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Adblock Plus To Invite An Independent Board to Manage “Acceptable Ads” Program

Adblock Plus To Invite An Independent Board to Manage “Acceptable Ads” Program

Will Provide 100% Transparent Oversight of Whitelisting Program

Adblock Plus, the #1 most popular browser extension for blocking annoying online advertisements with over 400 million downloads, announced that its popular Acceptable Ads program will soon be managed by an independent review board.

Acceptable Ads is a set of criteria that defines which ad formats are reasonable and non-intrusive. Websites or advertisers who serve ads that abide by these criteria can apply to have some or all of their ads whitelisted. Acceptable Ads is an open process where every applicant is publicly listed in a forum, and where anyone can see exactly which ads are being whitelisted and can provide feedback and criticism.

Given the rapid evolution of online advertising technology, Adblock Plus has developed and updated the Acceptable Ads criteria by involving developers, publishers and even advertisers in the process. But the final criteria determination was made by Adblock Plus. The new independent review board will eventually take 100% control of what the new criteria updates (and all future criteria) will be. The board is slated to be in place in 2016.

“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.”

Acceptable Ads Definition

Since 2011, when Adblock Plus first developed and deployed a whitelist feature, the definition of what is “acceptable” advertising has been a decision that is debated and refined in a public forum. Members of the Reddit community also participated in the initial formulation, which continues to evolve as new forms of advertising and tracking are invented. The current and most basic requirements for Acceptable Ads are:

– Acceptable Ads are not annoying.

– Acceptable Ads do not disrupt or distort the page content we’re trying to read.

– Acceptable Ads are transparent with us about being an ad.

– Acceptable Ads are effective without shouting at us.

– Acceptable Ads are appropriate to the site that we are on.

More detailed technical requirements are currently posted and updated here. In addition, there is a community of organisations, including Reddit, Stack Exchange, advertising firm Jung von Matt, Doc Searls’s Customer Commons, Fight for the Future and many more, who support these tenets listed on the Acceptable Ads Manifesto.

Who Pays

Adblock Plus has also been transparent about the fact that some companies pay Eyeo GmbH, which is the company that administers Adblock Plus as well as the whitelisting process. Payment is for administration costs and not for whitelisting. Whitelisting is reserved only for ads that meet the Acceptable Ads criteria.

All of these paying companies are large companies that have legal non-disclosure contracts that prevent Adblock Plus from identifying exactly who they are and how much they pay. These legal obligations will persist under the new independent board also. Nonetheless, Adblock Plus maintains a forum where all whitelisted ads are listed and discussed, and freely shares what information it can: approximately 700 publishers and websites are currently on the whitelist, and approximately 10 percent of these companies pay Eyeo to support administration costs for everyone, including the 90 percent of small companies and websites that don’t pay a single penny.


Adblock Plus is a free download for mobile users on iOS and Android, and a free browser add-on for Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Maxthon and Opera.

About Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus is an open source project that aims to rid the Internet of annoying and intrusive online advertising. Its free web browser extensions (add-ons) put users in control by letting them block or filter which ads they want to see. Users across the world have downloaded Adblock Plus over 400 million times, and it has remained the most downloaded and the most used extension almost continuously since November 2006. PC Magazine named the extension as one of the best free Google Chrome extensions, and it received About.com readers’ choice award for best privacy/security add-on.

Follow Adblock Plus on Twitter at @AdblockPlus and read our blogs at adblockplus.org/blog/. Media press kit with FAQ, images and company statistics is available at: eyeo.com/en/press.