I read a lot of tech news sites and blogs. One of those sites is Wired. I like their content. They aren’t my favourite site but I frequently visit them.
I run AdBlock Plus. I have it installed in Chrome and Safari, on my MacBook and my home server. I installed it on my girlfriend’s laptop too. I LOVE AdBlock Plus. No more fake download buttons, no more annoying banners, no more adverts designed to look like real content. For a free plugin, why wouldn’t you use it?
Now, put these two things together and you get this:
You get Wired begging me to allow them to display shit on my computer with my bandwidth that annoys me? Uh, how about no?
Their Argument: We need that advertising revenue to keep making the good content you come here for. If you want our content, you have to be annoyed by our adverts or you will eventually lose our content behind a paywall.
They do make a valid point. I think this is a much bigger problem for tech sites than other sites. People who visit tech sites are generally more tech savvy and are more lightly to have an ad blocker installed. A recent study says that up to 41% of people that visit tech sites have an ad blocker installed. So are they losing 41% of their revenue? Well, they are obviously losing something. That must have been what triggered the decision to beg. Their holding company also had a drop in profits for the last year.
So all in all, they make a fairly compelling argument.
My Argument: The internet needs to adapt. The music industry learnt this the hard way. All people want is a convenient way to access content. They don’t mind paying if the content is good. Less and less people were buying CDs and more and more people were pirating music. Eventually the music industry adapts and offers streaming and low and behold millions of people switch to paid for streaming over free piracy. Why? Convenience. Piracy is easier than going to the store to buy a CD. But opening Spotify or Deezer is easier than pirating.
The exact same can be said for TV shows and movies and Netflix and Hulu. Netflix took older content that wasn’t really available so made very little money and packaged it very well, offered it at a cheap price point and included ALL the devices you use. Now they have millions of subscribers and are making a fortune. They are also making their own new content now.
So back to adverts on the web. If they weren’t over used and abused, I wouldn’t have blocked them in the first place.
So my view is: You had the power, you abused the adverts. Now I will block them. More and more people are starting to share my views. As a collective, we will force the web to adapt. We will force them to manage their adverts and content in a much better way. It will make the internet a better place for all.
So to Wired, no, I will not whitelist you. No, I will not disable my ad blocker. I will hold out and I will force you to adapt. There are thousands of tech sites and millions of blogs. The ones who adapt and evolve will be the ones that survive. Begging is not adapting. Wired, that’s not okay!
Before I even published this, I stumbled upon a really good piece from Tech Crunch. They offer a way more in depth look at the numbers behind advertising and how it generates as little as $15 per person per month. So we are all selling our privacy for such a small amount of money. Anyway, if you want a more in-depth view of this topic, check it out here.
Apple will allow ad-blocking extensions in iOS9. Details here.
Update 3: [2016-02-09]
Wired plans to release a paid version of their site without adverts for $3.99 US per month and will block users using ad-blockers on their ad-supported site.