back to article Adblock farms out acceptable ad policy to independent reviewer

Adblock Plus is to farm out its evaluation process for unblocking adverts to an independent reviewer in a bid to be "100 per cent transparent", while remaining tight-lipped over its revenue from companies effectively paying to have their ads displayed. The company's "acceptable ads" policy is the criteria applied to deciding …

  1. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Don't thyey have to file company returns? Can't it be seen that way their income ?

    1. auburnman

      I don't think the returns documents have to be made public unless the company is traded on a stock exchange, which I don't think it is.

  2. Amorous Cowherder

    When's the tipping point?

    At which point all the major players will be paying to have their acceptable ad's whitelisted and AdBlock Plus simply becomes useless?

    I'd also like to know how may of these "lower than pond slime" advertisers, who are choking the internet with their shite, post clean ads to ABP to get whitelisted and then simply start spewing any old shit once they're classed as "clean"?

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: When's the tipping point?

      It started open source, so there is of course a fork. I am running Adblock Edge.

      However, I'm not immediately dismissing what Adblock is doing. I would happily allow adverts in order to allow sites that I favour to derive revenue from those ads. EXCEPT ...

      I'm not prepared to tolerate ads which jump up and down, play movies, make noises, pop up on top of my work, try to install malware on my computer, eat really significant amounts of bandwidth, force me to play hunt-the-dismiss-icon, and numerous other abuses which are fortunately impossible in printed media. Until or unless there is a way to restrict the ads which make it onto my screen to ones which behave no differently to printed ads, I'll be forced to block all of them.

      The advertizing industry really ought to work out that annoying potential customers is not in their interests, and anything which breaks the rules that print media impose, is annoying this particular customer. In fact I'm offended to the extent that I pop the offender onto my mental "don't buy" list until a worse offender or forgetfulness intervenes. So advertisers, you have reason to thank "Adblock Edge". At least your rep with myself remains zero or positive, rather than going negative.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When's the tipping point?

        > I'm not prepared to tolerate ads which jump up and down, play movies, make noises, pop up on top of my work, try to install malware on my computer, eat really significant amounts of bandwidth, force me to play hunt-the-dismiss-icon

        The "acceptable ad" rules are quite strict; rule #1 is static ads only. In any case you can tell ABP to not to allow them at all.

        As an aside; turn off your ad blocker and reload this page. It's headed by a massive and incredibly obnoxious html5 video ad...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When's the tipping point?

        "I'm not prepared to tolerate..."

        ... the real elephant in the room, which is the hideous tracking, profiling, and data reselling that these ads carry like tics on a buffalo. I'd live with the quiet, static text ads without issue, but not this garbage, and that I suspect is what the ad and tracking companies will push back very hard against compromising on.

        The current debate may be superficially about ads, but my guess is the data collection stuff is where the real fisticuffs are going to be.

    2. asdf Silver badge

      Re: When's the tipping point?

      >When's the tipping point?

      For me it was a long time ago when I got tired of each tab eating up massive amounts of memory with ABP. Went to open source privoxy which is much leaner and where advertisers don't get to buy a free pass and haven't looked back (though I also run Privacy Badger because I run NoScript in global allow due to being a pain to white list all the stuff I need).

  3. Tromos

    Acceptable ad

    For sale: Phone (click for details)

    Unacceptable - anything longer.

  4. King Jack

    uBlock Origin

    I switched to uBlock Origin when I heard that Ablock started to sell out. You can even use adblock lists in it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: uBlock Origin

      I switched to uBlock Origin when I heard that Ablock started to sell out. You can even use adblock lists in it.

      I switched to BluHell. It only has two settings: on and off.

    2. theModge

      Re: uBlock Origin

      I've gone with uBlock Origin as well, it performs a good deal better than adBlock. Previously I used adBlock Edge, the open source fork of adBlock, which didn't do white-listing. If nothing else the fragmentation makes it hard to buy white listing in all the adblockers...

      Curiosity caused me to go find the difference between uBlock and uBlock origin: it's described here: for the nosey.

      1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

        Re: uBlock Origin

        For home, I added PiHole to my little Pi1 home server, and route the DNS through that. Works a treat and covers all of the devices on my home network without having to mess directly with any of them, and if I so desire I can white (and black) list particular sites if I like them or ad-blocking on them screws things up (which thus far I've yet to find a site where it does).

        And as most of the time when I'm out and about I use a VPN back to the home network anyway (OpenVPN also running on said home server) it covers me there as well.

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Thanks for the tip

      Now that AdBlock is whitelisting, I'm going to have to find another adblocker.

      I'll give that one a try.

      1. BasicChimpTheory

        Re: Thanks for the tip

        Surely if you had to be told that whitelisting in Adblock exists then it isn't impacting you?

        If the company makes money (i.e continues to exist) but you're still getting the service you expect from the product then where is the harm?

    4. Bronek Kozicki Silver badge

      Re: uBlock Origin

      Thank you sir! I just installed uBlock Origin and now my favourite news sites look SOO MUCH better! El Reg, this includes you, I'd be happy to pay subscription fee to support you instead!

  5. msknight Silver badge


    ...that they must have suffered a significant decline in user base in order to make this move.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Methinks...

      I think you might be wrong. Once the adblock was known to those who cared for their privacy (and the handful of those around them, who listened and deployed). At some (tipping) point adblock became known to the masses "outthere", who just as they previously didn't give a flying fuck about their privacy, now felt the urge to protect it (sheep mentality) and installed - adblock plus. Job done, I'm safe for ever and ever. A tiny minority, who keep taking their privacy seriously, track the developments and know that adblock have jumped into bed with advertisers, and they have switched to clean alternatives. But the wide masses, which now have adblock installed? Nah, I'm safe cause they've got adblock, innit?! Yeah, it shows ads, but hey, nothing's perfect, and it's FREE man!

      Obviously, as more and more companies pay adblock ransom to show their ads, at some point, something might, just might click in the mass-brains: oh, so adblock is not a knight in the shining armour?! Uh-uh...

      1. King Jack

        Re: Methinks...

        '..but hey, nothing's perfect, and it's FREE man!'

        You sir have summed up the mentality of sheeple brilliantly. I heard the same defence used for Windows 10 use.

      2. msknight Silver badge

        Re: Methinks...

        But that's what I'm saying. News of them selling out to companies has been making the masses say, "Argh! Adverts? Time to switch." ... leading to AdBlock going, "No! Come back! We're transparent! Promise!"

        1. BasicChimpTheory

          Re: Methinks...

          I use ABP and see ZERO ads (unless I explicitly (and purely theoretically...) allow them).

          Perhaps I'm just not looking at the wrong sites?

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. Simon Ward

      Re: 90%?

      Don't know.

      Don't care.

      As soon as I discovered they'd taken the Amazon shilling (and others) I switched to uBlock - I'd recommend others do likewise. Other ad-blockers are, of course, available.

      If you want to block stuff at the hosts file level, there's also a handy list at

  7. goldcd

    I use Adblock (without the plus)

    On chrome at least seems the most popular, works faultlessly. *shrugs*

  8. Rob D.
    Thumb Up

    It's all in the name

    I'll be using Ad Block Plus right up to the point that it stops blocking ads for me - it's kind of in the name. Right now I'm very pleased that Amazon, Google, et al are funding the maintenance of a useful add-on. The more the merrier because I still don't have to see their ads.

    Eyeo wanting to make a profit out of this add-on shouldn't be an issue for anyone choosing to use it with enough of half a brain to follow the instructions for the opt-out. Personally I do opt out but there's no sell-out; just a distinction between altruism and starvation (or at least a cheaper car).

    Eyeo has a bit of a PR challenge which a little personal responsibility makes instantly irrelevant.

    (FWIW really it's the sheeple funding the add-on but that's another story.)

  9. John Lilburne

    Unacceptable -> has something to do with Google.

    Acceptable -> Does it pass through the ghostery blockers, the adblock blocker, and the deleteme blocker.

  10. timdim

    If AdBlock suddendly starts whitelisting everything, they'll undermine their entire business model and fall by the wayside in an instant. As it stands, their software works and - personally - I've found none of the rare adverts that do appear (static ones on reddit for example) to be intrusive.

    Ultimately, if you have no adverts then there is literally no money to be made by websites unless they erect paywalls, and it's well known how popular they are with consumers...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Uh.. yeah.. When those statements appeared here on El Reg, the responses soundly trounced that argument.

  11. sjsmoto

    I use AdBlock in Chrome, plus ScriptSafe. With ScriptSafe you can whitelist domains and/or subdomains, so it cuts out whatever AdBlock might let through that you don't want.

  12. auburnman

    This could be the advertisers strategy...

    ...fragment the Ad-blocking sector so it's just too complicated to gain much traction outside of the tech-savvy demographic. Theoretically we could have blocked ads with blacklists in the pre-plugin days, but I doubt many bothered.

    Now the barrier to entry for the ad free club has fallen a fair bit, and the focus for the advertisers is to prevent it from falling further.

  13. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    The advertising industry needs to learn humility

    The advertising industry have just realised they've got a problem. They think it's ad blocking.

    They're wrong, they have two problems and neither of them is ad blocking.

    The chronic problem is that nobody outside the industry likes them because a significant number of their members are just so damn annoying. That's the pop-up, pop-under, animated, video, sound-playing membership. If they insist on poking their fingers into the public's eyeballs and ear drums the public are going to be annoyed. Ad blocking is the public's response. If the industry had dealt with this rogue element there would be no ad blockers. Up to now although it's been a chronic problem for the industry probably not been too serious as ad blocking had been a minority sport.

    The acute problem is malvertising. This is moving ad blocking from nuisance prevention to being a normal part of any PC security setup alongside AV. The likelihood is that it will become a standard part of browser and/or OS builds. At that point the industry will be moribund.

    If the industry wishes to survive it needs to deal with the problem at source and do so quickly. They need to look at their entire chain of brokering and serving ads so that only clean ads are served up on the net. And now that the wider web-public realises that blocking is not only a security resource but actually makes web use more pleasant cleanliness will need to include not only absence of malware but also all those other features that make advertisers unpopular. I'd guess that Google not only has the wit to see the need for this but also the resources to do it on their own. Of course this would just squeeze out a lot of other players but the security aspect would help justify this to regulators and indeed would go a long way to helping them to defend against general accusations of monopoly abuse.

    In other words, I suspect that if the rest of the industry doesn't get off its high horse with accusations of stealing and the like they're going to find Google walking away with pretty well all their business. Either that or there won't be a business at all because ad blocking will be universal. What's more, because it's an acute problem, they don't have much time to do it.

    Right now they need to stop thinking that they have some God-given right to our attention which the evil ad blockers are interfering with and start asking themselves what they need to do earn our willingness to grant them admittance. They need to learn humility. And respect.

  14. Ceiling Cat

    In all this, people seem to be forgetting that whitelisted ads can be turned off... with one click.

    Are we all so lazy these days that we can't even click one check-box? It's not even hard to find, it's right there on the preferences dialog!

  15. Mark 85 Silver badge

    The businesses that use ad-brokers, agencies have a problem also. I pointed out to one business I use a lot that after I bought from them, I suddenly got a ton of ads from them for the product I just bought. I also pointed out that it's a waste of his advertising dollar for them to try to "re-sell" something I just bought. Plus it irritates the hell out of people to get these.

    The owner got a bit pissed as he wasn't aware of this and is looking for a new broker. He too, doesn't want singing, dancing, flashing ads or pop-ups/pop-unders. I applaud his stance and hope he passes the word around. Maybe if we all starting being proactive, this might change. But then again, there's a lot of companies don't care, they want their brand recognized. And as has been pointed out, a lot of users don't care or aren't aware/unable to figure out that there are adblockers.

  16. DrXym Silver badge


    The very fact taboola is allowed to sleaze its way onto the whitelist by paying $$$ tells you all you need to know about the acceptable ads policy.

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