Adblock Plus Was Uninvited From a Digital Ad Leadership Conference at the 11th Hour

IAB says event is for key 'digital-industry stakeholders'

The IAB refunded Adblock Plus for its event registration. Photo Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Source: Getty Images

Adblock Plus attended the Interactive Advertising Bureau's Leadership Summit last year, and the company had registered to go next week's 2016 conference. But the IAB last week informed Adblock Plus that it no longer had a ticket to attend the event and would be receiving a refund. 

Germany-based Adblock Plus communications exec Ben Williams authored a post to the company's blog, explaining how his team members were surprised to find out they no longer had a seat at the show. He wrote that "we got one of those sudden emails that land in your inbox innocently, then floor you with something weird, unbelievable or ridiculous when you click on them." 

IAB spokeswomen Laura Goldberg has responded to inquiries by telling multiple publications, "The IAB Annual Leadership Meeting is for serious conversation among important digital-industry stakeholders." The IAB today declined to expand on its comment. 

Adblock Plus wasn't scheduled to speak at the conference. A rep for the company told Adweek that it planned to meet with publishers and others in the marketing community. 

It's a private business conference, so of course, the IAB can accept or deny attendance to any company or individual.

And not all consumer-focused ad tech players are getting shut out. Ghostery, which provides software for people who want to see which companies are tracking their data, is listed as a Leadership Summit participant. 

At Advertising Week 2015 in late September, the IAB didn't mince words about how it felt about the growing ad-blocking epidemic, calling the practice "highway robbery." Two weeks later, though, the industry organization took some blame for not providing its publisher members the sort of guidance that would have preempted the ad-blocking phenomenon from gaining such steam in the first place.

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