One takes advantage of market conditions their benefit, the other changes market conditions to the detriment of the competitor.
Also, sponsoring Adblock is changing the market conditions. Adblock can use the money provided by Google to make sure any non-Google ad is blocked more efficiently. They can also advertise their addon better, provide better support, etc. Google sponsoring Adblock directly affects Adblock's ability to block the adverts of other companies around the world.
To me, this is changing market conditions in the same way as my AT&T example. Google paying AT&T enough money for priority could allow AT&T to build new 'Google only' cables that Bing couldn't use. Google paying Adblock enough money to whitelist their ads could allow Adblock to grow enough to block Bing ads on a large percentage of user's browsers. Very, very similar.
As long as others have the same option, what's the problem? The article specifically says "Google is not the only company." (at least the Google translated page does).
> Also, sponsoring Adblock is changing the market conditions
Sponsoring? Maybe you can parse the original article in the language it was written, but I cannot and the translated article doesn't seem accurate enough for me to make assertions as to exactly what Google is and isn't doing, or more specifically, what Adblock Plus is or isn't doing when Google, or possibly many others, give them money.
> To me, this is changing market conditions in the same way as my AT&T example
How is this different than Google taking out a full page add in the New York Times? In both cases Google is paying a third party which does not have complete control of the marker for some advantage (exposure in the NYT case). It's not as if they are paying for nobody else to be able to do as much (and even if they were, that's not a problem as long as a competitor could outbid them for the same right)
Is there any action that Google could take that would appear ethical?
I do see your point that other advertisers are unlikely to have "acceptable" ads because they rely on flash and images, but shouldn't they have to make themselves competitive if they want to maintain a level playing field?
If this pushes advertising further away from flashing, shouting, animated ads then it sounds like a brighter future to me.
In my area, if Charter and CenturyLink both chose to de-prioritize Netflix traffic, that would be the end of it. I would have no economic alternative. But if AdBlock Plus started showing me ads that annoyed me, I could just go download a different adblocker.
 I don't actually use AdBlock Plus. I use AdBlock for Chrome, which is a separate product.
If AdBlock didn't accept payments in part of considering whether a site's ads are to be whitelisted, then Google or any website for that matter couldn't use their monetary assets to give them themselves an apparently immoral advantage over their competitors.
Obviously they(Google) can't outright put out an adblocker of their own, but if someone else puts it out and they support it, and it just so happens to whitelist their ads, you must admit its definitely worth at least questioning. Plus Google is not the stellar company it pretends to be, with the recent news about its tax evasion in Europe and PRISM participation.
If you want to go by that meaning of "funding" then any use of a service is "funding" that company that provides it. While technically true, I would argue that most people would think "funding" to mean "provide capital to an entity without expectation of a service or item which that entity sells as a normal mode of business, and to use it in a different manner without explicit note of your meaning is to invite a misinterpretation of the facts, on purpose or otherwise. I don't believe that leads to rational discourse.
> Obviously they(Google) can't outright put out an adblocker of their own, but if someone else puts it out and they support it, and it just so happens to whitelist their ads, you must admit its definitely worth at least questioning. Plus Google is not the stellar company it pretends to be, with the recent news about its tax evasion in Europe and PRISM participation.
Of course it's worth questioning. But if someone someone states that paying a company to get a benefit yourself is the same as paying a company to cause a detriment to another, a lot of evidence is needed to back that up, otherwise we aren't questioning anything, we are making assumptions.