Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Another court, another (obvious) win for ad blocking ... and Acceptable Ads too · 2015-05-27 16:16 by Ben Williams

We hate to keep reporting yawn-inducing, self-evident news – but it’s our duty to inform you that ad blocking has been found 100 percent legal (again). This time the court weighed in on our Acceptable Ads initiative as well … and it turns out that’s OK, too.

As readers of this blog will remember, just a month ago a group of (gigantic) German publishers took us to court in Hamburg because they thought ad blocking should be outlawed. Well, a second group of giants, this time from TV, came to Munich with similar complaints. The difference is that the Munich case was a little more complicated. The publishers who sued us this time also attacked our Acceptable Ads initiative.

The reaction of the court was just the same though: ad blocking is just fine.

For those of you interested in the details, here’s a quick rundown of the facts:

  • The plaintiffs (the parties that sued us) are Pro 7/Sat 1 and RTL Interactive. These companies are large television broadcasters with many websites. The defendant is Eyeo GmbH (the company that administers Adblock Plus).
  • The lawsuit charged that users should not be allowed to block ads on their sites, and that we should not be allowed to offer our Acceptable Ads initiative.
  • The Munich judge ruled against the plaintiffs and in favor of Adblock Plus, upholding the right of Adblock Plus users everywhere to continue to block annoying ads and protect their privacy, as well as our right to continue to encourage better ads through our Acceptable Ads initiative.

Hairy lawsuits aside, now it’s time for us to concentrate on more important things like our new Adblock Browser. It’s also time to again invite publishers and advertisers to help us make nonintrusive ads that users accept.

As usual, you know where to find us.

Comment [10]

  1. tonykeywest · 2015-05-27 20:05 · #

    free speech gives you the right to speak and publish whatever you want but it does not mean I have to accept it. Make tasteful un-annoying ads and then I may loook at them.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Couldn’t have said it better myself: “tasteful, unannoying ads” are exactly what we want to encourage with Acceptable Ads.

  2. Ruya · 2015-05-28 00:25 · #

    It’s funny how most web companies have allowed their users to suffer at the hands of increasingly invasive advertising tactics in an effort to milk them for profits and now they’re suddenly crying like it’s ABP’s fault they’re losing money.

    They need to take a step back for a moment and look at the state of todays web advertising; Popup’s which lock out entire pages, scripts which bring browsing to a crawl, autoplaying video/audio, malicious malvertising servers infecting thousands, lewd clickbait imagery everywhere etc.

    We’re tracked across the web and where possible our every click is analysed and stored in order to target us in the future. We’re scammed and spammed with fake download buttons or “Lucky 1 millionth visitor” bullsh*t constantly and web sites happily fascilitate these practices… Yet they think it should be illegal for us to secure our own browser against this aggressive behaviour.

    You only have yourselves to blame.. Save your money fighting ABP and instead use it to fight for a better web with acceptable ads where we don’t need this software. Long live Adblock Plus et al.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Preach! Awesome, thanks for the support!

  3. pietje · 2015-05-28 10:54 · #

    I would suggest to make a special boycot list with everything on it from these companies :)

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Ha! Nah, wouldn’t want to keep people from content, but thanks for the comment!

  4. Peter · 2015-05-28 22:23 · #

    Don’t they understand that if people don’t want ads, then they don’t want ads? Even if they’d get away with these coercive tactics, users that don’t want ads would still use the hosts file method to block ads, disable javascript and disable image loading, etc.

    What about mobile users or internet users with monthly bandwidth limits that just want to surf the web without having to use their valuable remaining quota to load undesired advertisements that eat up to 5mb or even 15mb with some video ads? And that’s each ad, some pages have multiple ads with the biggest record on my end hitting 65 ads in a single page, most of which were hidden.

    Or even users that are tired of visiting websites that take longer than they should to load because of snail scripted ads, same issue that is caused by the plague of share buttons/addthis and so on.

    It’s nonsense and those people should be demanded to pay compensation for the trouble they put you through, even better; they should be sued for harassment/stalking and menancing through exploitation via the legal system.

    If anything they should be asking you for help on how to make their ads better and reach more viewers, learn how to gain our trust again after years and years of horrendous tactics to get misclicks or our attention via autoplaying loud, repugnant and obnoxious ads.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks for the support! Something that stuck out to me in your comment: 65 ads on a single page? Geez, beats my record. Did you try suing the page? ;)

  5. Rob · 2015-05-29 03:21 · #

    Wheyey wait a sec… why you makin’ money from dat initiative you talkin’ about?

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    So we can keep the initiative going, not to mention stay viable. But keep in mind that 90 percent of those on the whitelist are there completely free and the criteria are the same for everyone. Want to make sure we’re keeping criteria sacred? See every whitelisting proposal here:

  6. Elroy · 2015-05-29 17:42 · #

    Why do theses stupid German frankfurters keep bashing you all? I really hate people who hate Adblockers; we have the right to use them. Like they make the human race extinct.

    Without Adblock Plus, I would have to see pornographic and inappropriate ads in my journey of the Internet, Thanks Adblock Plus! May your legal battle be filled with successes.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Thanks for the support!

  7. Robert Evans · 2015-06-02 05:21 · #

    A friend recently told me about your free service (Voluntary donations or mention on Facebook etc.,) and I downloaded it and was pleasantly surprised to be suddenly free of these annoying ads (especially my email site) that brought my old laptop to a crawl. I had sworn I’d never click on any on any ad. Had advertisers been reasonable there would have been on need for an Adblocker program, but they are not. No doubt the various sites jam as many ads as possible on the page as they want all that lovely revenue, but they were just being too greedy and are essentially killing the goose that lays the golden egg because more and more people will install Adblocker.
    I do have one complaint though, not long after I installed Adblocker I got that option from you of allowing some unobtrusive ads. Okay, so I thought that was reasonable. I figured that since companies couldn’t beat you in court they’d probably offer you some money to let some ads through. Again, this is a very reasonable compromise, but (and perhaps just me because of my old computer) but since then I feel I am right back where I was: My email is slow again d freezing up sometimes just as before. When I switch back and forth between ‘sent’ mail, ‘incoming’. mail, ‘drafts’ etc., new ads pop up each time slowing everything down. I wouldn’t mind if a few ads only appeared once as I opened the email. So I just now switched back to ad free mode.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Adblock Plus actually never has blocked email ads. However, regarding pop-ups we have never and WILL NEVER whitelist anything even remotely resembling one. No way. Maybe you have malware? Do you have other extensions that potentially bundled other things when you downloaded them?

    Of course, if you want to turn off Acceptable Ads anyway that’s totally up to you. Just remember that it’s not companies paying us off to get on the whitelist: 90 percent are on there completely free of charge and all whitelisters (also the 10 percent who pay!) have to abide by these criteria: No exceptions — and absolutely no pop-ups :)

  8. please · 2015-06-02 08:26 · #

    Great sharing topic

  9. Ralph · 2015-06-03 13:23 · #

    Don’t you think guys, that the more we block ads, the more irritating they become? Websites owners, are forced to use ads because they can;t keep them alive without funds, but the more we, users block adse the more they need to place on site!

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Absolutely! It’s a vicious cycle.

  10. P E Rhodes · 2015-06-20 13:38 · #

    I agree with the statement

Commenting is closed for this article.