Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 19th Sep 2015 14:37 UTC
Internet & Networking

Let's talk ad-blocking.

With the arrival of iOS 9, ad-blocking is coming to mobile in a big way, and it's causing a lot of talk all over the web. It is highlighting the internal struggle some feel about the practice, but also the hypocrisy of some of its staunchest proponents. So far, it seems like the real 'bloodbath' isn't taking place where people thought it would be - namely, publishers - but among personalities.

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RE[4]: The elephant in the room
by Wondercool on Sun 20th Sep 2015 08:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: The elephant in the room"
Wondercool
Member since:
2005-07-08

Let me rephrase it. The point I was trying to make is that it's not sites like OSNews that will go under, it's sites like The Verge with paid staff that have to worry. The Verge, like Alphr, Engadget, BGR, etc, have full-time paid staff and are much more dependent than small sites on ads.

I don't know about you but I don't come here to read about the latest tech news, I follow at least 10 tech sites every day and generally they all publish the same story. Most of the time I have already seen the original article Thom is linking to. I come here for the opinions, comments on the tech news. For me, that's the interesting bit.

Thom's original opinion articles are much more visited and appreciated than a simple article about IOS 8 been released so I am not alone.

Anyway, back to your original postulate that my web experience won't exist if I don't accept ads, that is just not true. I argue that my web experience will improve:
a) No more commercial interference with my brain (how anyone can allow oneself to be brainwashed knowingly and accept it, is beyond me).
b) Less commercial me-too sites in the long run thinking about the fellow user rather than the sponsor.

Reply Parent Score: 4

kwan_e Member since:
2007-02-18

Let me rephrase it. The point I was trying to make is that it's not sites like OSNews that will go under, it's sites like The Verge with paid staff that have to worry.


The Verge can let go of staff and reduce its size and their revenue would still probably cover their operational costs.

I don't know anything about the finances of OSNews, but given that none of the contributors are paid and one works "overtime" to keep the front page going just so it can get some traffic probably means it can't handle revenue reduction that sites like Verge can.

Anyway, back to your original postulate that my web experience won't exist if I don't accept ads, that is just not true.


Only if we accept your assumption that big sites will be hit the hardest, which seems nothing more than wishful thinking. Maybe if there was no such thing as fixed costs vs variable costs in economics then maybe. But they exist.

Reply Parent Score: 3

Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

Afaik, OSNews doesn't pay contributors unlike Engadget. Costs are greatly reduced compared to commercial sites, it doesn't matter if they are fixed or not.

I am not saying it will be easy. More difficult are services like Google maps, Slashdot or Reddit.

The whole world uses Google maps, yet it is free (up to a point). If Google doesn't make money, probably we don't have maps (but even here we have volunteer sites like openstreetmap)

Slashdot was sold to a company and they are really struggling to make money of it and now it is for sale again. There was (is?) a plan to 'buy' the site by the readers and to preserve its spirit and continue from there but it has yet to materialise. I would pay money for such a plan btw.

Reddit is losing a lot of (investor) money even though most of the site is volunteer work, and still hasn't found a way to make money.
I still don't think ads are the way to go for those sites. I would ask 1 buck per year for those sites rather than diluting the site with ads. A bit like Whatsapp.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[5]: The elephant in the room
by chair on Sun 20th Sep 2015 23:28 in reply to "RE[4]: The elephant in the room"
chair Member since:
2012-12-18

Anyway, back to your original postulate that my web experience won't exist if I don't accept ads, that is just not true. I argue that my web experience will improve:
a) No more commercial interference with my brain (how anyone can allow oneself to be brainwashed knowingly and accept it, is beyond me).
b) Less commercial me-too sites in the long run thinking about the fellow user rather than the sponsor.


From my knowledge of business and journalism I would say the exact opposite is going to happen: more low quality sites posting press releases, more commercial interference.

With reduced ad revenue sites are going to have to reduce costs. That means less original, well researched content, and more regurgitating press releases, more relying on user generated content. You seem to like user generated content but in reality it's generally low quality. I realise the irony of an internet comment calling other internet comments low quality, but it's true. This is the modern day version of talk back radio. Comments (and comment rating) tends to follow what's popular. People naturally want to hear things that reinforce their beliefs. Commentators can say anything they want, there's no penalty for inaccuracy, and little moderation of extremist views. In fact, there's more of an incentive to post as fast as possible. Yes, there are positives to user comments. It's decentralised and democratic. But, compared to traditional editorial content, we get comments that are less likely to inform or challenge us.

To address your first point: ad blocking is going to lead to less obvious, and therefore more intrusive, ads. Traditional ads are clearly delineated, that's exactly what makes them blockable. With increased ad blocking web sites and companies are going to turn to "native advertising" (AKA paid content or advertorials). Some sites are doing this already. Some are obvious because they will clearly mark such content. Some sites may not mark paid content at all. Having obvious ads next to content isn't brain washing, posting paid content disguised as news on the other hand...

And then, of course, there is the marriage of the two: paid comments. Some companies are already doing this, and have been doing it for a long time. It can be cheaper and more effective than tradition ("honest") marketing. Talk up your product or just amplify negativity about your competitor. With ad blocking, and the rise in popularity of user comments, this is only going to become more enticing.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Wondercool Member since:
2005-07-08

Yes, I think that will happen with a lot of sites I have to admit. The process has already started. But I think you can't do this for a long time as visitors will see through this and move to other sites.

Some sites already operate 'skeleton' operations. Minimum effort, for maximum revenue. An example are these BGR 'articles' (picked from the homepage):

"8 tiny-but-terrific iOS 9 features you may have missed"
"15 hidden features in iOS 9"
"6 free tools that stop Windows 10 from spying on everything you do"

Just clickbait,

These sites will vanish when ads can be effectively stopped and nothing was lost. I still think something user driven will grow out of the ashes.

Reply Parent Score: 5