Small publishers dealt another massive blow by multi-million dollar AdBlock Plus

The war of words is alive and well in the battle of Eyeo (AdBlock Plus) vs. publishers:
The BBC Reports:

AdBlock Plus has successfully defended itself in court for the second time in five weeks.

The service prevents ads from appearing on websites unless it has given them permission to be displayed.
German broadcasters RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 had argued that browser plug-in was anti-competitive and threatened their ability to offer users content for “free”.
However, a court in Munich ruled in favour of AdBlock’s owner Eyeo.
Ben Williams, a spokesman for the German company, told the BBC the dispute had been the biggest one it had faced to date “just by nature of the people involved and the amount of claims that they had”.
“This is the fourth time that massive publishers have brought legal proceedings against our start-up,” he added in a follow-up email.
“Thankfully, the court sided with users and with compromise. So, we’re pleased to say that Adblock Plus will continue to provide users with a tool that helps them control their internet experience.
“At the same time we will endeavour to work with publishers, advertisers and content creators to encourage non-intrusive ads, discover new ways to make ads better and press forward to a more sustainable internet ecosystem.”

Notice the carefully chosen words that are used by AdBlock Plus’ well-lawyered PR team:
1.  “Massive Publishers have brought legal proceedings against our start-up“.   Notice the portrayal as some David and Goliath struggle.   As if the game here is between a struggling “Start up” and the big evil publishers.   The real losers in this battle are predominantly small publishers — many of whom are also start-ups.
2. “The court sided with users and with compromise”.  Compromise?  Where was the compromise?  AdBlock Plus remains unfettered and 100% of the power to block or not-block remains in their hands.
3.  “We will endeavour to work with publishers, advertisers and content creators”.   For a fee.
4.  “Press forward to a more sustainable internet ecosystem”.  Oh it all sounds so positive.  Let’s be clear:  Sustainability is highly questionable because of AdBlock.

This is no Start Up

There’s something that needs to be said after reading this absurd spin: Eyeo is a multi-million dollar company, and it’s AdBlock Plus extension is downloaded between 50,000 and 100,000 times per day.
This is no “Start up”.  
The default setting for AdBlock Plus is to block all ads despite the false distinction between “intrusive” and “non-intrusive”.   Try launching a new website tomorrow.  Then try placing non-intrusive ads on it, and visiting it with an AdBlock Plus enabled browser. You’ll note that none of your visitor-conscious, non-obtrusive ads are displaying.   If you want your start-up to have any hope of generating advertising revenue from this increasingly mainstream demographic of AdBlock users, you’ll need to plead your case to the censors over at Eyeo Corporation.  The default setting is to block *all* ads, despite Eyeo’s claims that their aims are to promote “responsible” advertising.
Ultimately, small publishers lose out to large Internet behemoths who pay for exemption.
ABP is anti-startup, anti-small business, and is fundamentally unsustainable.
The spin says otherwise.

One Reply to “Small publishers dealt another massive blow by multi-million dollar AdBlock Plus”

  1. “Let’s be clear: Sustainability is highly questionable because of AdBlock.”
    Wrong, buddy. AdBlock is not the problem, AdBlock is a symptom of the problem (and some would say the solution as well). Missing from this entire site is a discussion about why people block ads in the first place.
    Advertisers have been abusing people for decades. Any time any new technology comes along, advertisers are right there to screw it up. Advertisers are the reason we need spam filters, popup blockers, Javascript blockers, Flash blockers, you name it. If it’s a problem with the internet, advertisers screwed it up. Ad networks distribute malware, they track people wherever and whenever possible, in short they have proven time and time again that they are bad actors. People have pushed for options like Do Not Track, and advertisers told us to F off. Now we are blocking advertising and tracking, and the poor advertisers are pleading with us to allow them into our systems so they can push their malware and track us, and it’s our turn to tell them to F off.
    Consider what the term “responsible ads” implies about the advertising industry. Why is the adjective “responsible” necessary?
    If the so-called “content providers” out there have problems with people blocking ads, then their anger needs to be directed at the very same advertisers that have pushed everyone to the point of NEEDING ad blockers. Directing anger at people blocking ads is pointless. Ad and tracker blocking is not just for improving page load times, decreasing bandwidth, and uncluttering the page, it has become a security and privacy necessity.
    I’ll also add this: if the content on a website is not valuable enough for people to pay to keep that website online, then maybe that website doesn’t need to be there. You don’t have some inherent right to publish whatever crap you want and expect to get paid for it. If your content is not valuable, then we don’t need it. I have no obligation to be force-fed ads in order to support some startup who decides that they figured out the best way to show me the same news. If your visitors are not willing to pay for subscriptions, or merchandise, or donations, then your content is not valuable. Deal with it.
    Look at Wikipedia if you want to see an example of a free site that is free from ads and that people have decided is valuable enough to keep online. You aren’t asking for donations on this site. Instead of your half-baked anti-ad-blocker, maybe put up a donation page and see just how valuable your site is to people. Sell some shirts at a profit. Although I do see you collecting emails, and you don’t appear to have any kind of privacy policy, so maybe you have other ways to “monetize” your visitors, as if the people visiting your site are some sort of commodity that you can sell and trade instead of people.

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