Adblock-Plus banned from marketing itself

So it’s happy birthday to Adblock-Plus. The most famous adblocker of them all, it was first written as a Firefox plug-in back in 2006. As Adblocker-Plus hits adolescence, it has passed the 500-million download mark.

This has plenty to do with content marketing. The rise of adblockers is effectively choking off the old display-advertising model and presenting a massive challenge to publishers’ revenue models.

Stating the obvious. There are two possible outcomes from this. Firstly, it will see traditional media pared back. Secondly, it will drive brands towards non-advertising models such as apps and content marketing.

That’s not to say the game is over. At the moment, the publishing and advertising industries are putting up a struggle. But their efforts call to mind a crocodile wriggling as a means to avoid being swallowed by a python. Ultimately, there a few reasons to uninstall an adblocker while the more people who have them, the more who are likely to follow.

For evidence of the fear, Adblock-Plus has been denied access to the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual conference, despite actually buying a ticket.

According to the Adblock-Plus blog, one of its reasons for attending the jamboree is to advise agencies and brands on how to get on to its ‘recommended advertiser‘ list. In case you’ve forgotten, you can buy your way on to its advertiser white-list if you comply with a set of guidelines. These include not putting ads in the middle of the copy and ensuring they take up less than 25 per cent of the page.

Marketers should also be aware of guidelines concerning native advertising. Content has to be marked as such – though it’s difficult to see how this can be enforced when it’s not served through an ad server.

Meanwhile, other forms of crocodile wriggling are taking place. Forbes and CityAM have barred access to content for adblock-enabled browsers, while Axel Springer’s Bild tabloid  took the step of banning adblockers from accessing its site. The latter offers an ‘ad-lite’ experience for a small fee.

And it’s about more than user experience. What is frequently forgotten is that online ads regularly contain malware and take up data. The continued use of Flash is an indication that many have not changed in approach for a decade.


Adblock-Plus banned from marketing itself  is part of Content24, the online magazine for London content marketing agency FirstWord.

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