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I blocked Ad-Blockers.

Running a test

     
1:16 am on May 17, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I recently decided to block ad-blockers from accessing content on my site. I was initially worried that users were going to bounce off my site, but so far the results have been VERY encouraging. Nearly all of the users turned off their ad-blocker to view my content. I've also received no negative feedback thus far. That being said, I will monitor over the next week or so and let everyone know how it turns out.
6:22 am on May 17, 2016 (gmt 0)

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My whitelisters hover around 60%. I guess it all depends on how badly they want your content, how freely it's available elsewhere, and why they run adblockers in the first place.

I've also received no negative feedback thus far.

Wish I could say that. I get 1-2 emails a week telling me I'm a [insert expletive] for disallowing adblock users. Some of them are quite foul.
7:02 am on May 17, 2016 (gmt 0)

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As the number of ad blockers is around 20-25% world wide (higher in some geo locations like Germany) you might not actually see many ad blockers depending on niche. Tech sectors usually see the most ad blockers though entertainment and news/pron (next biggest markets) will see an uptick in ad blocking. These tend to have ads out the wahzoo and the annoyance level is pretty high.
9:43 am on May 17, 2016 (gmt 0)

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You're right about the Germans. "Don't mention the ads!"
Demographic is important too. The majority of adblock users appear to be 30s and under.
About one third of users arrive at my sites with adblockers. I put this down to having a younger client base.
3:24 pm on May 17, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Good experience.
But i'm using script to replace ads to something else for ADBlockers.
12:47 am on May 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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First and foremost pretty much no one differentiates between the three types of traffic and even if you do pay attention to your statistics they're pretty much meaningless so the measurements you mentioned are wholly invalid.

Secondly I maintain my own Adblock Plus filter subscription and I've worked at advertising companies before so my judgement is as fair as it gets. Frankly there are better forms of advertisement and they certainly exist and I encourage other webmasters to utilize them.

But do not make the mistake of thinking people won't walk away. Unless you have some extremely dedicated people most will laugh at your attempt and go do something else. Your site is not that important in the grand scheme of things. In fact I have actively gone out of my way to block the #HTML of the entire sites of any site that actively blocks my filter subscribers so they see a blank page. It's fair to detect adblocking and request a donation alternatively though this is not a hard game that you will win.

In other words, don't be a dick to your users...and the adblockers are ultimately a direct response to the being-a-dick-to-users policy many advertisers, marketers and webmasters have long held on to. I don't recommend it.

John
1:43 am on May 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Talk about being a dick.... I forget the number .... how many adblock users work for free?

Posted by: JAB Creations (MSG 4805655):
In other words, don't be a dick to your users...and the adblockers are ultimately a direct response to the being-a-dick-to-users policy many advertisers, marketers and webmasters have long held on to.
6:18 am on May 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Your site is not that important in the grand scheme of things.

I wish I had a dollar for every time some 'expert' has posted that here.

Your site doesn't have to be "important in the grand scheme of things"; not many sites are. Your site only needs to be important to your users. If they value it enough then they'll understand the function of the advertising it carries. If not, the door is over there.
6:23 am on May 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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f'll take a dime for every time someone says "nothing wrong with my site" and probably have more money at the end of the year.

Joking, as I know you were... but there is no doubt that folks treat their websites like offspring and are very attached.

Hence the passion for/against ad blocking. Among other reasons, of course.
6:33 am on May 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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My "passion" is not inspired by adblocking per se, but by the self righteousness of some of the people who champion it. That self righteousness exists on both sides, of course. The argument for adblocking is clear - but it won't be won by telling publishers their sites are worthless, or that they're being a "dick". A lot of publishers have always strived to do the right thing by their visitors.
8:00 am on May 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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True. The old adage of one bad apple in a barrel does apply. Most publishers are doing things right, then again, when majors do it wrong that slides down on everyone.

I ad block for privacy, security, and protection reasons. I have never clicked an ad since I will not conduct business (personal business) on the web. That's just me, and perhaps a significant number of others as well. But I do support advertising and use it (first party) with good success as most ad blockers will not mess with that.

The choice to block ad blockers or not is up to the individual webmaster/business. At present that might represent 20-30% of traffic to the site (depending on niche, geo location) and possibly those who would never interact with advertising in any event. Blocking the ad blockers might provide a more accurate view of potential traffic/conversions than previous... ie. a more realistic number.
9:52 am on May 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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True, @tangor.

As I've outlined before, I don't block adblockers to preserve or increase my earnings. I do it as a matter of principle. I want adblock users to know that their decision, while easy and convenient for them, has real life consequences for genuine publishers*. And it will have consequences for them, in the long run.

* Note that I don't consider MFA sites or Buzzfeed-style ad barrages to be "genuine publishers".
5:42 pm on May 19, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Time will reveal who bears the consequences. :)
5:28 am on May 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I was thinking of a gorilla marketing aspect to this. Perhaps a splash page with a middle finger with a brief explanation on time it takes to write articles, the things you've done to improve your site speeds for mobile so pages load faster, and also the fact that your ads are not actually blocking out content and that articles can be read without restriction. I think though a big middle finger splash page might just be enough to create a bit of controversy and create more mentions that any good written article could provide. Thing is, who goes first?
5:34 am on May 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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MrSavage, my middle finger is TURN OFF YOUR ADBLOCKER YOU FREELOADER PIECE OF #*$!! I recently introduced a premium membership, and it's actually seeing some decent uptake...almost tempted to start blocking off some of my content due to those freeloaders and name/shaming them in the process.if you could have 1,000,000 free visitors being served ads or 100,000 visitors paying $5/mo, which would you choose?
6:22 am on May 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Alright, i calmed down a bit. Before I launched, I read an article that claimed that 1-3% of your total readership would subscribe to paid services each month. I doubted that seriously...I was wrong to doubt. They are knocking down the doors to be let in. More than 3% conversion rate for the first 3 days. It restores my faith in humanity. I've earned more this month than I have in a year or more of AdSense nonsense. My revenue for the month exceeds the past 3 months of ad revenue AT LEAST.
9:40 am on May 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Great news it's working for you. :) Not every site can make that work, and that's the same for AdSense, too.

I asked this question, "Ad-Supported Products and Services: Has it Had its Day" [webmasterworld.com...]

Almost a year on from that question and we're probably seeing strong patterns that ad blocking is playing a part in the success or failure of ad-supported services.

I do agree with the sentiment that some of the bigger publishers using annoying, in-your-face ads have helped drive users into adopting ad blockers.
10:56 am on May 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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TURN OFF YOUR ADBLOCKER YOU FREELOADER PIECE OF #*$! I

That was my view of adblock users initially, however it's evolved since then. I don't think all of them are wilfully or deliberately freeloading. Some users run adblockers because they frequent sites where the content value is low but ad bombardment is intense. Some have bought the media scare campaign. Some just follow the other sheep and use adblockers because they've been told to. Some might not even know they're using one. For these reasons I'm not rude to them. My redirection message is very polite. This approach has served me well so far.

I've earned more this month than I have in a year or more of AdSense nonsense.

That's excellent news. We all need to find a way to monetise that doesn't hinge on Adsense. Particularly now that Google, its aggressive click-shaving and low rent inventory are creating bigger problems than adblockers ever have.
3:01 pm on May 20, 2016 (gmt 0)

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People will eventually need to face the facts. Sites that are legit, with overhead worth talking about, they are going to improvise and find a way. You can remove their ads, but then new ways to monetize (that suck) will come around. I've seen so many articles that have the lovely auto play video player (with ad) at the top of the article. I wonder what's more annoying? I get adds rolling out in the middle of content as I scroll down (not sure if adblocks can snuff those out). Yes after 12 rounds, adblockers might win out and eventually put a site out of business because they can't make money. However until then, there will always be the side trying to beat the adblockers with more irritating ad monetization than there was in the first place. Scratch and claw. The only intelligent choice is to stop visiting the sites you hate. It's like installing an antivirus so you can keep going to the sources of viruses/malware. Sure condone what you hate by visiting them on a regular basis, boosting their numbers. If not that, then you could very well be unknowingly supporting sites that bombard with the ads that you hate. Yet adblock user condones it by visiting on a regular basis and not relying on judgement and a back button. How F up indeed.
2:29 pm on May 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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There is one important fact that everyone is missing here, people who go out of there way to block ads, may decide to unblock ads for your site, but the probability that they will actually click on an ad is pretty close to zero. So unless most of the revenue generated by your site is from CPM the gain in revenue from blocking ad blockers will be negligible at best.

Now look at it from a different angle, the ad blocker may have a legitimate interest in your content, once finding it he/she may decide to share the content with others, maybe even link to it. But if you block this user, or worse piss off this user you can be sure that the user will never share or link to your content. Piss him off enough, he may even go out of his way to talk bad about your site to his/her friends, thus costing you non-adblocking users.

So congratulations, you saved a penny at cost of a dollar.
4:11 pm on May 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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When browsers start pushing their auto installed ad blockers, that when ad clicking people start disappearing. All they see is the jargon about how much faster the web is with the pre installed adblocker turned on. Imagine that.

It's ironic to think that the value in the link argument is based on getting more traffic, and that traffic is likely ad blocking too. Which begs the question, all those links back are valuable if they bring in more ad blocker users and your core income is ad revenue? Great. Get more ad blocking visitors that can't help the bottom line. At some point, futility enters the mind and gardening becomes a viable alternative. I think ROI is part of the question. The links back (in the event of) are going to contribute how much money in my pocket every month. I bet it's a few beer cans at best.
5:33 pm on May 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@MrSavage it was proposed above that ad blockers constitute 20 to 30% of all traffic. So let say 30% (I see 10 to 15% on my site, but I'm not in one of the high ad-block niches)

A quality link is pointed to your site, as a result there is gain in page-rank and an increase in rankings, so for arguments sake you get 1000 more searchers per month. A gain in rankings will drive more of the same traffic to the site, so of the 1000, 30% are ad-blocking, thus the net gain in non-ad-blockers is 700 more users. That is 700 more potential ad clickers. Yes there is a kind of tax, with 300 ad-blockers, but 700 is better than nothing or worse.

Note: 1000 is purely subjective, it could 100, 10 or 1M. The point is something is better than nothing.

IMHO, the bottom line is the only thing you can somewhat control is driving traffic to your site, as more ad-blockers are used, as cpc's drop, as mobile use increases, all this makes it more difficult to earn money. So you have no choice, add traffic, build better quality, create buzz, add links (naturally).

We work in a very competitive environment, with nearly no barriers to entry. The bar of success is being pushed higher and higher, those that can't compete will fail, and those that have created real sites with real quality content, will come out on top. And yes, I think my site is the best, and you probably think yours is too, but nobody give a rat's ass of what you are I think. It is the user's opinions that count. Pissing off users by flipping them the bird is probably not the best strategy to get them to embrace and love your site.

Let me add, that bombarding users with useless, invasive and annoying ads is not a solution either. Ironically, it is most often the webmasters that overload their sites with ads, that end up blocking users with ad blockers.

This how I see it, a webmaster creates a mediocre site, makes some money at first (probably spends it, as opposed to reinvesting it), as competitors enter the niche users find better websites, revenues decline. Webmasters says "I need to increase revenue, ads = revenue, more ads = more revenue", he ads more ads, remaining users become more annoyed and start searching for better sites, the few committed users that remain block ads. Webmasters sees further decline in revenue, he blames the ad blockers,so he blocks the ad blockers. Who's left? A trickle. Now what? Change ad network, add affiliate links...

The root cause of the problem was mediocre content, not too few ads or ad blockers. I have seen this with people I have worked with in the past. The strategy does not lead to success.
9:54 pm on May 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Fair enough I really appreciate your points. I am with you in terms of value in some links vs shutting people out. The adblocking users cause me no harm nor do they affect the non adblocking folks. I think I am personally going to have a donation system with an explanation about who I am and what it takes to run a site. After all a loyal reader is one who might consider it over a period of guilt and sleepless nights about my misfortunes...

[edited by: MrSavage at 9:57 pm (utc) on May 21, 2016]

9:56 pm on May 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I wonder why people dont get so worked up about other types of adverts?

The two most popular arguments they use against web ads are the money it costs them in bandwidth (fractions of a penny?) and the time spent downloading them (a few seconds?).
But theyll quite happily buy a newspaper which is probably 50% adverts, and where 50% of the cost went in printing them out. And theyll quite happily watch a program on the telly, which includes maybe 15 minutes of ads.

But then they come to our websites and they have to spend 0.05 pence on bandwidth.... and sit there for two seconds waiting for them to download..... Oh no!
11:45 pm on May 21, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Talking apples and oranges. In print or TV (include radio, print media) the user does not direct pay to receive advertising ... in fact, advertising is what pays for the programming and thus is rolled into the the presentation from the get go. The newspaper is bought as is, the telly purchased and electricity paid, for a fixed service (ads or not) and that's a done deal.

The web is advertised as free. Has been free from the get go. (We know it is not, but that's a different story). When ad inserts were less than 10% of bandwidth the user never noticed. When "unlimited" bandwidth was restructured and tiers and caps were imposed AND the publishers (who are NOT paid by advertisers for their content, merely provide a space for a THIRD party to hang an ad) got greedy in a world of diminishing returns because every Tom, Dick and Harry decided they, too, could get rich pasting ads on krap content diluted both ad value and "premium" content sites---that's when bandwidth became a problem. PARTICULARLY AFTER CELL PHONES BECAME COMMON. Most current ills for webmasters can be traced to the rise of mobile which does not pay, has limits on bandwidth, and can't do justice to the average website. But THAT is another story!

Web publishers have no clue on how things actually work in the real world. That is not meant as an insult, merely an observation that their business model does not equate to long established norms between content creators, broadcasters and advertisers which has fueled print, tv, radio AND film, art, and literature for the last near century. I sincerely doubt that many (any?) have a direct relationship with an advertiser who PAYS to insert their product on YOUR website because it is the best place for their advertising to appear ... and you can pay bills with that income. A very few of us have, or have long since, moved in that direction (IR1) but for most this will not be possible.

Additionally, the traditional media does not insert (other than fraudulent advertising which is covered by local justice systems) computer viruses, cryptolockers, identity theft, as well as ordinary fraud through advertising clickjacking, etc. Nor does traditional media charge the end user extra to receive expected content (sometimes including ads) by inserting larger, crazier all dancing ads and interfering with the content (not all publishers do that interference thing, but enough do).

Much of the push back against web advertising is caused by a small percentage (oddly enough, mostly the larger BRAND NAMES) of web publishers, scammers, criminals and idiots who think is 1 ad makes x then 10 ads will make 10 times x. These wounds are self-inflicted or have not been managed or vetted. I point fingers at the AD SERVICING COMPANIES IN THIS REGARD! There is little wonder the end user, particularly those who use MOBILE to scream and shout and jump about.

The tracking and invasion of privacy is yet another issue but THAT'S another story. :)

It is a personal choice to ban ad blockers. I strongly support following one's heart. The future prospects of Publishers on the web these days, particularly the under $100k per year folks, has circled dangerously in the vitreous china bowl. All factors are down, conversions decreased, panic and hair pulling abound. If blocking the ad blockers provides a better nocturnal experience then it should be implemented.

But please, kiddies, don't equate web advertising to traditional media except in the most vague terms possible. It might LOOK the same but they do not work the same!
12:21 am on May 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Posted by tangor: (msg: 4805971)
Web publishers have no clue on how things actually work in the real world.
I didn't even know they made paint brushes wide.

.
9:18 am on May 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Web publishers have no clue on how things actually work in the real world. That is not meant as an insult

It's not? It sounds like a fair approximation of one.

I worked at a daily newspaper for several years, so I can tell you exactly how things work in the "real world". Journalists write and production companies create content. Advertising departments at newspapers or radio/TV stations sell ads. The ads appear beside or between the content. The content creators have no direct relationship with the advertisers. The advertisers have a little say in where their ads appear, but not total control.

The argument that ad-funded web content is radically different from ad-funded content in 'old media' is baloney. Aside from delivery systems and how users interact with both content and advertising, it's essentially the same idea: the content is accompanied and funded by advertising.

Anyone who mounts a claim to the contrary probably wants to cow web publishers into thinking they're nothing like traditional publishers. As someone who has worked in both, with some success, I'm here to say that's rubbish. TIFWIW.
10:24 am on May 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Religion, politics, and ad blockers = three things you should never discuss, because there's no persuading the other side
12:20 pm on May 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I worked at a daily newspaper for several years, so I can tell you exactly how things work in the "real world". Journalists write and production companies create content. Advertising departments at newspapers or radio/TV stations sell ads.

Correct. The PUBLISHER (or broadcaster) is responsible for obtaining the content AND the advertising and for that effort to reap the profit. The web might look the same but is inherently flawed in that the publisher is actually removed from the incentive chain by plug and play advertising over which they have no control.
1:39 pm on May 22, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Posted by tangor: (msg: 4805989)
"... the publisher is actually removed from the incentive chain by plug and play advertising over which they have no control."

That may be true of many publishers,

but NOT ALL.

These sweeping generalizations do nothing to further a productive conversation.

.
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