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AdBlock Plus Wants to Host Peace Talks Between Internet Users and Advertisers

What happens to the web when all ads are blocked?

by Nicholas Deleon
Sep 14 2015, 6:31pm

Image: John Ward/Flickr

Eyeo, the German parent company of Adblock Plus, plans to host a "roundtable discussion" within the next year where advertisers and everyday internet users can discuss what the next-generation of acceptable ads look like, Eyeo's Ben Williams told Motherboard this morning. The conference does not have an exact date, but is something the company is already working with advertising industry stakeholders to develop.

"We really want to get people's input as we move forward," Williams said, noting that British advertising group IAB UK has already expressed interest with getting involved in the process. "We have all sorts of ideas in mind with how we take the criteria [of acceptable ads] to the next level."

When Motherboard suggested that this sounds an awful lot like the Yalta Conference, where the Allied Powers met in the closing months of World War II to plan the post-war world order, Williams conceded that Eyeo is informally comparing the planned event to the Camp David peace accords.

"#CampDavid is how we were thinking of putting it out there," Williams said.

Potentially at stake is the fate of the commercial internet as we know it, and the countless number of free websites (including Motherboard) that depend upon advertising. (The online advertising industry's total value reached $49.5 billion in revenue in the US in 2014.) Eyeo's products—its first, Adblock Plus, was released for Firefox in 2006—block these ads, in part because these ads are frequently intrusive and potentially dangerous. The key now is to figure out what kinds of ads will pay these websites' bills while not creating a poor user experience.

"We can't solve the entire ad mess in one fell swoop," Williams said. "We're going to need a lot of people to get on board with the idea of non-intrusive ads in order for it to take off."

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