Popular adblocking extension, Adblock Plus is being sued in Germany. Media companies have banded together, arguing that Adblock Plus is affecting revenue by blocking ads.
Adblock Plus acknowledges the lawsuit and provided the following statement:
“We’ve received one lawsuit, but if what is being alleged in the press proves true we may well expect a few more. We view this situation with relative calm given that already in 2004 the Federal Court of Justice, Germany’s highest court, confirmed the general legality of adblocking with a ruling regarding blocking ads on television. In addition, just last year the District Court of Hamburg essentially validated our specific model after a huge publisher withdrew a case directed against Adblock Plus.
Adblock Plus will continue to represent the end-user by providing a tool that helps put the Internet back into his or her hands. At the same time we will endeavor to work with publishers, insofar as they permit us to, in order to encourage unobtrusive ads and a sustainable Internet ecosystem.”
Note that the company doesn’t want to get rid of ads, it just wants them to be “unobtrusive.” In fact, the company admits to being paid by bigger companies to whitelist their ads. Search giant Google is one of the paying companies. Adblock Plus estimates that only about 10% of companies actually pay.
This controversial whitelisting will undoubtedly play a role in the lawsuit.