Should Online Publishers Block Users Who Install Ad-Blockers?

The Interactive Advertising Bureau is a trade group for, well, interactive advertising. That’s to say clickable online banner and video ads. If you’re one of the smarmy people piping up right now to say, “there are ads on the Internet? I wouldn’t know, I use ad-blockers,” you’re part of the problem as far as the IAB is concerned.

Last year, we wondered whether allowing certain non-intrusive advertisements through their filters for a fee makes the company behind the popular browser plugin AdBlock Plus heroes or shakedown artists. You can guess what the position of IAB staff members on that question is. In an interview with CNet, the group’s general counsel and executive vice president for public policy explained why he thinks that online publishers need to block the blockers.

That means exactly what you think it does: sites refusing to let you see their content unless you also see their ads. A switch to paywalls or other ways of paying for content simply hasn’t happened, and it probably won’t. “[Y]ou’re not going to see a mass migration off ad-supported content, the economic engine that drives the Internet,” Zaneis notes. Paywalls are effective for some content, but banner ads are still the default model for paying the bills. (Our parent company, Consumer Reports, is a subscriber-supported exception: we have no ads, and neither do they.)

Destructoid, a gaming site with a large proportion of users who block ads, is famous for nagging readers to turn off their adblockers and explaining why in some detail. Zaneis says that the site experimented with the block-the-blockers approach, but ultimately abandoned it in order to avoid alienating a huge number of users.

Ad blockers get ad-group exec’s blood boiling (Q&A) [CNET]