Eyeo, the owners of Adblock Plus, recently revealed an external “Acceptable Ads Committee” to legitimize its extortion of publishers. The committee has considerable powers to alter the “Acceptable Ad” standard, though the process for doing so is difficult. But this control is illusory. The rules that Eyeo has written for this committee mean that its members have no power.
How Eyeo maintains control
First, the “Acceptable Ads Committee Bylaws” include provisions that maintain Eyeo’s most important power – the ability to remove websites from the whitelist. It can do this without consulting the committee.
Notwithstanding the authority granted to the ACC [the Committee] above, the Executor [Eyeo GmbH] retains the authority to withhold entries from the Whitelist at its sole discretion.1
This single provision gives Eyeo the ability to maintain its extortionate threat, and continue to grow its profits.
Second, the business side of Eyeo’s program of payments-for-access is untouched.
The ACC shall not have any authority, however, to govern the development, distribution or monetization of ad blocking software.2
Rather than a thorough overhaul of Eyeo’s unsavory business, the committee merely provides a façade of accountability. Eyeo will attend all committee meetings and provide “technical and procedural input”3, and it initially also controls minutes and agenda4. It may even – in some cases – chair meetings5.
Unsurprisingly, its industry members – which includes employees of Dell, Condé Nast, and Dennis – have distanced themselves from the story.
Nothing has changed since Eyeo began courting the advertising industry and trying to prove that it cares about how adblocking hurts publishers and advertisers alike. The company is still devoted to extracting as much money as possible from advertisers, while claiming that it has the interests of users at heart.
Even if the committee were to jump through all the hoops needed to change adblock advertising criteria, it has to be questioned whether Eyeo would make any effort to implement changes that might undermine its profits.
In any case, the matter is moot. Adblock and Adblock Plus are technologically irrelevant, and have been for some time. Facebook, and many other publishers, already show ads using tamper-proof adserving that adblock companies cannot block. Eyeo attempted to fight back against Facebook, but the ensuing skirmish was a short-lived failure for Adblock Plus. A range of companies – including PageFair – offer tamper-proof ad serving that adblock companies cannot block.
DISCLAIMER: Although we make every effort to be objective, PageFair works with publishers to diagnose adblocking and provide custom anti-adblock solutions to premium publishers.