Pop-up ads in today’s internet age are as ubiquitous as sweaty armpits on a summer’s day. Most people spend a good portion of their day browsing the internet, whether it be for work purposes, study or purely for recreation (sometimes while at work!). Pop-up ads are notorious for popping up when least expected during pretty much any browsing activity on the internet. This includes some phenomenally popular and widespread online time killers such as Google, YouTube and Facebook. Click on the wrong thing on your screen, even by accident, and you may have an ad pop up in your face flashing pretty colours and evil subliminal messages of marketing tripe at you. Click on the wrong button which is supposed to close the pop-up and you end up with yet another pop-up! This pop-up hell is affectionately referred to as the Infinite Cycle of Pop-ups, and is unfortunately a very common trap to fall into for the average (and even the seasoned) internet user.
Enter the good guys: your friendly neighbourhood army of pop-up blockers! Generally coming in the form of browser extensions or add-ins, ad blockers can help the frustrated user manage the complex maze of pop-up internet mayhem. They perform this noble deed by preventing ads from popping up before they even happen. They don’t need much user intervention and just happily sit in the background protecting you from annoying ads (much like antivirus software).
AdBlock Plus is one of the more well established and widely used pop-up blockers out today, and you will be happy to discover that they have managed to win another court case brought against them trying to shut them down. Two broadcasters based in Germany, RTL and ProSiebenSat.1, brought legal proceedings against Eyeo – the company behind AdBlock Plus – arguing that AdBlock Plus was anti-competitive and worked against their ability to offer free content. This is the fourth time Eyeo have had to defend themselves in court against similar proceedings brought against them. The Munich court ruled in favour of Eyeo, saying that AdBlock Plus was not widespread enough in terms of usage to represent a dominant position in the market and to justify an antitrust case. Eyeo states that the AdBlock Plus browser plug-in for the PC has been downloaded roughly 400 million times, and that there is also an Android app which performs a similar function and has been downloaded around 220,000 times.
There are of course plenty of alternatives to AdBlock Plus out there in the market, however the fact that Eyeo have been able to successfully defend themselves against antitrust cases thus far is encouraging for the ever changing internet landscape. Hopefully the Munich decision will help establish a global precedent which will lead to favourable outcomes for users and consumers!