One ad blocking company wants companies to enforce ad blocking at a system-wide level

Adblock plus
Adblock Plus wants IT manager to deploy ad blocking at a company-wide level. Facebook/Adblock Plus

Adblock Plus, one of the most popular tools people use to block ads online, has announced a new feature that would allow companies’ IT and network administrators to deploy ad blocking at a company-wide level.

In a blog post, Adblock Plus outlines the benefits of ad blocking to companies as: “[cutting] down on distracting, [saving] bandwidth and [keeping] networks safe from threats like ‘malvertising’.”

IT administrators wanting to deploy Adblock Plus on their company’s computers previously would have had to install the browser extension one-by-one on each computer. But Adblock Plus says its new version 1.9 update for Chrome, Opera, and Safari will allow for “large scale deployments.”

Adblock Plus does allow some ads through its net. Publishers and digital advertising companies can work with Adblock Plus for their ads to be whitelisted and appear on an “acceptable ads” list — this includes “static ads” that are “preferably text only” and don’t obscure a page’s content.

If the publisher or ad seller is small — like a WordPress blog with two ads, for example — Adblock Plus won’t charge them to go through this process. But bigger companies pay Adblock Plus huge fees to get their ads unblocked. PageFair, a company that works with publishers to measure the cost of ad blocking, estimated earlier this month that Google lost out on $US6.6 billion in global revenue to ad blockers last year.

We have contacted Adblock Plus to ask whether there is genuine interest in installing its browser extension at a company-wide level. We will update this article once we hear back. A spokesperson for Adblock Plus told The Wall Street Journal’s CMO Today that feedback from network administrators so far suggested they were most interested in the bandwidth savings and security benefits the Adblock Plus browser extension could provide.

However, two IT network administrators Business Insider spoke to said they would not be interested in deploying Adblock Plus across their systems.

One IT consultant, who has previously worked for a global investment bank, a theme park company, and a government regulator, said ad blocking is not something that has ever come up in conversation at the companies he has worked at.

He told Business Insider: “If this came up in a CAB [change advisory board] meeting, the first question that would be asked is: What’s the business case? And the business case would need to be really good to consider freeware that would need rigorous testing that would probably involve thousands of [dollars] of man hours. And for a decent-sized business I think you would only see a relatively insignificant decrease in bandwidth use.”

Another network administrator who works at a large school told Business Insider that many business and institutions already have systems in place.

“Personally, I wouldn’t be keen on installing an add-on. I’d rather do it at the web filter level [all of our PCs connect to the internet through a web filter.] As it happens, our web filter — one that is popular amongst schools — already inspects ads and blocks they if they are inappropriate. I’m not convinced any network manager worth his salt would be interested in installing some add-on like that, to be honest,” the source told Business Insider.

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