Popular iOS Ad-Blockers Charge Advertisers For Access To Your Eyeballs

Image courtesy of Ann Fisher

Now that ad-blockers are available for Apple’s iOS phone and tablet platform, the ad industry is nervous. Yet not as nervous as it could be: adding ad-blockers to iDevices is just an extension of how ad-blocking works on your desktop. Depending on which extension or app you use, advertisers may be paying the developer for access to your screen.

The developer of the popular Adblock Plus extension actually has a side business in helping other ad-blockers decide which ads to let through. It’s called the “Acceptable Ads Program” or “non-intrusive advertising,” and it’s turned on by default. Users can choose to opt out of the program.

One popular blocking app, Crystal, has struck this kind of deal with Eyeo GmbH, the maker of AdBlock Plus. There are about 70 companies that make ad-blockers and have similar deals. The developers make money on both ends: iOS users pay developers for the apps, and then the developers also receive a flat monthly payments from Eyeo in exchange for unblocking some ads. Eyeo company charges publishers whose ads are found to be “acceptable” a percentage of the revenue that they make from ads that would have been blocked, which has been reported to be around 30%.

A few years ago, an Eyeo representative explained to public radio program “On The Media” that they weren’t seeking out publishers to take part in the program and running a protection racket. “It’s not like we have a sales force that is pushing the companies to become our client. That is not how it works,” he said. Ads that are “acceptable” have to meet stringent requirements. Yet isn’t the point of installing an ad-blocker that you don’t want to see any ads?

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