What’s the first thought that runs through your mind when you read the word “popup”? If you’re the outdoorsy type, you might think of a camper. If you’re a junk food connoisseur, then maybe you think toaster pastry. Most people’s thoughts will travel right to their computer and visions (or maybe nightmares) of “buy this”, “go here“or “you’re the millionth visitor” show up instead. It’s bad enough to have to sit through more and more commercials during your favorite flick. Now they fly out at you on the net too?
Just when the experience becomes unbearable, you get introduced to a browser extension… a mystical ad blocking wonder. A tool to help restore your serenity while surfing the net after a hard days stress. You can hit up your circle of trust on social media without feeling watched or being goaded by hints of items you may have glanced upon during your lunchtime tirade of crushing candies! You can’t even read your local news without having to cancel out ads for male enhancement products or some sort of wipes. It’s funny how the simple things can make you feel like a second grader on a snow day.
Life now moves with more fluidity thanks to things like ad-block plus. For those that have never heard of it, ad-block plus or ABP can block pop ups, pop undersvideo ads and a few other things while navigating, socializing on Facebook and even while locking your gaze on YouTube. (No, this is not an infomercial for adblock). ABP was created by Wladimir Palant as a hobby in 2006 and has been funded by Eyeo as “open source” since 2011. ABP has had over 300 million downloads, 50 million active monthly users and is considered the most popular browser extension for blocking ads that exists. It’s easy to use, YOU tell it what to block and it’s absolutely free.
With all of that laid out before you, it appears that ABP is definitely an A+ achievement. Of course, inevitably, someone is going to whine “it’s not fair”. It’s happening as you read this. The Titans of the internet; Google, Amazon and Microsoft among others are not happy with this at all. It’s like King Kong, Godzilla and the Kraken are all lined up throwing temper tantrums and crying because they can’t get the attention they desperately want and it’s not fair because they didn’t do nothing wrong. It brings in the memory of a little boy holding his breath to get what he wants.
Enter the “white list” into the realm. ABP does understand that some companies (especially the smaller ones) absolutely depend on their ability to advertise on the web in order to survive. As long as these companies adhere to strict criteria they can apply to be added to the exception list. Now, just because an entity’s ad is accepted doesn’t mean the end user cannot block them. You control the final settings on your machine.
The Titans, on the other hand, are being told they need to pay if they want to be “white listed”. Perhaps the opinion is that they don’t need to pop up at people to survive. The only light seen through the keyhole here is simply… money. The big companies are being told they need to fork over 30% of the revenue they predict they would lose without the advertising. In other words, if Amazon claims they would lose 10 million dollars from blocked ads, they would need to pay ABP 3 million to “unblock” them. 7 Million dollars is better than nothing, right? Well, depending how often it would have to be paid. Yearly? Monthly? Quarterly? Those details aren’t available yet.
The final questions come from the same keyhole of above. Is this Eyeo attempting to teach the giants a lesson (by going after them where it hurts)? Maybe this is the work of the Titans thinking all they need to do is whip out their checkbooks to buy their freedom or is it simply Eyeo’s way to cash in on Mr. Palant’s original “hobby”? What’s your take on it?