The devastating effects of ad blocking · 2010-03-08 15:08 by Wladimir Palant
A few years ago I used to blog about some of the more ridiculous claims that ad blocking opponents make and take them apart. Fortunately, I no longer have to. Other people do this now and they are much more successful expressing their opinions. So I don’t really need to write about the recent article at Ars Technica on the effects of ad blocking. I do so mostly to link to the responses so that I can find them again.
Rob Sayre, Why Ad Blockers Work
Ad blocking software works because there are telltale technical cues that a site isn’t paying the same level of attention to ad content as they are to editorial content (whereas print magazines pay more attention to ad content–that’s how they work).
Eric Shepherd, On ad blocking
Why, then, have I started blocking ads? Simple. Companies that insist on using tricks to try to force you to look at ads you don’t want to see.
Mike Markson recently wrote up a blog post for entrepreneurs, talking about how every entrepreneur needs to learn the lesson that, whatever doesn’t go right is your fault. It’s a tough lesson for people (especially entrepreneurs) to learn. If you can’t raise money, don’t blame the investors. You were the one who failed to convince them. If you can’t make sales, don’t blame the sales people. You either hired the wrong sales people or didn’t put together a compelling enough pitch or didn’t have a good enough product. It’s your responsibility as an entrepreneur to fix things.
Richard Chappell, Does Ad-blocking Hurt Websites?
Advertisers are paying for the chance to increase sales. They’ll pay for ads when the expected benefit exceeds the cost. But, just as the incidence of ‘click fraud’ (clicking an ad link just to drive up advertising costs, without any intention to buy the product) causes advertisers to pay less per click than they otherwise would, so the incidence of what we might call ‘dud views’ (i.e. page loads where the ads won’t be clicked or even attended to) reduce the price that advertisers will be willing to pay per pageview. If ad-blocking users have a prior disposition to ignore ads anyway, then convincing these users to disable their adblockers will simply serve to increase the number of ‘dud views’. It does nothing to increase the expected sales for advertisers, and hence they won’t be willing to pay for these extra views.
Telling the readers that people get fired because people have adblockers on, that because revenue margins decrease, people look into more ‘questionable’ forms of advertisement to recoup on losses, and blaming this on the readerbase – that’s a shitty thing to do. We the readers are not to blame for this. Not for the most part.
John Leach, Advertising and ad blocking
Funding your content through advertising is hugely inefficient. Of the people who visit your site, usually only a tiny proportion click on (or notice) an advert, and only a tiny proportion of those then spends any money. So a tiny, tiny proportion of your visitors give any money to your advertisers. So money filters down this system in tiny margins. Then, at the bottom of the system, a tiny amount of the profits from the income covers the cost of advertising. Then this money moves back up the system to you, usually via your advertising agent who takes a nice cut (I’ve heard Google pass as little as one twelfth onto the publisher in some cases).
Jacob Mandelson, Prisoners’ dilemma and web advertising
The Ars Technia article is titled “Why Ad Blocking is devastating to the sites you love”, but from the other side it could be called “Why intrusive advertising is destroying your users’ tolerance for your business model”. The publishers defected long before the visitors did, and turned a deaf ear to user complaints, and so I’m unsympathetic to cries from them that we’re now defecting too.
Jonathan Bailey, The Ad-Blocker’s Dilemma
On the surface the math seems pretty simple. A user with ad block generates zero revenue and consumes bandwidth, server resources, etc. As such, they operate at a net loss. The reality, however, is not that straightforward. Ad blockers often contribute to the site in other ways, including posting comments, submitting links to social news sites, sharing URLs with friends and helping build a community that others, including those who don’t block ads, will want to visit and partake in.
Matt Asay, Is ad blocking the problem?
Online media publishers should change, as asking consumers to change is a recipe for failure…and for stagnation rather than innovation in business models. It’s not the consumer’s job to figure out a successful business model for the vendor.
What is needed is a different system, one that provides value to all three entities.
Patricio Robles, Is ad blocking really devastating to the sites you love?
Using Fisher’s restaurant analogy, one could argue that the advertiser is footing the bill for dinner and Fisher is trying to find a way to get the advertiser to pay for 10 meals when only six individuals are really eating.
David Adams, Another Look at Online Advertising
The problem we have is that advertisers and their agents, in their quest for clicks, are constantly pressuring publishers toward ever-more-intrusive ad sizes and behaviors. Unfortunately, more intrusive advertising is scientifically proven to attract more clicks. Because in most cases the advertisers themselves don’t get any feedback on whether readers hate the more intrusive advertising, from their point of view, the bigger the better. There needs to be some push-back, but the publishers don’t have enough clout to do it. If they refuse to run an intrusive ad, it seems there’s always someone else that will be willing to run it if the price is right.
Frederic Filloux, Why is digital advertising so lousy? Industry is too smug to innovate.
Let’s face it. On digital media, advertising hasn’t delivered. In the news business, we have a rule of thumb: An electronic reader brings 15 to 20 times less in advertising revenue than a print reader does.
I might add some more links later.
Commenting is closed for this article.