AdBlock Plus has shed some light on the “murky” world of how it makes money from its so-called ‘acceptable ads’ programme, revealing in a blog post that the bulk of its revenue comes from a minority of publishers.
The ad blocker claimed it is the “middle way” of not blocking every ad but instead allowing some through (a model which has drawn criticism both from users and publishers.)
But, to decide which publishers will have to pay to let adverts bypass AdBlock’s tech, the company goes by the general rule that “[...] only advertisers that stand to gain more than 10 million incremental ad impressions per month because of whitelisting are asked to sponsor".
“If five per cent of a site's users block ads then that site needs to have 200 million ad impressions to begin with in order to break the 10 million threshold.
“A site's non-ad block traffic is not included in the calculation. Using this definition, most publishers don’t pay anything at all.”
According to its latest figures, some 90 per cent of publishers didn’t pay at all.
To calculate the fee publishers pay, Adblock Plus said it “calculates the licensing fee as a percentage of the extra revenue the advertiser earns after whitelisting. It is not based on total ad revenue, but rather the value our service creates.”
However, AdBlock Plus’ hesitation to provide any more in-depth details about specific contracts or partners – although it invites users to link through to a clunky 13-page forum to view its whitelist partners – will unlikely help ease concerns.
Right now, it’s laying the foundation for an independent committee to take over the Acceptable Ads monetisation model.
The glimpse into its operating model capped a week where the issue of ad blocking and ongoing question marks over how transparent such firms actually are reached fever pitch.
Last week, mobile operator Three revealed it had struck a deal with Shine Technologies to prevent ads from being served to its mobile users across Europe. Amid criticism from the industry, Shine chief marketer Roi McCarthy took to the stage at Mobile World Congress to defend what it believes protects consumers from the “military grade tracking” of advertisers.