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May 3, 2016, 12:33 p.m.
Business Models
LINK: adblockplus.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Ricardo Bilton   |   May 3, 2016

For years, AdBlock Plus has made its cash by preventing publishers from making theirs. With its latest move, it’s trying to turn that around.

Eyeo, AdBlock Plus’s German parent company, is introducing a new program that would let users pay the websites they visit. Each month, users will specify how much money they want to dole out to websites, which will get a share of the cash based on how frequently the user engages with them. (Publishers have to sign up to get part of the cut.) The product will “revolutionize web monetization,” promises AdBlock Plus communications and operations head Ben Williams.

Here’s AdBlock Plus’s explanation of how it works:

You decide how much you want to commit to the web ecosystem, and the Flattr Plus algorithm automatically apportions that to the websites you engaged with the most. That’s it! You don’t have to push any buttons, enter any bank info, decide to fund this article and not that one — nothing. You just surf like normal.

On the website/publisher side it’s just as easy. To receive payments you literally need to take five minutes to sign up. There are no tags or logos placed on your website — you just start getting free money.

Publishers aren’t the only ones to make money, however. The program also means more cash for AdBlock Plus and its partner payments company Flattr, which will keep 10 percent of the proceeds. (What, you thought AdBlock Plus was doing this out of the kindness of its heart?)

This is also not a new idea: As far back as 2009, Kachingle was pushing a similar model. Previous attempts have floundered because publishers, unsurprisingly, were not excited about outsourcing their reader revenue strategy to another company.

Oddly enough, Flattr cofounder Peter Sunde is also one of the creators of torrents The Pirate Bay, a juicy and ethically dubious connection that AdBlock Plus detractors such as Internet Advertising Bureau president and CEO Randall Rothenberg couldn’t help but pounce on.

AdBlock Plus says its goal this year is to help publishers make $500 million — a number based on the idea of getting 10 million people to pay for what’s already free on the Internet. Whether users will be willing to play along has yet to be determined.

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