IAB UK – the trade body of the online ad industry – insists plans by arch-enemy Adblock Plus to launch its own ad sales platform show the company is running scared because its original model is no longer working.
The criticism follows the beta launch of the firm’s Acceptable Ads Platform, which charges online publishers commission to replace “unacceptable” ads with ones which have been approved by Adblock Plus.
IAB UK chief executive Guy Phillipson said: “Adblock Plus, who spent years as the consumer champion squashing adverts, now sell ads!
“We see the cynical move as a new string in its racket. Now it is saying to publishers ‘we took away some of your customers who didn’t want ads, and now we are selling them back to you on commission’.”
Phillipson goes on to make the bullish claim that, in the UK, ad blocking has stalled, despite others in the trade body giving only a cautious welcome to the latest figures, which show there has been no increase in the overall number of UK adults using ad blockers since February this year.
At the time the study was released, IAB UK chief strategy officer Tim Elkington insisted the industry should not claim victory against the ad-blockers. He also recognised that the research could be flawed as there is so much confusion among consumers about what is and what is not an ad blocker.
But a sabre-rattling Phillipson added: “[Ad-blocking] been stuck at 21% throughout 2016 because the premium publishers who own great content, and provide a good ad experience, hold all the cards.
“More and more of them are offering ad blocking consumers a clear choice: turn off your ad blocking software or no access to our content. And their strategy is working, with 25% to 40% turning off their blockers.
“So with its original business model running out of steam, Adblock Plus has gone full circle to get into the ad sales business.”
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