Adblock Plus — the most popular ad blocking tool, with over 100 million active users — today launched an ad-tech platform for publishers that serves up whitelisted ads. The Acceptable Ads Platform, currently in beta, is mainly targeted at publishers, but any website can leverage it.
In a nutshell, the Acceptable Ads Platform is a filtered set of ads from Google AdWords and AppNexus. The ads are made available under a single tag provided by ComboTag. Websites that pull from the platform are essentially choosing “pre-approved” ads for users who have Adblock Plus installed, while users without an ad blocker installed will continue to see the ads the site normally serves.
Update on September 14: AppNexus does not want to be affiliated with the Acceptable Ads Platform. “To clarify, while ComboTag has been an active client with AppNexus, we have not — and will not — allow them to use our platform to monetize Eyeo and AdBlocker Plus,” an AppNexus spokesperson told VentureBeat. “AppNexus will not support AdBlockPlus or any other toolbar that tries to monetize publisher inventory without their participation. This practice violates our core company tenets.”
Adblock Plus’ Acceptable Ads feature selectively blocks advertising and allows nonintrusive ads through. The company hasn’t previously shared exactly what percentage of users keep Acceptable Ads on, though Adblock Plus head of operations Ben Williams did tell VentureBeat earlier this year that the “opt-out rate is in the low single digits.” Today, the company shared that “more than 90 percent” of users allow these ads through, and when we pressed Williams again, he said the portion of users that turn off Acceptable Ads “fluctuates between 8 percent and 10 percent.”
In other words, we’re talking about around 90 million Adblock Plus users, plus users of other tools that have also signed up for Acceptable Ads. For example, the ad blocker simply called AdBlock (note the capitalization and lack of the word “plus”) also lets its users opt-in to receive Acceptable Ads.
“The Acceptable Ads Platform helps publishers who want to show an alternative, nonintrusive ad experience to users with ad blockers by providing them with a tool that lets them implement Acceptable Ads themselves,” Adblock Plus cofounder Till Faida said in a statement. “There are two ecosystems of online consumers out there right now: the one composed of people who block intrusive ads and the other where people do not. The Acceptable Ads Platform lets publishers reach the former group without changing anything about how they’re reaching the latter. We’ve been waiting years for the ad-tech industry to do something consumer-friendly like this, so finally we got tired of waiting and decided to just do it ourselves.”
Adblock Plus hasn’t just found another way to give its Acceptable Ads initiative a boost. The company has also made sure it will make money from the new platform.
80 percent of the ad revenue generated from the whitelisted ads, paid out either by Google or AppNexus, will go to the website owner. The remaining 20 percent will be divided up across the various players involved, Williams told VentureBeat. Adblock Plus’ cut is 30 percent of that figure (or 6 percent of the total).