Adblockers Killing Web Sites?

Recently, ArsTechnica had a very persuasive article about why adblockers are devastating to web sites. This is a subject that I’ve been wrangling with since David Adams from OSNews told some of us of his troubles a few months back.

The adblockers in most cases actually prevent from being downloaded at all – and thus actually cut into a website’s revenue. I know there have been some adblockers that actually download the ads but refuse to display them (something relying on GreaseMonkey will operate this way).

The article from ArsTechnica came about because they testing entirely rejecting users who used adblockers.

The only real downside is that if you enable ads, those on slow connections will have that much longer to wait – and many ads are quite large, and are not cacheable. It is incredibly annoying – and costly to those being charged by the byte – to download large ads, especially over slow links.

With that caveat, I have started whitelisting the sites that I go to the most and that don’t have obnoxious ads on them.

UPDATE: Seems that the Ars Technica article has reverberated in cyberspace… Techdirt took notice – and took issue with the article and its points. Over at the Nieman Journalism Lab, Laura McGann talked with Ars editor-in-chief Ken Fisher about the community response to the blocking and to the article.

2 thoughts on “Adblockers Killing Web Sites?”

  1. The flip-side of this debate is that *many* sites are now serving up viruses through their affiliate’s ad-servers. Blocking ads is not just a matter of preference…it can be a matter of self-preservation.

  2. I’m going with the skeptics on this one: pop-up ads are invasive, obnoxious, and unacceptable. If a site can’t survive without them, they should find another model.

    And, this, from the original article: “If you have an ad blocker running, and you load 10 pages on the site, you consume resources from us, but provide us with no revenue.” A serious overstatement, given the two large IBM ads I saw on the page itself.

    I like Ars Technica and I hope they’ll work it out and find other ways to make more money. I think many people will whitelist them and that’s great. But, I sure hope they won’t cling too hard to how they _used_ to make money. They’ve got to look forward for the new ways they’ll make money in the future. Pop-ups are not going to be making a come-back — and asking users to allow them is not a long-term solution.

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