Ad Blockers vs Publishers

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months you’ve noticed the war that publishers have declared on ad blockers.

On one side, this is fairly reasonable – ads bring in money and money pays for thing like writers and designers etc.

On the other side ads bring trackers, malware occasionally and also slow things down terribly. Oha nd they annoy people. And that’s just the ads we notice.

I just visted Wired and got asked to turn off my ad blocker or subscribe to read content.

Do we seriously need that much junk?

I count about 6 ad services there, several analytics services and a whole bunch of other stuff that i don’t know what it is.

(Try loading this page in full over a 3G connection, I dare you…..)

With the ad blocker on, pages load quckly and fast and I’m not annoyed by ads. With it off, the page loads slower and I’m annoyed by those ads I actually notice.

You might argue that this is a result of the Internet’s obession with free stuff. The contrary is actually true. I pay for The New Yorker and The Times of London. I pay for Feedly Pro.

If I read wired every single day, it would make a subscription worth it. I read The Times every morning and I read the New Yorker every weekend.

A while back it was suggested (by dDave Winer, if memory serves) that we have micropayments set up such that we’d pay by the article read. There are too many issues to this apprach (at what point do you consider an article read?) and its too easy to game.

The best approach, I think is the New York Times. They give you 10 free articles a month and after that you need a digital subscription. I can’t think of a single month I’ve run into that limit. And they don’t ask me to turn off my ad blocker.

Cause being asked to turn off my ad blocker gets my goat and turns me off the site.

And when I do, it feels wrong.