Social news and entertainment website Reddit has been told today that its use of advertisements meets the new ‘acceptable ads’ guidelines drawn up by the Adblock Plus open-source project.

The ruling means that all of Reddit’s adverts will be whitelisted on the service – a free ad-blocking tool that has been downloaded more than 200 million times worldwide – automatically.

It’s available at the moment for Chrome, Firefox and Opera on the desktop, as well as the Android browser via the Google Play store. By default it blocks adverts on all websites, YouTube videos and browser-based games, except for those that meet its ‘acceptable ads’ guidelines. However, it’s also possible for users to toggle this so that all advertisements are blocked without exception.

“We hate annoying and disruptive ads as much as everyone else, and we’ve always had limits on the type of ads we accept at Reddit,” Erik Martin, General Manager of Reddit said. “We respect our community and we’re serious about not displaying obnoxious ads.”

It’s fair to say that most Internet users will want to block online advertisements altogether. However, the team behind Adblock Plus has emphasized that it’s important to try to support websites that are running advertisements in a sensible, intelligent way.

Provided enough users choose to unblock the acceptable ads, other websites will want to meet the Adblock Plus guidelines too, thereby improving users’ general online experience. “Without this feature we run the danger that increasing Adblock Plus usage will make small websites unsustainable,” a passage in the ‘acceptable ads’ guidelines reads.

So what ads are being acknowledged as acceptable? Well, Adblock Plus has issued the full requirements on their website, but they include:

  • Static advertisements only (no animations, sounds or similar)
  • Preferably text only, no attention-grabbing images
  • Ads should never obscure page content (e.g. require user to click a button to close the ad before viewing the page).
  • For pages featuring a text that the user will be reading, the ads should not be placed in the middle of the text where they interrupt the reading flow. Instead, they can be placed above the text content, below it or on the sides. Same rule applies to search result pages, paid search results cannot be mixed with organic results.
  • Advertising should be clearly marked as such with the word “Advertising” or its equivalent, it should be distinguishable from the page content (via a border and/or different background color).

Adblock Plus was launched for Android in November last year, following a release on the Opera browser just weeks before. We’ve also published a full explanation of how to block all online advertisements by default with Adblock Plus.

Image Credit: Eva Blue/Flickr