Some might argue that the point of ad-blocking software like Adblock Plus is to block ads, but Adblock Plus 2.0 introduces a new feature that allows “acceptable ads”. The feature is also turned on by default. Adblock Plus wants to change the ad culture to encourage advertisers and websites to choose non-intrusive ads. The feature was announced in the blog post for the 2.0 development build.
The feature works by enabling an additional filter to allow non-intrusive ads but anybody can simply switch the feature off so all ads are again blocked. The details of the feature are spelled out on the Acceptable Ads features page. In particular, what determines if an ad is “acceptable”?
We currently have the following requirements:
- Static advertisements only (no animations, sounds or similar)
- Preferably text only, no attention-grabbing images
- At most one script that will delay page load (in particular, only a single DNS request)
These criteria are not final, we are working on improving them. In particular, we want to require that user’s privacy is respected (mandatory Do Not Track support). However, we are not yet in a position to enforce that requirement.
While many irrationally jumped to swearing at the moon that this was a horrible change, it can easily be switched to your preference. As a website owner that is mostly in the tech sector my audience is more tech savvy than most. With tech savviness, it seems, a higher percentage of people use ad-blocking software. The visitors I receive far outweigh the ad impressions on my sites. However, I also understand obtrusive ads. Ads on MSN and other popular websites that feature cars that drive around the screen for the first 10 seconds or planes that fly by advertising airfare make me writhe in agony.
I understand the desire and need to block bad websites but with strict rules that ABP has put in place to determine non-intrusive ads, I think the actual implementation of the feature would hardly be noticed. The “acceptable” ads provide a revenue stream to website owners that might otherwise not be able to continue on, resulting in a web that is (further) dominated by the big websites with nothing left for the little guys.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but in mine, the “Acceptable ads on by default” feature in Adblock Plus is an improvement for the web economy.