Recruiting for the user seat in the committee starts… now!
It’s been a pretty hectic time at work lately. After months of meetings, hundreds of interviews and with over a thousand candidates researched, the day has come: eyeo (parent of Adblock Plus among others) has announced the first members of the Acceptable Ads Committee (AAC). The newly-formed independent committee will take over governance of the Acceptable Ads program that eyeo launched over five years ago.
A bit of backgroundThe program launched in 2011, when Adblock Plus introduced the concept of acceptable ads: those ads that weren’t obnoxious and wouldn’t obstruct the natural reading flow were permitted to be displayed to consenting Adblock Plus users. Managed by eyeo, the program sought to bridge gap between users and publishers who met the criteria outlined at //acceptableads.com/about/criteria.
What’s the status todayThe control over the Acceptable Ads program and its management will be officially handled to an independent committee (the AAC) of a maximum of eleven members representing nine types of stakeholders, including, for the very first time, actual consumers.
image credit: eyeo
Out of the 11 seats in the committee, eight have already been filled and three are still pending appointment. Needed clarification: eyeo has facilitated the formation of the AAC but this will be a self-governing body and will seat future committees once the first mandate expires.
Personally, I think the biggest win here is that users will finally be given a voice. As someone who’s been intensely preoccupied by matters of user privacy and rights while having worked in the digital advertising industry for over a decade, I believe that the vastly complex advertising ecosystem needs to work on regaining users’ trust and do right by them. Hearing them out – directly or through digital rights organizations – would be a first step towards ensuring that the AAC won’t turn out to be yet another echo chamber for the ad industry.
What will the AAC do?The Acceptable Ads Committee will effectively take over and manage the Acceptable Ads criteria and the resulting whitelisting rules. These whitelisting rules are used by ad blockers abiding by the Acceptable Ads standards (Adblock Plus, AdBlock, Adblock Browser, Crystal) in order to offer their users the possibility to block bad ads while allowing the better ones to be viewed and monetize the websites where they’re displayed. Effectively, the AAC is tasked with seeking out the elusive balance between what’s right for the users and the publishers’ need to monetize through advertising.
Set as a nonprofit organization, the AAC bylaws can be read in full here; for everything else, start from acceptableads.com or drop me a line and I’ll put you in touch with the right person to answer your questions.