Why people who call ad blockers extortionists have got it WRONG

The internet went nuts last week after many people discovered that not only does Adblock Plus — one of the most popular ad blockers — not block all ads, but that it charges internet advertising companies and publishers to get themselves on its whitelist.

Adblock has actually been charging companies for a placement on its “Acceptable Ads” list — which means the ads abide by a policy that stipulates they must not be intrusive to the user experience.

The company won’t confirm how much it charges customers as it has individual, confidential contracts with each of the 70 or so companies it accepts payment from. Earlier this year, The Financial Times reported companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Amazon were paying Adblock a fee of “30% of the additional ad revenues” they would have made were their ads unblocked.

On one hand, you can see why the publisher and advertising community might be annoyed. Adblock has essentially erected toll booths on the internet, and the only way to prevent Adblock from siphoning off revenue is to pay at the gate.

But many people fail to look at what Adblock is doing from the polar opposite view.

The view of an Adblock Plus customer

A top executive at a company that helps publishers make money from ads, which pays a “significant” amount to Adblock each year told Business Insider it is “happy” with the partnership.

Ultimately, he thinks the benefits outweigh the costs

“Our customers asked us over the years: ‘what can we do to to help monetize blocked traffic?’ So when we were approved as part of Adblock Acceptable Ads agreement, we felt fortunate that we were adding a service. If we can provide incremental revenue because some of our customers’ ads were being blocked, then believed we were doing what we’re supposed to be doing. We’re providing value to the publishers and the users. You pay because the alternative is zero,” said the executive, who asked for neither him nor his company to be

We also asked whether he sympathized with those people who accuse Adblock of extortion because it’s charging companies to remove something that wouldn’t even be a problem if Adblock didn’t exist.

He thinks those people need to look beyond blocking and realize what Adblock has done to actually benefit (yes, benefit!) the advertising sector: “We think that Adblock helped spark a conversation about what is a good ad experience, between pop-ups, privacy, tracking, and more — which is a good thing.”