Wired vs Ad Blockers

Bloomberg reporting on Wired launching a subscription option for an ad free version of their site:

More than 1 in 5 people who visit Wired Magazine’s website use ad-blocking software. Starting in the next few weeks, the magazine will give those readers a choice: stop blocking ads, pay to look at a version of the site that is unsullied by advertisements, or go away. It’s the kind of move that was widely predicted last fall after Apple allowed ad-blocking in the new version of its mobile software, but most publishers have shied away from it so far.

Wired plans to charge $3.99 for four weeks of ad-free access to its website. In many places where ads appear, the site will simply feature more articles, said Mark McClusky, the magazine’s head of product and business development. The portion of his readership that uses ad blockers are likely to be receptive to a discussion about their responsibility to support the businesses they rely on for information online, McClusky said.

This feels like a challenge. How many people are going to try and hack around what ever defenses Wired puts up against ad blockers? For some it will have way more to do with the thrill of the challenge than the $4 a month.

If Wired isn’t really careful with this it turn into a game spending way too much time defending against those looking to prove they can beat them. Never underestimate the free time of your opponent.

7 replies on “Wired vs Ad Blockers”

Fantastic writeup. It seems that Wired recognized that putting all articles behind a paywall will most certainly negatively impact their business model, so they seems to have settled on a middle-ground: ads or paywall. Well, as you mentioned, let’s see what wins out- stealth ad blocking or paying for subscriptions. Somehow, as you concluded, I’m willing to bet the former wins over the latter.

I’m curious about the impact this will have on traffic and other kinds of growth. I’d have to imagine folks will be less inclined to link to an article on such a site, so an article’s potential to go viral would probably suffer.

I wonder how they’d address this. I know, for example, if you check out a NY Times article from Google News, that the paywall is bypassed.

That is definitely an angle this that they have to consider. I would certainly be less likely to link to an article that was behind a paywall.

If they implement an easy way to bypass the paywall, then the ad-blockers will leverage that in a heart beat.

I suspect few people using ad-blockers will do that. You’d need to be very convincing that none of your ad networks are abusing their powers ( or, you know, distributing malware ). Trust has been eroded so badly that getting it back is going to be very hard.

If advertisers didn’t completely obliterate trust, and web designers didn’t completely destroy screen real estate with ad presence, that seems like a likely possibility. Unfortunately, nothing positive comes out of online advertisements for the end user, and everything negative- slower page loads, larger HTTP Tx, malware distribution, cramped site design, and increased system load.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *