Eyeo, the company responsible for AdBlock Plus, is facing allegations that it has offered money to developers of popular mobile content blockers in exchange for adopting its whitelist policy.
French technology website InfoiGen is accusing Eyeo of bribing mobile content blockers in a bid to keep its business viable even as users increasingly prefer to browse the web on their mobile devices than on their desktops.
Although AdBlock Plus allows users to block all sorts of online ads, it also offers an option to allow certain Acceptable Ads, or ads that are not as obtrusive or annoying as pop-ups, banner ads and videos on auto-play.
Eyeo makes its money by letting websites pay to be allowed into the whitelist and have their ads considered Acceptable Ads so that users will still be able to see them. Some of its biggest clients paying to be included in the whitelist include Google, Facebook and Microsoft, which reportedly pay Eyeo 30 percent of the revenue they would make through unblocked ads.
However, Eyeo sees its business model at risk as the popularity of content blocker apps soar, thanks to Apple incorporating ad-blocking support into iOS 9. Just a few days after Apple released the operating system, three ad blockers became the most downloaded Apple App Store apps, giving users an all-or-nothing option to get rid of mobile ads for good.
This is where the problem lies for Eyeo, which may not be able to charge as much to whitelist advertisers if it cannot assure them that their ads will be seen across all websites. Reportedly, the company has resorted to offering developers money to have them adopt the same whitelist model it uses. The amount ranges anywhere from 1,000 euros (approximately $1,130) to 5,000 euros (approximately $5,660) per month for developers whose apps have over a million websites.
The report also claims Eyeo has promised job offers to developers who agree to create a whitelist of acceptable ads.
"I think it can be a good way to subsidize the app and allow it to reach more users," one developer says (translated).
Eyeo neither denies nor corroborates the report. Although the company tells Info iGen that there are no "partnerships" between it and developers, Eyeo spokesperson Ben Williams tells Business Insider that the company had "approached a number of independent developers who have expressed their intention to develop an iOS 9 ad blocker to see if they would consider including Acceptable Ads in their solution." No word has been said on whether an offer of money was made.