A site like Ars, with a tech-savvy audience, is the hardest hit. Fisher claims 40 percent of Ars readers are blocking their ads, and points out that many readers running ad blockers aren’t even aware that they’re costing sites money:
There is an oft-stated misconception that if a user never clicks
on ads, then blocking them won’t hurt a site financially. This is
wrong. Most sites, at least sites the size of ours, are paid on a
per view basis.
I have no easy answer, but I will point out that there’s no inherent reason why ads have to be something people are tempted to block. It’s not enough to ask readers not to block ads — you’ve got to work hard at providing ads that readers actually enjoy, or at least aren’t tempted to block.
Update: There’s a prisoners’ dilemma problem with ad blockers, where it doesn’t matter if one site shows reasonable ads if others show crap ads, because those crap ads will drive users to install ad-blocking software, and ad-blocking software casts a wide net and blocks as much as it can. It’s unlikely that most ad-blocker-using Ars readers installed their ad-blocker because of the ads on Ars Technica.
★ Sunday, 7 March 2010