1/3 Of American Adults Use Online Ad-Blockers, Few Publishers Try To Stop Them

Image courtesy of Ann Fisher

If you’re one of the approximately 1/3 of American Internet users who employ an ad-blocker in your web browser, we don’t mind, because Consumerist doesn’t accept advertising. Other websites that do depend on ads for their income definitely do mind that customers are using ad-blockers, but they don’t really do anything to stop users. Why is that?

There are some notable exceptions to this. Sites’ strategies differ: on the mild end, there’s the gentle and unobtrusive nagging of the Guardian and Fark.

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Other sites, like GQ, Forbes, and Yahoo Mail, are experimenting with locking content away until users turn off their ad-blocking extension.


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This screengrab, showing Yahoo was barring the user from accessing their e-mail account, was posted to the AdBlock Plus forum earlier this week. Yahoo subsequently confirmed that it is blocking some users from their Yahoo Mail accounts.

Representatives of the Interactive Advertising Board, advertisers’ trade group, make compelling cases for why publishers should keep the users of ad-blockers from seeing their content, with the head of the IAB saying in a speech at an industry conference last week that users of ad-blockers are “stealing from publishers” and “operating a business model predicated on censorship of content.”

Yet, aside from the exceptions above, most sites aren’t doing much to stop us. One study showed that only 4% of sites are trying to block the blockers. A gentle reminder to disable the blockers on that site might be enough for some users to change, but locking up content keeps readers away.

Forbes found that 42% of users disabled their ad blockers to gain access to the site… but that means 58% simply closed the window or tab and walked away. (Appropriately, you’ll need to turn off your ad blocker to access that page.) While the ad industry is working behind the scenes to subvert ad-blocking extensions, it will probably remain rare for a while.

Why Most Websites Look the Other Way on Ad Blockers [Bloomberg News]

Ad Blockers Will Prevent You From Seeing $22B Worth Of Unwanted Ads This Year
Adblock Plus: Internet Heroes Or Banner Ad Shakedown Artists?

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