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Adblock Plus Will Soon Block Fewer Ads

AdBlock Plus, the popular ad-blocking plugin for Firefox and Chrome, will soon stop blocking “non-intrusive” ads by default. AdBlock Plus, of course, became as popular as it is today because it scrubbed websites from intrusive, loud ads and pop-ups that can make surfing the web such a hassle if you mistakenly end up on the wrong site.

According to an announcement by the plugin’s developer Wladimir Palant, the idea behind this change is to allow users to “support websites that rely on advertising but choose to do it in a non-intrusive way. […] In the long term the web will become a better place for everybody, not only Adblock Plus users. Without this feature we run the danger that increasing Adblock Plus usage will make small websites unsustainable.”

The news went mostly unnoticed last week, but was widely disseminated on sites like Reddit and Hacker News in the last 24 hours.

As a publishers who relies on ads to monetize this site, I obviously agree with his sentiment. Most AdBlock Plus users, however, seem to disagree with this change.

What’s Makes an Ad Non-Intrusive?

According to Palant’s policies, static advertisements without animations and sound and text ads will qualify for inclusion in this whitelist. Advertisers will also have to support Do Not Track, though this feature isn’t turned on in the development versions of the plugin yet.

According to AdBlock Plus’ announcement, the team has made “agreements with some websites and advertisers that only advertising matching our criteria will be used.” It’s not clear if any money exchanged in return for placement on the whitelist.

On by Default

By default, this whitelist will be on. Palant argues that users would never turn this feature on if it wasn’t the default setting. Advertisers, however, “will only be interested in switching to better ways of advertising if the majority of Adblock Plus users has this feature enabled.” Users can, of course, disable this feature at any time or manage their own personal whitelist as well (and we would appreciate if you added this site to yours…).

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