The number of people who use ad blockers is on the rise, and it's costing publishers a lot of money. But a new partnership between the makers of the world’s most successful adblocker and startup Flattr will create a way for people to make small donations to those who produce the content they enjoy.
Microdonation provider Flattr, which was cofounded by The Pirate Bay's Peter Sunde, is teaming up with AdBlock Plus maker Eyeo to develop a new product called Flattr Plus. It will work in a similar way to Flattr, in that users can allocate a monthly budget that will be used to pay publishers.
Unlike the original, however, payments will be assigned automatically using an algorithm to work out which websites were engaged with most. In the standard Flattr, users must manually press a button to contribute to a single piece of content.
The two companies said they hope the product, which is currently in beta testing, will reach 10 million users paying around $5 a month by 2017, which should result in a $500 million payout for publishers. AdBlock and Flattr will get a cut of around 10 percent.
Publishers need to sign up to Flattr Plus if they want to see any money, but those that don’t will have their donations held for them until they join the program.
Ben Williams, Adblock Plus’ head of operations and communications, said: “People forget a lot of times that the web was established as an information sharing platform. A public good. Advertising came second. Some of the early founders of the web tossed around the idea of having some direct way for users to fund content. What happened in place was advertising people, even adblockers, we all had the false impression that advertising is what pays for content online.”
Williams said the plan was to eventually integrate the new program into AdBlock Plus.
There’s no guarantee that everyone will greet Flattr Plus with open arms. Web browser Brave’s method of replacing ads with its own and paying the publishers a percentage of the revenue was called “blatantly illegal” in a cease and desist letter.