Adobe PDF Ads inside Acrobat Reader

Published in: adobe - PDF

Ads inside Adobe PDF“This web page has sponsored content which requires connecting to Google AdSense servers. Will you allow your browser to make this connection?”

Imagine IE or Firefox giving you such a choice each time you load a website that carries Google Ads. Chances are high that you will click No and the website will load sans any advertisements.

While the above case is fictional, Adobe may be facing such a problem with their Ads for PDF program. (See ”Bloggers Can Make Money from PDF“)

When you download an ad-enabled PDF file and load it inside Acrobat or Adobe Reader, you’ll be shown the following security message and the ads are displayed only when the user clicks “Yes” not otherwise.


Since an in-built security feature in Adobe programs makes it so easy for the end user to turn off the display of ads, eBook creators may find it a bit to generate decent advertising revenue from their PDF content.

Maybe Adobe will have to release new Acrobat updates that will white-list the IP addresses of Adobe Ad servers so users will not be prompted every time they load an ad-enabled PDF - quite similar to product activation.

The other issue is that Ads are displayed only when the PDF files are opened inside Acrobat or Adobe Reader 8.1 and above. PDF alternatives like FoxIt or web based PDF viewers won’t display the ads - they are like viewing an AdSense enabled site inside Lynx that doesn’t understand JavaScript.

Update: The confirmation dialog appears only if the users opens the PDF file inside Adobe Reader or Acrobat. Cynthia Tillo, Sr Product Manager at Adobe writes:

“If the user opens the PDF in-browser (ie. they downloaded and opened the PDF from his website), that dialog will not appear since the user is already online. Our market research shows that about 75% of the time, users are online reading the PDF in-browser. ”


To test all this yourself, download True Films - an ad-enabled PDF eBook from Kevin Kelly. Thanks John.

Published in: adobe - PDF

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Web Geek, Tech Columnist
Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in GSuite and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory

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