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Adblock Plus passes 100m devices

News, 11 May 2016

NEW YORK: Adblock Plus is now installed on more than 100m active devices and is approaching a billion downloads, according to the co-founder and CEO of Eyeo, the German maker of the controversial ad blocking software.

Speaking at a TechCrunch conference in New York, Till Faida outlined what he considered to be going wrong with the advertising industry and defended his company's "acceptable ads" initiative, which charges larger publishers and advertisers a fee to show less "disruptive" ads.

He did not tell delegates how much revenue the programme generated for Adblock Plus, but revealed that 40 of the top websites in the US now have acceptable ads on their pages.

Most users do not hate ads, Faida said, but instead they cannot stand intrusive ads that spoil their web experience, and he defined an acceptable ad as being one that "cannot be disruptive".

He went on to concede that ad blocking is controversial, but added that "disruptive technology has to be controversial", and he laid the blame squarely on the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB).

"We're in this mess because the IAB has failed to create an advertising ecosystem that is sustainable and healthy," he said. "What we're all about is empowering our users to have control over their browsing experience."

To that end, the company is forming a panel of stakeholders, including publishers and advertisers, to work on an agreed definition of an acceptable ad.

Faida also suggested that the company's recently launched Flattr Plus program, which allows users to donate money to the websites they use, would also help.

The company expects Flattr Plus to grow to more than 10m users by the end of next year, with users donating an average of $5 per month to compensate publishers.

However, Faida's defence of AdBlock Plus was flatly rejected by IAB president Randall Rothenberg, the next speaker who even refused to shake Faida's hand on stage.

"I have no argument against anybody using ad blockers because there is a kernel of right when it comes to... user experience," Rothenberg said. "But as I've said before, this is an extortion-based business and hurts publishers."

Rothenberg also noted that most publishers generate the majority of their revenues from online ads, and accused AdBlock Plus of diverting this money "into their own pockets".

Data sourced from TechCrunch; additional content by Warc staff