Adblock Plus is one of the more popular online advertisement blocking services on the market; and despite this, many are still unaware that the company maintains a whitelist of about 300 websites. The information came to light as The Financial Times ran a piece reporting that companies like Google and Microsoft had paid the companies to allow their ads to be served.
The report was a little misleading as it implied that companies could pay developer Eyeo to be added to the whitelist. However, Adblock Plus denies this and instead says that it has always been transparent about allowing certain websites to serve ads. Money doesn’t even have to change hands for this to happen; although to be fair, Adblock doesn’t make it entirely clear which sites are paying to be whitelisted.
Ablock Plus provides examples of how some sites are whitelisted by complying with guidelines provided by the company. Most of which require ads to be clearly identified and separated from other content. More often than not this simply involves making an application to the company and some small adjustments to the layout of the site.
Many online sites use ad revenue to sustain operations, and ad blockers often eat into their numbers; thus, reducing the amount of income. Getting on the whitelist of Adblock Plus, who claim to have some 144 million users, would allow more users to see served ads.
The use of ad blockers is a slightly controversial one, as it happens to hurt website operators who usually require the income to maintain their sites. On the other hand, many ads are intrusive and mainly serve to annoy people who just want to relax and read things on the internet. Striking a balance will be interesting to see, although it really shouldn’t include the option to pay money to escape blocking.