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Amazon, Google and Microsoft escape Adblock Plus, for a price

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It's long been rumored that Google, among other companies, has been paying Adblock Plus in order to get through its filters. Now, Financial Times says that it's not only Google that's been paying the ad-blocking service to be part of its whitelisted websites, but also Microsoft, Amazon and ad platform Taboola. Adblock Plus, as you might know, is a popular Chrome and Firefox extension that blocks ads: as such, some websites that rely on advertisements for revenue haven't been too happy with it, with a handful of German publishers taking the service to court. While what these companies are doing might not sit well with some Adblock Plus users, it's not bribery and is entirely legal.

While Adblock Plus' developer, German company Eyeo, doesn't list its fees anywhere, a digital media company that talked to FT said Eyeo asks for 30 percent of the ad revenues that would otherwise not exist. Eyeo claims Adblock Plus has been downloaded 300 million times, and these tech giants' actions just prove that they're at least a bit worried that it will affect their business. Adblock Plus does whitelist other smaller websites for free, though, so long as they meet its criteria. These include being transparent and not passing off ads as content, as well as not using overly large and obnoxious advertisements that distort web pages.

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