Adblock Plus is a very popular browser extension for both Chrome and Firefox, which automatically blocks web advertising on all websites.
However, Austrian news site Horizont reported that Google, amongst other companies, are paying Adblock Plus (and their parent company Eyeo) in order to ensure that their ads are displayed to those who are using the extension, by being included on their "whitelist" of allowable online advertising.
Adblock Plus, on their website, states that they do charge some companies for the white listing, in order to support the service.
Do companies pay you for being added to the list?
Whitelisting is free for all small websites and blogs. However, managing this list requires significant effort on our side and this task cannot be completely taken over by volunteers as it happens with common filter lists. That's why we are being paid by some larger properties that serve nonintrusive advertisements that want to participate in the Acceptable Ads initiative.
It isn't really surprising that Google is paying to the whitelisted. For starters, it is a loss of revenue for Google.
Beyond that, advertisers want to be able to reach the users to utilize extensions such as Adblock Plus, so there is the motivation by Google to ensure that their advertisers are happy and can get their ads displayed in front of the users they want to on the sites they want to.
However, it does start a slippery slope of what kind of fees they will accept for ads to appear even with Adblock Plus in use. For example, if the price is right, would they accept any advertiser who wanted their spammy advertising to appear?
There's been no word from Adblock Plus or Google so far on the fact Google seems to be paying to be whitelisted.
Earlier this year, Google kicked Adblock Plus out of Google Play store due to a policy violation.
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