Microsoft, Amazon and Taboola join Google in giving ransom to Adblock Plus

3 Feb 2015

It seems that when it comes to online marketing, blackmailing works as Microsoft, Amazon and Taboola have been found to have handed over money allowing their ads to appear on Adblock Plus users’ browsers.

The browser extension, which has more than 300m downloads worldwide, is considered to be the bane of existence for many online marketing operations because of its ability to block all adverts on a web page which limits their ability to sell those ad spaces to potential clients.

Now however, a report from The Financial Times (via Business Insider) has said that sources close to the service’s parent company Eyeo confirmed that Microsoft’s Bing search results, Taboola’s suggested stories adverts and Amazon’s suggested search results all appear on their sites, thanks to financial wrangling on both sides.

Power of whitelisting

According to Eyeo’s controversial business model, the Adblock Plus operators will remove the ad-blocking software from major sites that are willing to cough up sums of money to add their sites to the ‘whitelist’, which prevents the software from running on those sites.

It is believed that advertising revenue generated on these major sites is being siphoned off to Eyeo at a rate of almost 30pc of its daily revenue to keep its ads running on Adblock Plus users’ pages.

Smaller sites, meanwhile, are exempt from paying these type of fees, according to company policy, as long as they offer transparency of what is advertising on their site, known as Acceptable Ads.

Of course, the controversy revolves around the idea that users of Adblock Plus can be subjected to advertising, even though they have downloaded the extension.

Speaking to Business Insider, the company’s spokesperson, Ben Williams, said of their Acceptable Ads model, “It’s also important to point out that we whitelist 90pc of the entities in Acceptable Ads for free, that the same criteria are in place for payers and non-payers alike and that users can turn it off and block all ads any time they want.”

Blocked road image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic