Imagine the internet if all websites were forbidden to make any money.
There wouldn’t be an internet.
Fortunately making money from websites is allowed. It’s the money that fuels the internet which is changing the world.
Of course it’s not 100% about making money. It’s fun being creative, helpful, entertaining, educational, information – whatever your site is. To be able to make a few bucks while serving a higher purpose can’t be beat. It gets me out of bed before my alarm clock every morning.
Yet, by last count, 200 million people worldwide hate internet ads so much that they take the time to install an ad blocker.
I have to be pretty motivated to install an app or extension. I gotta really want it.
People must really hate ads.
BUT, I think they’ll hate being cut off from the internet more.
That’s right, the battle lines are drawn between publishers and ad blockers.
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Publishers vs. Ad Blockers
You know the issue is hitting critical mass when a theme developer rolls out a theme that has an option to block visitors with an ad blocker.
MyThemeShop rolled out Ad-Sense theme with this built in. Pretty cool.
BUT, should you do the equivalent of pushing the red button with your website? Should you block visitors with an ad blocker?
First off, I currently don’t block anyone.
Secondly, I think I should.
I’m going to look into it. I’d use MyThemeShop’s new theme but I’m sure I can find a simpler way to do it than changing themes. I like MyThemeShop; I don’t like changing themes.
I think I’m going to go the route of blocking parts of content instead of an all-out block and restrict it to content only monetized with ads.
Thirdly, I think every website on the planet that monetizes primarily with ads should block or partially block visitors with ad blockers.
Because that will be the end of ad blockers.
Short term pain for long term gain for all website publishers.
Publishers should rally together and render the internet largely inaccessible to anyone with an ad blocker.
Who shouldn’t block visitors with ad blockers?
Any website that doesn’t mostly depend on ads for revenue.
If you make money selling stuff or affiliate promotions or love collecting emails, don’t block anyone. That’s not smart. I’m not blocking anyone on any non-display ad sites (like this one).
Do publishers have a shot winning the war?
Yes, they do.
Fortunately many of the biggest websites on the Web generate most revenue with ads.
While I’m not a big fan of oligopolies, in this case, the oligopolies just might save the day. One corporation could make a difference. Conde Nast for instance, which owns many monster sites, could persuade many people to turn off their ad blocker.
Viperchill has an awesome blog post that shows how 16 corporations control much of the internet traffic. Check it out:
If every website on that list that monetizes with ads (which is most of them), blocked visitors with ad blockers, that would pretty much end the use of ad blockers.
Yeah, I know it’s not cool so few companies control so much traffic. The fact is all industries ultimately result in oligopolies and have since the beginning of capitalism. Whether you like or hate oligopolies, you have to admit if they unite and block the ad blockers, it’s good for us little publishers.
Obviously me and my relatively small sites won’t end ad blockers. BUT, 500 of the world’s biggest sites along with a smattering of smaller publishers can kill the ad blocker.
At first, users will disable their ad blocker on a site-by-site basis.
As they encounter more and more walls to sites, eventually they’ll just keep the ad blocker turned off. I know I would. I don’t use an ad blocker, but I know for a certainty getting blocked to my favorite sites would get me to permanently disable an ad blocker.
Unless the unthinkable occurs
It might totally backfire on us little publishers. The big guns might kowtow to the ad blockers and seek whitelisting. That would be so pathetic by the supposed “mighty corporations” don’t you think?
If they play the whitelisting game, they’re handing their control to an app of all things.
Or worse, Ad Block Plus (the big blocker), may give these corporations a pass. That’s a monster kick to the teeth for us little publishers.
I don’t think the oligopolies are handing their control to an app by following white listing protocol.
Have you read the restrictions for getting whitelisted? I have. You can read them here.
You might as well not have ads on your site. You can’t put ads anywhere that’ll get clicked. And then there’s a cap in number of ads. Just as AdSense lifted the cap, ad blocker whitelist rules enforces a cap. I don’t care about the white listing because playing that game is literally a pauper’s game.
It’s ironic, isn’t it.
Ad blockers came about so people could avoid disruptive ads only to end up getting punched in the nose with the ultimate pop up “You have an ad blocker – no access for you” notice.
How do you block visitors who have an ad blocker?
Switch to the Ad-Sense theme. Unless you’re launching a new site, that’s a lot of work.
Use a free plugin such as Block AdBlock or take a softer approach with Ad Blocking Detector. Ad Blocking Detector makes it possible to display alternative content such as an email sign up form or friendly message. It doesn’t block access.
Block AdBlock does block access. If you want to wage war, use Block AdBlock.
I’ll wrap up with yet another “What do you think Google will do?” question.
Do you think Google will apply the pop up penalty in 2017 to websites that block access to visitors with an ad blocker?
It’s an interesting question because ad blockers affect Google. My bet is the old “you ain’t gettin’ into the site until you turn off your ad blocker” pop up gets a pass.
At least I hope so.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.