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Nov. 6, 2015, 12:09 p.m.
Business Models
LINK:  ➚   |   Posted by: Joseph Lichterman   |   November 6, 2015

Warring factions met for peace talks of sorts this week at a hotel in New York City, as Eyeo, the company that runs Adblock Plus, the world’s most popular ad blocker, assembled a group of publishers, advertising agencies, and academics for initial discussions on how all the parties can co-exist. The meeting was dubbed #CampDavid.

The attendees discussed Eyeo’s Acceptable Ads program, which lets advertisers pay Eyeo to whitelist their ads. Until now, Eyeo has offered little transparency into how it decides what ads are acceptable. In September, after defeating a legal challenge from the German publisher Axel Springer, Eyeo said it was going to set up an independent board to determine what ads could be whitelisted.

In its invitation to the #CampDavid event, Eyeo said it wanted to engage with “publishers and others about what we can do to improve advertising and the Internet for all,” Mashable reported. In its coverage of the meeting, Mashable wrote:

Tough questions were asked, but no heated debates broke out, and Eyeo gave the impression that it was genuinely interested in productive discussion, rather than a simple sales pitch for its acceptable-ads program.

In a Medium post, New School professor David Carroll said Eyeo presented preliminary definitions of what it considers non intrusive ads:

1. Advertisements cannot contain animations, sounds, or “attention- grabbing” images.

2. Advertisements cannot obscure page content or obstruct reading flow, i.e., the ad cannot be placed in the middle of a block of text.

3. Advertisements must be clearly distinguished from the page content and must be labeled using the word “advertisement” or equivalent terms.

4. Banner advertisements should not force the user to scroll down to view the page content.

Still, two significant industry groups — the Interactive Advertising Bureau and Digital Content Next — didn’t attend the meeting, Mashable reported. Jason Kint, Digital Content Next’s CEO, explained why he wasn’t attending the meeting in a blog post last week:

Like many in the industry, I have always been concerned by the reports of Eyeo profiting from selling whitelisting of ads into AdBlock Plus. Their majority owner, who benefits the most from these sales, broke it down in some detail a year before the industry press erupted. Frankly, I see this practice as benefiting their owners possibly even at the expense of consumers. At minimum, it rightly creates a lot of questions about who is really looking out for the consumers.

Photo of Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev at the 1985 Geneva summit via the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

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