Adblock Plus Adds Brand Clout (And Gets Clouted)

eyeo wink imgSoon after Adblock Plus (ABP) developer Eyeo revealed the publisher, brand and ad tech executives on its Acceptable Ads Committee (AAC) Wednesday, many of those members’ employers swiftly distanced themselves.

Dell, Condé Nast and Rocket Fuel are among eight companies with members on the committee. The panel would manage ad policies for Eyeo’s Acceptable Ads program, which allows whitelisted sites to show ads to ABP users and users of the ad blockers Crystal – partially owned by Eyeo – and AdBlock. Those combined users number 130 million, said Ben Williams, Eyeo’s communications and operations manager.

But Condé Nast in response Wednesday said it will “oppose the practices of Eyeo and any companies which inhibit the distribution of great content for a value exchange.” Other brands named in the AAC release distanced themselves from the program.

“This is a complex topic with lots of moving parts, and we have always taken, and will continue to take, an active role in all important industry discussions,” said Gabriel Cheng, VP of strategic growth and partnerships at M&C Saatchi Mobile and one of the new AAC members, in an email to AdExchanger.

Cheng made it clear M&C Saatchi Mobile “strongly believes that no individual body or organization has the right to restrict advertising.”

Not every member feels this way. Fran Howarth, a senior analyst at the information security firm Bloor Research, said she’s “not sure why (the Acceptable Ads program) should be so controversial,” considering the poor track record of the online advertising ecosystem balancing user concerns against brand access. “But I’m a very different kind of stakeholder in this.”

While individual committee members may not represent their employers, they are a group of heavy hitters in prominent positions across the industry, said Job Plas, Eyeo’s senior manager of global partnerships. “We were looking for people who could represent their category with authority and are willing to make a change in standard procedures for ads online.”

He expects the committee to meet for the first time in about three months to discusses AAC changes, which the panel will have 90 days to implement.

When the next iteration of the AAC is named, likely one to two years away, stakeholders from the industry categories represented will choose their replacement, thus removing ABP from the equation after its selection of the inaugural committee.

The committee include executives from Rocket Fuel, Dell, Bloor Research, M&C Saatchi Mobile, J. Walter Thompson, UC Web, Condé Nast and the digital rights group Fight for the Future, as well as one user representative who hasn’t been selected yet.

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