When a massive amount of your income is tied to search, protecting it becomes important. A new report — citing unnamed sources, from unknown origins — claims Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have all engaged in paying at least one ad blocking service to whitelist their ads, effectively making it a pay-to-display scenario. Though already in use for smaller advertising companies, the scheme may not be in the best interest of consumers who use Adblock Plus, the service Google and others are alleged to have been paying to display their ads.
Financial Times claims to have confirmed the deals, or at least the existence of them. The scheme seems to only involve Adblock Plus.
Adblock Plus is a popular extension on Chrome, where it blocks various ads from popping up, disrupting your browsing experience. It’s important to keep in mind that the ads you’d see as a result of this ‘whitelisting’ would fall under Google’s (or whoever, I’m admittedly picking on Google, here) ad network, which potentially opens users up to ads from anywhere, about anything.
Though Google and Amazon declined to comment on the matter, Microsoft said they “will always give consumers choice when it comes to advertisements. We are committed to working with partners who share our vision for relevant, impactful brand interaction and respect the integrity of consumer choice.”
The whitelisting isn’t new — it’s how Adblock Plus’ company, Eyeo, makes money. Whitelisting is designed to encourage better ads from making the cut; those which are less annoying and disruptive. The service is free to small entities, and optional for users. The rub here is that Eyeo is seemingly whitelisting anyone who pays their fee, which is rumored to be 30% of the advertising take.
Source: The Financial Times