Google: we're not involved in Adblock Plus's ad network

Adblock Plus, an adblocking plugin recently unveiled as a trojan horse for a new ad network, claimed Google and AppNexus were among its partners. This is not so, according to Google and AppNexus.

Adblock Plus' announcement implied Google and independent ad tech company AppNexus would supplying the ads within the platform, but neither company says they knew anything about it. AppNexus and Google have since gone on to suspend their relationships with the ad tech firm that made the partnership claim.

"Ad Tech" refers to the vast horde of nearly-identical companies that provide nearly-identical javascript gunk that hooks ad networks to web publishers. The above basically means, unless I'm very much mistaken, something like this: Google partnered with Generic Ad Tech Provider #237623587, then Generic Ad Tech Provider #237623587 partnered with Adblock Plus, and then AdBlock Plus claimed it had partnered with Google.

A real deal with Google would have been unsettling news for web publishers. The idea of Google scheming with its own ostensible enemies, Ticketmaster-style, to let them scalp an already-captive media business? Deliciously Gibsonian and just the sort of nightmare scenario publishers are afraid of.

… Eyeo's business model is controversial, to say the least.

The company charges large entities — including Google — to get their ads whitelisted. That means that as long as their ads meet the Adblock Plus "acceptable ads" standards, their ads will still be served to Adblock Plus users (except those with the most stringent settings). Adblock Plus charges companies a fee of 30% of the additional revenue they earned by having those ads unblocked.

People in the ad community have compared this model to everything from "blackmail" to "extortion" to being like a "Mafia-like advertising network."

But it turns out that Google and AppNexus never agreed to any sort of partnership with Adblock Plus.

As it happens, though, Google and AppNexus are immediately cutting them off.

AppNexus does not work with companies like Eyeo; we regard their business practices as fundamentally harmful to the ecosystem. Essentially, Eyeo, via its Adblock product, erects toll booths on a public road and siphons off advertising dollars that should be going directly to publishers. We hold that practice in low regard.