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Podcast: Adblock Plus Soldiers On


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Eyeo and its Adblock Plus browser extension don’t grab the headlines they did in 2015 and 2016, when ad blocking rates in the US and Europe surpassed 20% of desktop users. But mobile ad blocking failed to meet doomsayers’ warnings.

Still, the company has pressed ahead with its strategy to give users more control over their ad environment, including in mobile. Of the 100 million active devices that use Adblock Plus, about 10 million are phones and tablets.

“More people have become aware that [mobile ad blocking] exists as an option,” says Till Faida, CEO of Eyeo, in the latest episode of AdExchanger Talks. “The No. 1 reason people don’t install an ad blocker is they don’t know this option exists.”

Eyeo employs 100 people and has been profitable for five years. Almost all of its revenue comes from Acceptable Ads, a monetization program that allows ads that meet its standards to be served on publishers and ad networks that pay it a 30% rev share.

“This program can only work if we create this perfect balance between sufficient monetization opportunities for publishers and our partners, at the same time that the users stay on board,” Faida said. “The user is always in full control.”

Adblock Plus faces a new challenge from Google, incidentally its largest customer, which is preparing to introduce native support for ad blocking in its Chrome browser.

Faida says Google deserves some credit for taking action, and calls the feature “more of an advanced pop-up blocker” than a holistic ad control system.

“There’s a variety of ads many users find intrusive that will not be blocked by the native ad filter, and consumers will always need solutions like Adblock Plus to protect themselves,” he says.

Also in this episode: Eyeo’s ad tech road map, its court victories and the IAB’s failure on the ad blocking issue.

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