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Adblock Plus is launching an ad exchange

Eyeo GmbH, the company behind the popular online ad blocking software Adblock Plus, said it is launching an online advertising service to help marketers place “acceptable” ads before users with ad blocking technology turned on.

Eyeo is joining with ad tech firm ComboTag to create an automated ad marketplace, often referred to as an ad exchange, the companies said. Publishers can sign up for the marketplace, called the “Acceptable Ads Platform,” and use it to sell and place ad space on their webpages. 

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“Acceptable ads” are allowed to pass through Adblock Plus’s filters by default, provided they aren’t too intrusive or disruptive to users, it said.

The Acceptable Ads Platform will contain only ads that abide by its Acceptable Ads criteria, which dictate the size, placement and labeling of ads, Eyeo said.

Alphabet Inc.’s Google and ad tech specialist AppNexus also will have a hand in helping to sell ad space from the new platform, by offering it up to potential buyers through their own online ad exchanges.

All of the companies in the chain, including Eyeo, ComboTag, Google and AppNexus will take a cut of the revenue generated from the ads they help to sell and place on publishers’ sites through the program. The remainder will be passed to publishers, Eyeo said.

In a statement, Google said, “We review the validity and quality of inventory made available on our platform, but have no knowledge of ComboTag or Eyeo’s SSP arrangements.”

An AppNexus spokesperson confirmed that the company is helping to sell ad space from the Acceptable Ads Platform across its platform. Ad buying behemoth WPP has an ownership stake in both AppNexus and ComboTag.

Many publishers have railed against ad blocking as a technology that robs them of ad revenue. Some industry executives have had harsh words for Adblock Plus, whose business model they say effectively involves putting up a barrier to ads on publishers’ sites, and then asking for payment to take that barrier down.

Eyeo disputes that assessment and says it is just looking out for the best interests of web users who are tired of being overwhelmed by internet advertising that slows down their web surfing and pitches products they don’t want. The company is billing its new ad exchange as a way to help publishers recoup ad revenues lost because of ad blocking, by “monetising ad blocker users with alternative, less intrusive ads.”

Read the rest of this story at WSJ.

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