While there are good security reasons to block ads, I’ll be honest and admit that I detest advertising – particularly intrusive, annoying animated ads on websites. That’s why you’ll never see an ad here, and why I run adblockers. Traditional ads (newspapers, televisions, etc), were one thing – I could ignore them, and remain anonymous. Mail ads suck because they take up space in my tiny USPS issued mailbox. But online ads are another beast, filled with trackers, cookies, and all too often offensive ads, or even malware.
There’s a recent trend of sites blocking visitors using adblockers. That’s perfectly fine – it’s their business, and I don’t begrudge them making money. Some sites have an ad-only revenue model, and have taken a hard line, Forbes among them. I simply don’t visit that site anymore.
Others, like the Wall Street Journal, have a subscription+advertising model, and live behind a paywall. I don’t try to get behind those paywalls because that’s their chosen business model. I don’t subscribe, but if I did, I’d block the ads – and if they started blocking adblockers, I’d cancel my subscription.
A few months ago Wired.com started displaying graphics related to adblocking. Something about doing a ‘solid’, but I never could figure out what solid they wanted: Sphere? Cone? Cube?
Eventually they posted a more straightforward note: They’re going to block adblocking customers, but are providing an alternative: $1/week for an ad and tracking free experience.
That’s the right way to do adblocker blocking: Have compelling content worth paying for, and price it relatively cheap. Now, I suspect they don’t make $1/week/visitor on ads, but it’s not too bad, and their content is worth it.
So I signed up – they converted a non-revenue customer into a revenue one, by letting me get the good stuff without all the junk.
Well done Wired!
[edited – not quite well done] They almost had it right. It seems that the temptation to track is too strong. Even the subscription version still has social media, adobe and chart beat trackers, among others. Very disappointed that they’re not providing a clean option – and now I have to think about subscribing – because even if I block those cookies, they can capture my activity on the back end. How hard is it to just simply let us subscribe without any – and I mean any – tracking, monitoring, or spying on what we do? Let me be your customer, not your product!