The popular anti-tracking extension Ghostery has accused rival Adblock Plus of using a program which “extorts money” from advertisers.
Adblock Plus denied the allegation.
Ghostery was responding to Adblock Plus’ claims that the two companies are “in the same realm” and “offer a similar service.” The comparison came about after Adblock Plus was disinvited from the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) annual leadership summit, which runs from January 24-26. Ghostery CEO, Scott Meyer, is allowed to attend the event.
Meyer said in a statement: “When lumping Ghostery in with Adblock Plus, they conveniently forget to mention their business model is completely different from ours. They rely on the sketchy “Acceptable Ads” program. Acceptable Ads essentially extorts money from the advertisers whose ads are blocked by their tool. Unless users know to opt out of it, this program lets companies pay Adblock Plus to undo the blocking preferences consumers set.”
He added: “Ghostery, by comparison, does not receive any monetary gain from blocking any technology nor from undoing preferences the user thinks they have set.” (Ghostery’s parent company, Evidon, does receive money from advertisers when Evidon sells those advertisers data on Ghostery users.)
Ben Willams, operations and communications manager at Adblock Plus, responded in an email to Business Insider: “What we’re doing isn’t extortion. No one has to take part in Acceptable Ads, and those that do have to maintain criteria for better ads. Furthermore, Acceptable Ads is constantly improving — we just improved the criteria and are looking forward to giving control over to an independent committee.”
The IAB hosts the biggest names in the digital-advertising industry: Google, Facebook, Twitter, online publishers, and ad-tech companies all attend. Adblock Plus had been on the attendee list and it attended the event last year. However, without much explanation, the ad blocking company received an email informing them that their registration fee was being returned and its registration had been canceled.
Adblock Plus later suggested on their blog that they had their registration canceled because of their threat towards the online advertising industry. The blog said: “Disallowing Adblock Plus from attending your event solves nothing. We will proceed to work with others to build a sustainable monetisation model for the Internet.”
Adblock plus were baffled that Ghostery CEO, Scott Meyer, was able to attend the IAB summit. The Ghostery extension allows users to block companies from tracking their browsing data. This prevents targeted advertising.
Adblock Plus spokesman Ben Williams told Ad Age that “Ghostery is in the same realm” as Adblock Plus and that it “offers similar services.”
“I can’t presume as to why they are still attending and why we aren’t. I wish them the best and I also wish that I could still be present.” Mr. Williams added.
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