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.
In 2015 Scott Cunningham, the founder of IAB TechLab, told world “we messed up” on behalf of the advertising industry. His was the first major industry mea culpa that began a shift toward addressing user problems with advertising on the web. When we spoke last week I challenged him about the IAB’s DEAL strategy on adblocking, which he devised, and which may lean too far toward recommending that all publishers restrict access to users. His response is worth reading, and makes clear that DEAL is not an all or nothing approach. Only a small number of publishers with very exclusive content may be able to sustain a strategy that blocks adblock users from visiting their content. Most can not. Scott shared the background to the IAB’s LEAN principles for more respectful, subdued advertising formats.…
This note is a layman’s guide to how the “block lists” that power adblocking work. A block list contains tens of thousands of rules that govern how a website should be displayed. There are two types of rules. “Filter” rules define what should be blocked. “Exception” rules define what content should be displayed. The most popular block list, “EasyList”, contains tens of thousands of these filters and exceptions.
Facebook’s decision earlier this year to start serving ads to adblockers is already starting to bear fruit. In last week’s Q3 earnings call, the company said that “desktop ad revenue grew 18%, which is higher than growth rates in recent quarters, and was aided by our efforts to limit the impact of ad blockers on advertising served via web browsers”. This post examines these figures to extrapolate the revenue lift that Facebook will enjoy from serving ads on the blocked web. We estimate that Facebook's decision to show tamper-proof ads will yield an additional $720 million over the next year.