The maker of a free browser plug-in that prevents ads from appearing on web pages just won a court case filed against it by news websites. But the publishers maintain it still leaves open the question of Adblock Plus’ business model.
German startup Eyeo, the company behind Adblock Plus, had been sued by the owners of Germany’s Die Zeit and Handelsblatt who claimed the product was anti-competitive and threatened their businesses. But BBC News reports that the court in Hamburg ruled that users do have the right to use the software.
On the company blog, Adblock Plus’ Ben Williams writes, “Now that the legalities are out of the way, we want to reach out to other publishers and advertisers and content creators and encourage them to work with Adblock Plus rather than against us.”
But it’s that last concept that seems unlikely, as the publishers say they may appeal, and that their motivation was to challenge Eyeo’s wider business model: allegedly charging fees to allow certain ads to be included on a “whitelist” that isn’t filtered. Eyeo does say it has an “Acceptable Ads exception list.”
In February, the Financial Times reported that Amazon, Microsoft and Google were among a handful of large companies that it had confirmed were paying to have their websites whitelisted in Adblock Plus. At the time, Microsoft told the FT on the unblocking of Bing search ads that it, “will always give consumers choice when it comes to advertisements.” Amazon had declined to comment.