Adblock Plus to appoint whitelist watchdog

1st October 2015

Adblock Plus to appoint whitelist watchdog

The company behind the internet’s most popular advert-blocking plug-in has pledged to open up its controversial “whitelist” to outside scrutiny.

Eyeo - the maker of AdBlock Plus

Eyeo - the maker of AdBlock Plus - plans to set up an “independent board” that will inspect which ads it allows to circumvent its technology.
The move coincides with its launch of an extension for iPhones.
It also comes the day after Eyeo successfully defended itself against Germany’s biggest publisher.

One expert said that it was too early

One expert said that it was too early to know how much of a difference the latest move would make, but added that many leading website operators were unlikely to be swayed by it.
“They’re commercial enterprises and they want to make as much money as they can,” said Ian Maude from the research firm Enders Analysis.
“But I do sympathise with the ad-blockers and internet users to the extent that you are now seeing vast volumes of data being gathered about people’s behaviour without their express permission via trackers used by advertisers, and that’s not a desirable outcome.”

What is an ad-blocker?

In a nutshell, the term covers a variety of technologies used to prevent adverts appearing on internet-connected devices.
They are already widely used on PCs, where the most common technique is to install a browser plug-in, but until recently were relatively rare on smartphones and tablets.
Once installed, web pages should be decluttered of distracting content.

Whitelisted ads

Eyeo has faced criticism because of its business model: it provides its plug-ins to the public free, but charges publishers and websites a fee for “support services” to help them ensure certain ads get through.
To qualify, the ads cannot be “annoying” or “intrusive”. For example, pop-ups and ads that automatically start playing sounds cannot qualify for AdBlock Plus’s whitelist.

  • ‘Acceptable ads’
  • Blocking the blockers
  • use of Eyeo’s whitelist
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