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Adblock Plus, the adblocking service that blocks pop-ups, pop-unders, blinking, and other annoying ads, and recently suggested to Twitter that it apply for whitelisting, revealed today that it only accepts 9.5 percent of advertisers to its whitelisting program.

And that over 50 percent of applicants refuse to make changes to their ad policies to meet Adblock Plus’ requirements.

“We started as an adblocker, and if the Internet dies tomorrow, we’ll die as an adblocker,” Adblock Plus’s Ben Williams posted today. “Since 2011 we have received 777 applications for whitelisting. The actual acceptance rate is only 9.5 percent.”

AdBlock PlusAdblock Plus currently works with Reddit and other sites, but the criteria are not easy to meet.


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Probably the toughest is that the company refuses to whitelist ads that come with tracking, whether based on cookies, IP addresses, or other means. This also goes for what the company calls “Acceptable ads” that don’t collect and resell internet surfer’s browsing data. That automatically eliminates almost anything from most ad networks, which rely on tracking to know what ads have been served where, to report efficacy data to advertisers, and to fine-tune their own algorithms of when and where to place ads.

Ninety percent of whitelisting is done for free, Adblock Plus says, but there is a cost for the other 10 percent, which covers the organization’s expenses as well as monitoring and enforcement of the whitelist policies.

One thing that’s getting harder, of course, is telling exactly what an ad is anymore. Adblock Plus says it’s working on that, too.

“As we move ahead to tackle new challenges, like native advertising and the shift towards mobile, we’ll need your help if we hope to accomplish our goal of making the Internet a better place,” Williams wrote. “Stopping annoying ads is indeed a start, but unless the Internet dies tomorrow we’re ready to do a whole lot more.”

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