Should Publishers Raise Prices on Subscribers Who Use Adblockers?

Do you use an adblocker? Would you pay the local news organization that you subscribe to an extra dollar or two a month to be able to use their site with an ad-blocker?

Those are the questions Associated Press reporter Ryan Nakashima has spent the past six months researching over the course of a fellowship at the Bay Area News Group (BANG)…

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One thought on “Should Publishers Raise Prices on Subscribers Who Use Adblockers?

  • June 24, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    This is diddling. Over the past 100 years, print and broadcast media evolved a bunch of common-sense rules about advertising Newspapers learned not to put display ads on the front page. Magazines did not put ads on the front covers. Newspeople did not read ad copy. Nonprofit trade groups evolved to be arbiters of acceptability. The idea was to make ads more credible, and thus more effective. The idea was also to make reader and listener experience better, to entice audiences to sit and watch.

    In the headlong scramble to survive, we simply threw the audience under the bus. In a world where many are visually or dexterity-limited, we made life hellish for the audience. CPMs continued to fall, so we needed more Ms.

    BTW, for years, off and on, I’ve used a little 3-line keyword ad in Google to advertise my wife’s little Kindle cookbook on granola. When I started 4 years ago, the ad got 6,000 appearances a day and 70 clickthroughs. It was worthwhile running. Thanks to clutter and ad blockers, it now gets 1,000 appearances and 12-15 clickthroughs, thanks to ad blockers aimed at really obtrusive pop-over, hard-to-close monster ads. The little test ad is no longer worth running. Lots of lost revenue for advertisers who insist on racing to the bottom. Lots of lost help for the economy.

    The historic solution, which we in the media somehow reject, is that we all have to get together and voluntarily agree to not be so stupid. Fat chance, these days. Notice, folks, how I did not include a link to the granola book, or to its title? That is due to a sense of ethics and restraint. The B2B magazine I edit is solidly profitable, too, without trap-you ads, sponsored editorial, pay-to-play nonsense, or paywall. Even the print version is free to USA subscribers. We, eh, provide quality editorial that no one else has. When the recession started, THAT strategy put all our competitors out of business as they fired staff and reprinted press releases. What has emerged since has not been enough to challenge us.

    We could all grow up. Instead, the industry diddles. New media needs old ethics.


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