We are happy to announce that Acceptable Ads has turned 10. Years ago, when this all started, it was not so obvious we’d manage to get to the current moment, but we have. Thus, we’d like to take this opportunity to recap a bit of how we got here and what’s happening now that fills us with excitement for starting the next decade.
In 2011, CEO and co-founder of eyeo, Till Faida, along with chairman and investment angel Tim Schumacher, and Adblock Plus developer Wladimir Palant took Palant’s highly successful ad blocker and turned it into a bet for a sustainable online future. Bet, because it was a serious risk. Palant could have gone a number of ways with the technology that he was developing––he had huge success from the get-go––but he and Faida had the idea that easy solutions would not have a profound impact on the state of the internet as a whole. They wanted to enable a fair and open culture online.
You’ve heard of peanut butter and jelly, right? Well ad blocking without a fair monetization solution to enable content creators to earn a living from what they create would be like having a simple jelly sandwich. If you only have the capability to block advertisements without giving something back to publishers and advertisers, then the whole system collapses. If content cannot be funded with advertising, then that content will disappear behind paywalls and memberships, i.e. the free web could not sustain itself. That’s what these guys saw when starting eyeo: that there was a balance between all sides, and blocking ads was only a short-term solution, a band aid to stop a hemorrhage. Because the system itself was broken. Online advertising had gotten completely out of control, with bigger, louder, and wilder tactics being used to get return on ad spend.
Thus, Acceptable Ads was born at eyeo and became the crucial element in establishing a sustainable vision for the online world, enabling fair monetization for every stakeholder. The ability to block and filter intrusive ads was merged with creating a standard for better ad types that benefits users and advertisers alike.
Now, 10 years later, it’s obvious that this bet was the correct one, though of course it was only an idea back in 2011. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich of an idea.
100 and 200 million users, and reaching the 10,000 partner websites plateau
Back in 2016, Acceptable Ads had its first major milestone, cracking the 100 million-user mark. But if that wasn’t enough, over the course of the next year and a half, we also reached the goal of partnering with 10,000 partner websites.
What’s so representative of this period, is that it’s aptly reflective of our vision. It represents a huge milestone for putting users in control of their online experience: reaching 100 million users, apart from showing us we were on the right track, or serving as a sign for our growing success, was indicative of us getting enough size as a company to really have an impact. It was always clear to us that to change the way the internet and advertising work, we needed to get a lot of people on our side. Thus, this 100 also meant we were interesting for many publishers, publishers who decided Acceptable Ads was not just a good idea in theory, but a viable one, and we were soon working with over 10,000 partner websites.
These numbers had a synergy and propelled our idea of sustainably catering to all stakeholders in the online ecosystem to a new level. The momentum and growth took off at that point, and by 2020, we were at over 200 million users who relied on Acceptable Ads for an improved browsing experience.
Today, that number is peaking beyond the threshold of 225 million and of course still growing.
The ultimate effect, though, of those above numbers, was that it brought us to today, and to finally having the size and resources to offer our first dedicated advertiser solution, Trestle. After eclipsing the 200-million mark, we realized that we could take the next crucial step in the vision of inclusion and sustainability that Palant and Faida saw back in 2011. An internet where things really did function as a natural ecosystem, with all parties able not only to survive, but to thrive with less antagonistic tactics and more working together. And we have the chance now to reach out to advertisers more directly with Trestle, our Acceptable Ads demand-side solution, allowing them to reach Acceptable Ads users at scale.
The proof is in the pudding, as they say (or maybe in the sandwich). At Acceptable Ads, we have been focused from the start on continually growing by inclusion, by trying to foresee and respond to the needs of all members of the online ecosystem. Thus, we are particularly happy to have the release of Trestle coincide with our 10th anniversary.