AdBlock Plus, a popular browser extension, blocks most pop-up, video and banner ads. But according to a German news site, Google, which controls the largest online advertising network, has paid the makers of the software not to weed out some of its ads.
AdBlock Plus seems to have been quietly changing its model from blocking all ads to policing which ads are “annoying” and which are “acceptable.” The larger ad networks have been funding its policing efforts by paying the its German parent company, Eyeo, not to filter out some of their “nonintrusive” ads, including Google’s AdWords.
“Whitelisting is free for all small websites and blogs. However, managing this list requires significant effort on our side and this task cannot be completely taken over by volunteers as it happens with common filter lists. That’s why we are being paid by some larger properties that serve nonintrusive advertisements that want to participate in the Acceptable Ads initiative, the AdBlock Plus website says.
At present, search ads are filtered out on a Bing search but not on a Google search. The company indicates that the list of “acceptable ads” is growing slowly as its staff moves as fast as it can.
“We have to add filters to allow ads that aren’t intrusive, this cannot be an automatic process. However, this is far from trivial — the same advertising network might serve non-intrusive advertisements on some web sites and intrusive advertisements on others,” the website says.
AdBlock Plus indicates that making agreements with advertising networks is the best way to address the problem. Google is not the only company to have paid for whitelisting, it says, but it doesn’t name the other companies.