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Is this really a feature Adsense may implement to everyone eventually?
I believe these two sites featured special rules adsense accounts (left sidebar had 18 ads in a single unit, one on top of the other, and others had custom CSS applied) which I'm guessing means the feature is only in testing? Personally I'm placing ads on my site because I AM showing ads, not offering an option. Please don't force implement this to all adsense units, i'm not wanting to show optional advertising. Unfortunately not displaying ads is simply not an option. More info would be great though.
I wonder if the browser retains the setting and continues to hide ads when the person returns to the same website another day? I also wonder if the setting is retained from one site to another within the Google ad network.
If a person has to specifically "hide ads" every single time they visit a site, then this is brilliant. Most people will soon lose interest in repeatedly hiding the ads, and meanwhile the feature will draw a lot of attention to the ads.
Also, if a person has to hide the ads each time, the feature can be seen as a nice gesture to make the viewer feel like they have some control over their browsing experience. But in reality it is training them to click on the ad space. It's giving them a "safe" place to click on the ad. After they've done that a few times they might actually feel comfortable to click on the ad itself.
Opt-out ads are not a Google Adsense feature. It is something we created to improve our user experience. When you click "hide ads" on wikiHow, the ads turn off for 24 hours. If you don't want to see ads on wikiHow ever again, you can register an account and login as we don't show ads to registered visitors. Some people just hate seeing ads and we wanted to empower those users to turn off our ads if they didn't want to see them. As dibbern2 says, letting users turn off ads improves trust and quality.
Here is the surprising thing: Doing this didn't really hurt our monetization. People who hate ads, don't click them anyway. Opt out ads improves user experience and doesn't cost much. I don't understand why more sites aren't trying this yet. Give it a try!