Over 300 companies, including Amazon, Google, and Taboola, are now paying Adblock Plus to let their ads through.
Adblock Plus, currently the most popular browser extension for blocking unsolicited advertisements, is a free service that has had more than 300 million downloads, according to their website. They claim to be able to block video ads, popups, and banners from appearing on websites.
Since 2011, Adblock Plus has operated a “whitelist,” a list of acceptable advertisements based on a number of criteria. Ads from companies on the whitelist are allowed through the blocking software.
Most companies can join Adblock’s whitelist for free, but Eyeo, the company behind the software, is now selling the option to bigger advertisers – including Microsoft, Taboola, Google, and Amazon – for a fee equal to “30% of the additional revenues it would make from being unblocked.”
Eyeo claims that its Adblock Plus has more than 50 million active users.
Many businesses rely on advertising for revenue, which has led to heated debates over whether or not ad-blocking software is ethical. There were even rumors that Microsoft had plans to sue the makers of Adblock Plus, although there is no evidence that such a lawsuit ever occurred.
As for how much web giants like Microsoft are being asked to pay to have their ads pushed through, Eyeos has declined to say.