Adblock Plus’s parent company, eyeo, is transitioning the Acceptable Ads program to an independent group. The Acceptable Ads Committee (AAC) will oversee the whitelisting program that enables ads to pass through some of the most popular ad blockers: Adblock Plus, AdBlock, Adblock Browser and Crystal.
Eyeo launched the controversial Acceptable Ads program in 2011 in which large companies like Google, AOL, Yaoo and Criteo pay to have their ads whitelisted. Smaller firms are not charged for whitelisting privileges. Many in the industry have equated this model to a type of extortion. Last year the IAB revoked Adblock Plus’s invitation to the IAB Leaership Summit. The formation of an independent committee is a step toward addressing criticism.
“The AAC will take full authority over these [acceptability] criteria and the compromise between users who want to block intrusive ads and publishers who rely on advertising revenues,” Ben Williams, AdBlock Plus operations and marketing manager, wrote in the announcement.
Eight members have been named to the 11 available committee seats, including representatives from Rocket Fuel (in the ad tech seat), Dell (advertiser seat), M&C Saatchi Mobile (agency seat) and Conde Nast (publisher seat),
The 11 committee seats will represent user, expert and for-profit coalitions. Advertisers, ad tech vendors, agencies and publishers/content creators each have a seat in the for-profit coalition. Williams says eyeo is facilitating the initial recruitment but that committee members will take over fulfillment in the future. Each group may have up to 50 members.
Dell is currently the sole advertiser named.
Dennis Publishing, TED Talks, Leaf Group and Local Media Consortium are among the publishers and content creators on the committee. Agencies that have joined also include Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi, The Tombras Group, Omnicom’s TLGG, Schaaf-PartnerCentric and Look Listen
Rakuten Marketing, Sharethrough and Criteo are among other ad tech vendors on the committee.
There will also be a seat for a user not affiliated with any of the coalitions. Members are not compensated, and the committee is non-profit.
The Acceptable Ads Committee isn’t the only organization looking at addressing the rise of ad blocking and improving digital ad experiences and outcomes. In the time that eyeo has been working with industry members to devise and launch this committee over the past year, Google, Facebook, the IAB and major advertisers formed the Coalition for Better Ads last September. The initiative is aimed at forming standards and developing technology to improve online advertising. In Feburary, ad-blocking startup Shine rebranded as Rainbow with a focus on ad filtering against IAB and other ad standards at the mobile carrier network level. Like Acceptable Ads, users opt into the service.
The Acceptable Ads Committee will meet at least twice a year.