Adblock Plus Forms Committee to Take Over Acceptable Ads Initiative
Independent group consists of 11 stakeholders from 3 coalitions.
After promising to form an Acceptable Ads Committee for more than a year, Adblock Plus’s parent company Eyeo finally delivers, creating an independent Acceptable Ads Committee (AAC) of 11 stakeholders who will take over the Acceptable Ads Initiative that started in 2011. According to the Acceptable Ads website, these stakeholders represent three distinct coalitions:
- User Advocate Coalition: digital rights organization and ad block user
- For Profit Coalition: advertiser, ad agency, ad-tech company and publisher/content creator
- Expert Coalition: user agent, creative agent, researcher/academia
“This committee, aptly called the Acceptable Ads Committee, has full control over the Acceptable Ads Initiative, including what’s deemed acceptable by defining the Acceptable Ads criteria,” the website says. “The committee’s goal is simple: create new and exceptional ad standards that improve the user experience for ad-blocking users while, just as importantly, delivering real value to content publishers and online advertisers.”
The AAC is a nonprofit organization that will meet at least twice a year and will include up to 11 official members. Each member group may include up to 50 members, so the official “seats” serve as the official representatives of the individual groups (User Advocates, For Profit, Expert). The AAC will be responsible for the rules for whitelisting that are used by Adblock Plus, AdBlock, Adblock Browser and Crystal.
Eyeo recruited the first group of committee members, but the committee is responsible for future placement. The members include:
For Profit Coalition:
Ad-Tech: Rocket Fuel Inc.; Rakuten Marketing; Native Ads, Inc.; Sharethrough; The Media Trust; BuySellAds.com Inc.; Criteo; ZEDO; Bidio, Inc.; Instinctive, Inc; Adtoma AB
Ad Agencies: M&C Saatchi Mobile; The Tombras Group; Saatchi & Saatchi; TLGG; Schaaf-PartnerCenttric; Look, Listen
Publishers and Content Creators: Conde Nast; Dennis Publishing; Local Media Consortium; TED Talks; Leaf Group
Creative Agent: Jay Morgan
Researcher: Bloor Research International Ltd.
User Agent: UC Web
User Advocate Coalition:
Digital Rights Organizations (X3): Fight for the Future plus two open seats
Users: recruiting now
According to Business Insider, the four ad blocking services that follow the Acceptable Ads initiative – Adblock Plus, AdBlock, Adblock Browser and Crystal – have been downloaded to an estimated 130 million devices combined. Last year the estimate of downloads for Adblock Plus was more than 100 million devices. Business Insider also reports that approximately 92 percent of Adblock Plus users have opted-in to Acceptable Ads.
It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out because Adblock Plus has been controversial on a number of fronts. First, its whitelisting service requires that larger advertisers like Google and Amazon have to pay to have their ads whitelisted, bringing objectivity into question. Second, last September, Adblock Plus debuted its own ad platform to sell ads, so it essentially became an ad blocking company that sells ads.
The idea of bringing on an independent group of evaluators makes a lot of sense, especially because three separate audiences are being represented. Ideally, they will be objective and find a happy medium between advertising and users. However, their work is restricted to the Acceptable Ads Initiative, so their purview and influence is limited.
Other groups like IAB and the Coalition for Better Ads are also working toward improving the advertising experience. Ultimately, consumers will decide what ads they are willing to view. In the meantime, subscription companies who rely on advertising income should be a part of the discussion.