Now that half the planet very suddenly grokked that advertising and the promise of consumer data is what's keeping all our favourite web publications, apps and socials networks "free" to use, in lieu of any payment from us consumers, Adblock is taking a lot of heat this week. With Yahoo's CEO Marissa Mayer practically begging people not to use AdBlock, while putting all of her eggs in the native advertisement basket. Techdirt took a different approach and decided to adapt by letting their readers click on "turn off ads" straight on their site.
All of this is rooted in a deeper problem, digital media is a fraud, and ad networks today are literally indistinguishable from exploits kits - they have obfuscated js, hidden iframes, many forked redirects, invasive tracking, suspicious TLDs, control data in the URLs and I see now that your eyes have glazed over so I'll just move on.
It really is no surprise at all that Apple and other device and software producers are cleaning up their platforms, it's good for them when their hardware isn't drained, your personal information isn't stolen and in the end they own the advertising on the platform you are communicating and reading things on. This does put publishers who create content, not user platforms or devices, in a bad position because once again content is devalued and the advertising money isn't going to the "right" people. Meanwhile, consumers are using Adblock to shield their devices from malware and keep their privacy, not to mention control their data bill as we are all increasingly mobile.
We learned from experience already in 2005 that certain companies could pay their way to avoid certain ad blocks, but people didn't seem to pay attention to this until recently, when it was discovered that Google, Microsoft and Amazon could simply pay to bypass Adblock Plus. They would be the ones who could afford it.
The acceptable ads program is not a pay-to-bypass idea, though that will work too, but this will be managed by an independent review board. The board will see that the ads follow set of criteria outlined here and there's also a forum where it will be discussed.
“We started as an open source project so, from day one, the Acceptable Ads program has been managed in an open and public forum. Users determined the original criteria and can object in our forum to whitelisting proposals, but since we were the only ad blocker to offer such a compromise we have taken on a large role in the day-to-day maintenance of the criteria,” said Till Faida, co-founder of Adblock Plus. “We have been looking for a way to make the Acceptable Ads program completely independent while also updating the criteria to evolve with changing forms of online advertising. An independent board solves both issues.”
As long as we don't return to the bad old days of FiltersetG, this doesn't seem like all that bad of an idea, though one does being to wonder what an "ad block" that doesn't actually block ads is really doing.