Eyeo apparently did not immediately plan to cooperate with advertising networks when it launched its nonintrusive ads program. In 2011, one of the company's co-founders was quoted saying that Eyeo had been wrongly accused of collaborating with Google, adding that Eyeo did not want to support large advertising networks.
Since then, things surely changed. While whitelisting is free for small websites and blogs, Eyeo is being paid by "some larger properties that serve non-intrusive advertisements" and want to participate in the acceptable ads program, according to its website. This helps pay the bills and wages for the company's 36 employees who keep the service up and running.
About 90 percent of the entities on the whitelist don't pay, and those who pay have to abide by the same rules as non-payers, Eyeo's spokesman said.
The company is secretive about who is paying to get their ads shown, though. A company spokesman declined to name any of the companies who pay, citing contractual reasons. Whether Google is paying or not, search ads on google.com and sites participating in Google's AdSense for Search program were whitelisted in June 2013.
Since then, there have been many rumors about how much Eyeo gets paid by companies like Google. Eyeo's spokesman declined to discuss this, but according to the Financial Times, companies pay 30 percent of additional ad revenue that they would make from being unblocked.
It is quite possible that ad blockers cause revenue loss. The German Bundesverband Digitale Wirtschaft (BVDW), an organization that represents the interests of companies in the field of interactive marketing, estimates that 20 percent to 25 percent of ad traffic on German sites is being blocked by ad blockers.
That is the reason several German media companies, including Axel Springer and IP Deutschland, the company behind RTL, have sued Eyeo, demanding damages. They claim AdBlock Plus hurts their ad-based business model. Those suits are still ongoing and the media companies involved declined to comment.
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