Blog Post

German online publishers’ anti-adblock campaign backfires

Some of the biggest German online publishers, including, Golem and the websites of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Zeit weekly, went public with a plea for their users to reconsider ad blocking software this week. Users who are visiting participating sites with an adblock-plugin are being greeted with a special banner that asks them to disable the plugin, or add an exception for the site in question.

Now it looks as if the campaign is having some unintended consequences: Adblock Plus, the maker of a popular browser plugin meant to suppress ads, thanked participating publishers on Twitter Tuesday for the unexpected publicity:

The makers of Adblock Plus also took to their blog Monday to respond to the publishers’ campaign, claiming that the company was “part of the solution, not the problem.” In a German-language blog entry, it went on to say:

“We are fully aware that good journalism is being financed through advertising (…) The problem are annoying ads that ignore the interests of users.”

The Adblock Plus makers started their own initiative for acceptable online advertising in 2011, which crowdsources the review of non-intrusive ad-formats, with the goal of making its software display some of these ads.

Adblock Plus claims to have close to 10 million active users in Germany alone. said on Monday that around 25 percent of its users utilize adblock software, and that it would’t be able to sustain its operations and pay its staff of 140 editors if this trend continued.

It’s uncertain however whether the campaign will really reach the targeted audience. Adblock Plus said on Monday that it has already begun to block the banners that ask people to turn of their ad-blocking software.

6 Responses to “German online publishers’ anti-adblock campaign backfires”

  1. I love it! I wish I had the technical competency to assist, in a contributory fashion; because I am so encouraged by those with specific skill-sets who use them to battle on behalf of real victims. My family and I are victims of the internet’s abusers, just like millions and millions of others. “Abusers”, who, like all other criminals (telemarketers, used car salesmen, scammers and frauds) find their way into our lives having one intent, and one intent only: To take over and control a targeted domain, public or private, for the sole purpose of self-enrichment at the expense of innocent victims.

  2. digihuman

    I use Adblock because almost all video adverts nowadays are loud, repetitive and intrusive. Similarly, most non-video adverts now take the form of ‘games’, false warnings and fake download buttons to scam you and in worst case scenarios give you viruses. If someone wants to make money from their work then by all means I support you, but not if you use such despicable means. Sites like Blip have outsmarted AdBlock for now, but advertising is not a viable way to make people money.

    Not to mention, if you’re only making videos for money, you’re not doing it right.

    • macertx

      You’re right , one of my friends caught a virus by … clicking on a big play button for an ad that was in the middle of the screen where a video was supposed to play. The bottom of the screen displayed the usual “your video will start in xx seconds” but in really small fonts ! The sides of the page had other distracting ads as well. There are people who click anywhere without reading what’s displayed unfortunately (or fortunately if you make a living off of anti-malware software )