelihood.

          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            If it's the latter then I'd really love to have a chat with that individual. Not hearing what I have to say is dangerous to his livelihood.

            Good luck on that. People who have a stick up their ass and mod stuff down because it hurts their feelings, or because of xyz ideological reasons generally refuse to comment on stuff.

      • I think Noah Haders must not be the only one who has an issue with you. The response to him got modded off-topic so I think you pissed some people off somewhere along the line.

      • Could just be that someone goofed in selecting a mod reason. I've done that a couple of times; under vs overated for example. Once done you can't undo. Don't take it so personal.
        • by KGIII ( 973947 )

          Just an FYI. If you post in the thread, after making a bad mod, it removes that mod. It also removes all the other mods you've made in that thread but it's possible to at least correct a mistaken mod. It's also important to note that it *only* sacrifices the mods you made in that thread. So, if you ever make an error, you can always opt to submit a reply anywhere in the thread and it will undo the moderation.

          • Yea, but you know, fuck 'em. :)
            • by KGIII ( 973947 )

              I like your style. Me? I don't get 'em often but I kind of like it when I get down-mods. Sometimes it was, indeed, me being a dick intentionally. Other times, it's usually something that they're just too pissed off to accept. The ego is a frail thing. If I get a down-mod on an otherwise normal comment, I'm not displeased - it means I left an impression. That means that I've impressed them and that's a good thing - even if they believe it's an impression that they'd rather not have.

              If I'm just repeating what

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It's already happened. E.g. Google(AdX/Doubleclick) and company are trying to police hard. The problem is a typical "tragedy of the commons case". Publishers like Forbes and Conde Nast (Wired) get more money and lose very little by trying to force aggressive tracking and advertising on their users. N.B. there is plenty more technology coming online where this will get worse, e.g. advertising will be mixed in directly with content and appear to be served from the same domains.

      Only if there's a clear bene

  • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <mitreya&gmail,com> on Friday February 26, 2016 @01:07AM (#51589501)

    There are a few new snippets of information, sure, but there's hardly full transparency; ... We are instead treated to a short blog post littered with links to other pages on the Adblock Plus site, forums pages, and so on.

    TFA (as per quote above) is a vague blog post that attempts to describe another vague blog post. Most of TFA is spent admitting that there is very little content to talk about.

  • I do not charge for the site, I do not advertise to make money for my site, I have lots of folks visit and post on my site.

    It's my hobby. I'm ok with paying a few hundred dollars a year for it.

    Years back there was a proposal to make a new internet that was "better" and I was enthusiastic about it because I hoped that all of the people looking to monetize the internet would go to the new internet, and be banned from coming back to the old internet.

    Sorry. I'm not on the web to make your site money. Share the

    • by worf_mo ( 193770 )

      I share your sentiment, I've been running a few websites since the late nineties, and I've never charged for any of them and never put ads on any page.

      One of the websites (running since 2000) allows you to find port assignments. Nothing earth shaking, but apparently useful to some people. One day I found out that an intrusion analyser had integrated a lookup via my website into their desktop application. When I rewrote the website a few years later I made sure that all the old URLs would be rewritten automa

      • I'm in a similar boat, although I use my server mostly for handling my own mail and other tasks. I haven't come up with anything that I feel would really appeal to anyone else enough to justify the effort. :-) I do cover all of my own expenses though. It's not that hard.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I weep for the internet as it was before the first advertising appeared. (I was on it then, for more than a decade before Canter and Siegel []), and the Eternal September.

    "But content! You didn't have 20 pages of You'll Never Believe What Happened Next! Quality clickbait! You didn't have popunders and web bugs and profiling of your every move! How did you manage? That internet was useless compared to what we have today! You'll never get that kind of high quality content without ads!"

    The internet: 1969-1

    • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

      The "Internet" was not created in 1969. By most counts you could probably trace it to 1983, when TCP/IP was officially made the protocol for all routing on ARPANET.

      And seriously, calling the Internet dead in 1993? If that's true, why are you still posting on /. instead of living offline in your cave?

    • The early ad-free internet is nostalgic fairy tale, I remember pre-93, it was just academics talking to other academics using 9600bps comms and plain text, you also had to be associated with a university or similar institution to get access. You fucked around for an hour getting a connection before you could read a couple of pages of lecture notes. And if the kids or the wife wanted to use the phone at the same time they were SOL. It was such an ugly ball of string and red tape that large bulletin boards we
      • It was such an ugly ball of string and red tape that large bulletin boards were still seen as a serious competitor.

        What, you didn't enjoy having to script your SLIP connection and hoping that the terminal server login hadn't changed? For the longest time, the only mail access I had was through my local BBS that supported SMTP, but Fido was still the go-to solution if you wanted to talk to people outside of your area. Of course, back then we dreamed of having our own T1 too. And if you wanted porn, yo
      • by Tom ( 822 )

        Ok, I'm officially getting old.

        FIDOnet and BBS times were actually pretty cool, and for every disadvantage there was also some advantage. Getting mail at specific times of day, for example, was much more relaxing than the constantly-connected shit where every three minutes you get distracted from whatever you're doing.

  • If they won't open up, it makes no sense to use their product. I hope such a concept is not too difficult to comprehend.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 26, 2016 @01:36AM (#51589567)

    Any entity that implements an acceptable advertising policy as is specified on the Adblock Plus web site can request to get added to the Adblock Plus white list. The caveat is that if you are a large commercial entity not only do you have to follow the acceptable adds policy, but you also have to pay for the privilege. Paying alone is not sufficient to get white listed if your a large company. Smaller companies and projects don't have to pay to get white listed- they merely need to comply with the acceptable adds policy and request to get white listed.

    This is actually the free market at work here and a totally reason solution. There are some companies that may choose not to pay up and some may even block Adblock Plus users in turn. That is the choice of these web sites and it's my choice whether or not I want to utilize these sites on those terms. Adblock Plus gives me the choice to decline to utilize web sites with poor privacy, security, and add policies. I'll continue to decline to utilize sites that implement a policy of blocking Adblock Plus users rather than implement a reasonable adds policy.

    I am also an advertiser on the Linux Mint web site. I own a small company that pays Linux Mint directly to have an advertisement on the site. I also use Adblock Plus. I wish Clem (lead developer) would implement the acceptable adds policy as 60% of the visitors don't see our advertisement. I *still* support Adblock's policy and have encouraged Clem numerous times to stop with the flashy advertising so that we can request to have the site white listed. Unfortunately due to one advertiser we lose 60% of the eyeballs visiting the site. I have recently cancelled our advertising for other reasons, but pointed out this issue, alongside a note saying we'd probably return and that the cancellation (many years we've advertised with them) had nothing to do with this. None-the-less I encouraged him to implement the policy.

  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @01:49AM (#51589621)

    How does it decide which company to charge to Acceptable Ads whitelisting, and which to charge?

    If the owners don't fix errors in the summaries, how can we expect the editors to?

  • Adblock Plus; "Nice ad revenue model you got here. Be a shame if it got broke."

  • just that, block ads, and be even better at doing so if it is named "AdBlock Plus". There is nothing wrong with offering the user the opportunity to view "acceptable" ads if they wish, but it should be the users choice to choose what is acceptable, not the applications.

  • by tonywestonuk ( 261622 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @03:26AM (#51589847)
    I leave the Slashdot 'Disable Advertising' box unchecked. Becuase I am not bothered by the ads, and maybe now and then something might catch my eye, and I'll give it a click....supporting Slashdot as I do. Bills have to be paid after all. However, if the ads were in the face 'YOUR PC IS AT RISK FROM VIRUS' etc, then this is unacceptable..... This is what AdBlock is for, to get rid of these crappy fear-ware ads. I honestly don't mind seeing ads that don't get in my face.
    • by rworne ( 538610 )

      I agree - on the desktop site. Have you seen the mobile site though? Mobile app ads that fill the screen - with four icons. Makes iPhone browsing painful.

      • by Tom ( 822 )

        Which is why everything that throws and obnoxious, interruptive or distracting ad at me gets immediately deleted from my phone. Doesn't matter how good it is or how much I need it. I will find something else that doesn't.

    • >"This is what AdBlock is for, to get rid of these crappy fear-ware ads. I honestly don't mind seeing ads that don't get in my face."

      And that is fine for you, but for me, "in my face" means something very different. I actually agree 100% with Adblock's definition of acceptable ads... and the ones Slashdot run don't adhere to it. The biggest for me are:

      No animation or motion, ever
      No mouse-overs
      No video or audio unless specifically clicked on
      No pop-ups/unders,or timebombs

      And I would guess that about 98%

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I'd rather the subscriptions were fixed and I could send money directly. The perk of being able to see stories early is nice too.

    • by Toshito ( 452851 )

      What I don't understand is that this checkbox is not always visible for me.

      When it appears it's always checked, but a lot of times (like today) I don't even see the option, and I see the ads.

      Is it a bug?

      Since I often browse Slashdot at work (shh!! don't tell the boss!) I don't want those shiny ads on my screen. The boring green & white screen looks like our internal document format from afar...

    • I leave the checkbox unchecked too, because
      1) It unchecks itself after a few days anyway
      2) Slashdot ads have gotten more and more intrusive
      3) I never see them any more because of AdBlock Plus!

      Right now it's telling me that it blocked 8 ads on this page alone. That's not what I call "acceptable" advertising.

  • by Mandrel ( 765308 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @04:29AM (#51590029)
    A quote from the Adblock Plus blog post in question: []

    This revenue allows us to hire employees to do the hard work providing that service demands. Software engineers have to maintain the whitelist, monitor it and provide customer service to each whitelisted site, whether payment is involved or not.

    So they need to charge to pay for the manpower and infrastructure needed to be able to charge. A bit of a circular argument. The Easylist block list [] is over six times longer than the acceptable ads whitelist [], yet is maintained by volunteers. I'm sure the community could maintain a whitelist if salespeople were no longer required.

    • by johanw ( 1001493 )

      Perhaps - but where to find a volunteer to fill an "acceptable ad list"? I would report an ad slipping through the block for free, but I certainly would not work on the second (unless they paid me so much I'd forget my concience).

      • by Mandrel ( 765308 )

        Yes, you'd likely only give your time to maintain an acceptable ads whitelist if you believe that visibility of less aggressive advertising makes the world a better place. This is a common view on Slashdot, but probably not as common as the view that all advertising shoved in other media is intrinsically bad. AdBlock Plus' rationale for introducing the acceptable ads system was that the majority of respondents to their survey wanted it.

        My main point was that most of the work and expense is in the selling

  • It's broken. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Friday February 26, 2016 @05:06AM (#51590111) Journal

    If it doesn't block all the ads, it's not an ad blocker. It's just an ad filter. That's not what I want.


    • by Anonymous Coward

      Then you... turn off acceptable ads. Done.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A lot of people would prefer an ad filter. I only block abusive ads: malware, popups, flashy crap, plugin-ads(flash), script ads because they are just too abusive.*

      The only ones that prefer adblockers are old, dated, paranoid people that think their little precious snowflake life is of interest to someone that already isn't reading about you because it is entirely automated most of the time.
      And the times where it isn't, they already don't care about you anyway.

      Even when websites are giving out a premium o

      • by Toshito ( 452851 )

        The World Wide Web existed long before there was any ad and paywalls.

        It was much smaller, but still was very fun to use because it was full of fun pages maintained by hobbyists, for free.

        So yes we were a bunch of freeloaders, using pages set up by freegivers (is that a word?)

        Now 99% of the web is boring blogs, advertising, and other boring content (like movie tie-ins) that everyone tries to monetize.

        I hate that word: monetize

        It sums up everything that's wrong with the Internet today.

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      That is where uBlock Origin [] comes in. ;) I wonder how long that will last until we move to the next ad blocker!

    • Shitmoderation (Score:4, Insightful)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Friday February 26, 2016 @09:13AM (#51590743) Homepage Journal

      How in shit did you get modded up for your bitchwhining? You can turn off acceptable ads with one checkbox which is respected by the addon. It's not broken, you just don't know how to use it.

    • Why is this still such a big deal? The whitelist can be opted out of. Click one checkbox and you opt-out of the ad whitelisting and everything is blocked. Simple.

      You could argue this should be opt-in instead of opt-out, but this is a browser plugin we're talking about, not deeply troubling shenanigans being played with core features of your OS (like Microsoft's recent stunts.) If they ever remove the option to opt-out of the whitelist, you can just use one of their many competitors but in the meantime
    • By your definition, ad blockers don't exist, because nothing is perfect.

  • by Z80a ( 971949 ) on Friday February 26, 2016 @05:10AM (#51590125)

    Can you pay a large sum to allow ads with viruses to get whitelisted?

  • The very term "acceptable ad" sounds a bit underhanded to me; or perhaps it is just that we have already lost all trust in the advertising industry and through them, in the companies that advertising in that way. They should rethink they whole ambition and the strategy that follows from it: the term should be "Wanted Ads": advertising that people actually want - like when you go online and search for "where can I buy X within 10 miles of Y?" That's when you want to find adverts, but only if they are genuine

    • by Tom ( 822 )

      Actually, even then I don't want to see ads. I'm not interested in seing the trailer or poster or reading how great X is - I've already decided to buy it. Give me a list of shops with distance and price.

  • Glad to see my comment here [] hit a nerve and probably had some influence on this. Transparency is clearly the way to go, with the clarity that the company wants a monetizing strategy. We all want to make money, so it only makes sense to admit it and explain why and how, especially when you provide services that affect stuff so broad such as consumer rights.
  • There is no such thing as acceptable ads. The advertisement industry has ruined the whole thing, and I feel no pity whatsoever for them.

    There used to be a time when a little bit of advertisement was acceptable. But once you've pissed all over your host, you can't come to the next party, even if you promise you won't do it again. Not anymore. Not after you've promised it twenty times, and twenty times pissed all over the host, his guests, the food and the neighbours dog.

    There's a point where you are just not

    • by Aaden42 ( 198257 )

      once you've pissed all over your host, you can't come to the next party

      Well... I mean... There are parties like that... Maybe it'd be okay...

      • by Tom ( 822 )

        Yes, they are called the marketing department. Where pissing people off is considered "engagement".

  • Is this ad acceptable?

    *grumpy cat macro*: NO

    Determination made. That was easy.

  • I've been using ABP for years now on my machines and those I admin for friends/family/clients. It was, as we all know, a good solution for a number for reasons: Using less bandwidth, limiting infection vectors, and of course removing annoying ads.

    However I've recently switched to UBlock because it simply runs better...and it does not have any sort of "acceptable whitelisting". Now I actually still pretty much trust ABP as I'd used it a fair amount since they have allowed what they deemed as acceptable ad

  • It doesn't block ads, it shouldn't advertise itself as an ad blocker. Why do people keep using ABP at all?

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