The independent Acceptable Ads Committee (AAC) was created in 2017 to establish the criteria that determines just what makes an Acceptable Ad, i.e. an advertisement that has been deemed acceptable to users.
Because users, tired from a constant onslaught of invasive pop-ups and glittery, neon banners, were hungry for a browsing experience that was respectful, calm and nonintrusive.
But users were only one part of the equation. For Acceptable Ads to have a revitalizing and strengthening effect on the ad industry, the Committee understood that these acceptable advertisements needed to bring value to publishers and advertisers as well. They also needed to respect digital rights, understand the nuances of ad tech, be bolstered by scholarship… the list goes on.
It was clear the AAC needed to represent a wide variety of viewpoints.
Diversity = necessary
Diversity is one of the AAC’s founding principles: the Committee is both “intended to be comprised of an accurate, and thus diverse reflection of the key stakeholders of the web and online advertising industry” and “strive[s] to have a diverse committee with a gender, culture and international balance that accurately reflects the global and diverse user base of ad-blocking software.”
To reflect this diversity, the AAC is comprised of eleven elected Representatives, coming from a total of nine professional backgrounds.
- Advertisers: one (1) Representative
- Advertising Agencies: one (1) Representative
- Ad-Tech: one (1) Representative
- Publishers and Content-Creators: one (1) Representative
- Digital Rights Organizations: three (3) Representatives
- Individual Users: one (1) Representative
- Creative Agents: one (1) Representative
- Researchers / Academia: one (1) Representative
- User Agents: one (1) Representative
Being a Representative comes with a host of responsibilities, including deciding on changes to the Acceptable Ads criteria and modifications to the allowlist. But they don’t do it alone—before making any decisions, a Representative consults and aligns with their Member group.
The Member Groups all help shape the conversation, including nominating and electing their Representative and joining sub-committees to further aid their Representative. The exact number of members in any one Member Group varies—currently, there are fourteen members behind the Ad-Tech Representative, but only four additional Researchers/Academics—though, the mission remains unchanged. A symphony of voices is required to shape the future of the ad ecosystem, and that’s precisely what the AAC has been tasked with doing.
The responsibility of the AAC
The AAC meets twice a year, coming together to follow its mission of “chang[ing] the Acceptable Ads criteria for what constitutes an Acceptable Ad, and thereby govern[ing] Acceptable Ads by creating standards for ads that ad-blocking users will deem acceptable and that bring value to publishers and advertisers.”
This mission is backed by three core values. These dictate that any decision or action made by the AAC must be guided by following principles that state that, first and foremost, protecting user experience is of paramount importance. It’s also necessary that the AAC only approves ads that ad-blocking users find nonintrusive, and that the AAC will provide publishers and content creators with meaningful monetization opportunities.
Curious about more details? Have a look at our site for everything AAC-related!