Adblock Plus Names 'Acceptable Ads' Committee, but Some Members Don't Seem Enthusiastic

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Credit: Adblock Plus via YouTube

Adblock Plus parent Eyeo on Wednesday said Conde Nast and Dell were among the companies that had agreed to join its Acceptable Ads Committee, which decides which ads the software blocks and which it lets through.

Eyeo has been working on filling the committee since at least October 2015, when it announced its aim to form "a completely independent review board to take over, enforce and oversee our Acceptable Ads initiative."

"Although Acceptable Ads has always been debated and conducted in an open and public forum, we're going that extra mile and removing ourselves entirely from the equation," the for-profit company wrote in a blog post then. "Adblock Plus has no more say in what is deemed 'acceptable,' and we have no say in who gets whitelisted."

But big publishers that want Adblock Plus to let their "acceptable" ads through -- typically unobtrusive, faster-loading ads -- have to pay to help underwrite the initiative's operations, a requirement that Interactive Advertising Bureau President-CEO has called "extortion."

Some members of the Acceptable Ads Committee on Wednesday didn't exactly lean into the announcement when contacted for comment.

Eyeo listed Conde Nast, the publisher of brands such as Vogue and Glamour, as a committee member representing publishers and content creators. "Conde Nast is committed to participating in every important industry conversation," a spokesman said in a statement, "but we oppose the practices of Eyeo and any companies which inhibit the distribution of great content for a value exchange."

A spokeswoman for Dell, listed as the committee seat-holder for advertisers, said that its role wasn't quite so formal. "Wanted to clarify that the seat on the committee actually belongs to Breanna Fowler, who works in strategic partnerships and advertising at Dell, but that Dell as a company is not on the committee," she said in an email.

And M&C Saatchi Mobile was cited as the seat-holder representing ad agencies. "Regarding this topic, we have no comment," said Maricris Tsigarida, marketing and business development manager at M&C Saatchi Mobile.

Here's Eyeo's description of its Acceptable Ads Committee in full:

For-profit coalition

· Advertisers: Dell (seat)

· Ad-tech: Rocket Fuel Inc. (seat); Rakuten Marketing; Native Ads, Inc.; Sharethrough; The Media Trust; Inc.; Criteo; Look Listen; ZEDO; Bidio, Inc.; Instinctive, Inc.; Adtoma AB

· Advertising agencies: M&C Saatchi Mobile (seat); The Tombras Group; Saatchi & Saatchi; TLGG; Schaaf-PartnerCentric

· Publishers and content creators: Condé Nast (seat); Dennis Publishing; Local Media Consortium; TED Talks; Leaf Group

Expert coalition

· Creative agent: Jay Morgan (of J. Walter Thompson Worldwide)

· Researcher: Bloor Research International Ltd.

· User agent: UC Web (maker of UC Browser, a subsidiary of Alibaba)

User advocate coalition

· Digital rights organizations (x3):

· Fight for the Future

· [Open]

· [Open]

· User - Recruiting starts March 15.

"The AAC will take over management of the Acceptable Ads criteria and the rules for whitelisting that Adblock Plus, AdBlock, Adblock Browser and Crystal all abide by to offer users the ability to block unwanted ads while allowing through better, more respectful ones for those users who choose to view ads," Eyeo said in its announcement. "While Eyeo is facilitating the recruitment of the members constituting the initial AAC, the various member groups represented on the committee itself will seat future committees."

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