eyeo Takes a Stand Against Circumvention Technologies with New Task-Force

eyeo wants to work with the publishing community to ensure users are served with the best quality of advertisements  

eyeo, maker of Adblock Plus and Trusted News, is launching a new task force that aims to support the publishing community, by helping them to understand the true ramifications of reinjecting bad adverts onto users. The company aims to work alongside publishers to develop user-friendly alternatives to so-called circumvention technology.

Since 2002, many users have opted out of seeing annoying and disruptive adverts by downloading an ad blocker. Publishers are traditionally dependent on advertising, which explains their eagerness to reinstate adverts onto their platforms by any means necessary. To meet this demand, a swarm of ‘counter-measure’ companies have emerged that attempt to thwart user preference by reinjecting ads where consumers have chosen not to see them.

These businesses promote their circumvention technologies to publishers as an easy way to ‘recapture revenues’ from their websites and blogs, by reinjecting advertisements. These tactics not only go against the wishes of users, but are ineffective, and ultimately harmful to publisher revenue.

YouGov study found that people primarily use ad blockers to protect themselves from intrusive and malicious adverts, to increase their online security and to avoid being tracked over the internet. But despite the credibility of these reasons circumvention technologies have become more popular with publishers. This has only fuelled a technological arms race between the ad-blocking and anti-ad-blocking industries.

eyeo, maker of Adblock Plus, the most-used desktop ad blocker in the world with over a billion downloads, has announced its intention to take a stand against circumvention technologies. This will be done through a new team solely dedicated to working with publishers to help them understand the true impact of circumvention and instead find more user-friendly means of engaging with their audience.

When Adblock Plus updated to version 3.1 in April, new and significant anti-circumvention measures were introduced to the extension for the first time, which showed early results. This was a major step forward in the organisation’s blocking capabilities and resulted in 103 websites being freed from reinjected ads.

However, perhaps the most impactful results of the team were its ongoing, successful counter measures against reinjection on Facebook. These efforts happened before the task force was even officially formed. It has been almost a year since eyeo successfully launched anti-circumvention measures on Facebook, which followed months of back and forth with the social media giant and sustained user outcry for a way to block Facebook’s reinjection efforts. Now, close to a year later, the reaction carried out in response to those users ensures for them an ad-free Facebook experience.

Commenting on the move, the head of the filters department at eyeo, Jutta Horstmann, said: “Circumvention represents a huge affront to users. The user’s decision to install an ad blocker is ultimately because they want to take back control of their online experience, and the rise of these new circumvention technologies goes completely against these wishes.

“We believe that this risks further isolating consumers, so we have created a task force, staffed with experts from all parts of the company to address this very issue. Even in a small space of time we are already seeing success and we are providing features to the whole ad blocker community, not only for Adblock Plus. I’m proud to be leading the newly formed anti-circumvention task force”.

Co-founder and CEO of eyeo, Till Faida added: “A major misconception of ad blockers is that they indiscriminately block all adverts. This is untrue and skews the debate in favour of circumvention providers. Adblock Plus, like several other ad blockers, participates in the Acceptable Ads programme, which means we only filter out ads judged intrusive and disruptive by an independent non-profit. The solution for content creators is to rely on revenue from good adverts rather than impose bad ones on disgruntled consumers. These anti-blocker tactics are unacceptable, particularly when you consider the breadth of privacy, security and ethical issues raised by our users. This is why we have created this new team.

“Our immediate future is going to be placed around tackling the most widely used circumvention methods head-on. In the next few months we will be announcing several strategic initiatives and updates designed to help support this.”

About eyeo
eyeo makes software that puts you in control of a fair profitable web. Among other products, eyeo is the developer of Adblock Plus, 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 1 billion times, and it has remained the most downloaded and the most used extension almost continuously since November 2006. To round out its mission, eyeo also produces Adblock Browser, the micropayment system Flattr and the fake news filter Trusted News.