'Wired' To Ad-Block Users: Turn It Off Or Subscribe

Wired is offering a new option to the 20% of its readers who block ads: $3.99 for four weeks of ad-free access. 

The site's editors wrote a letter to readers explaining the decision: "We know that you come to our site primarily to read our content, but it’s important to be clear that advertising is how we keep Wired going: paying the writers, editors, designers, engineers, and all the other staff that works so hard to create the stories you read and watch here."

The letter said that access to articles on Wired's site will be restricted for those using an ad blocker.

Users who want to see the content will have to white-list Wired on their ad blocker or take the subscription option, which comes without display ads or tracking.

An Adobe and PageFair study on ad blocking found that ad blocking costs publishers something like $22 billion. When the study was released last August, ad-blocking penetration in the U.S. was 15%.

Forbes test blocked ad blockers beginning last December. In September, The Washington Post experimented with barring ad blockers by inviting them to subscribe, sign up for a newsletter or disable their ad-blocking software.

In a presentation last month, Interactive Advertising Bureau CEO Randall Rothenberg linked advertising to freedom of speech and called German company AdBlock-Plus an "unethical, immoral, mendacious coven of techie wannabes." 

Read millennials' explanations for why they do or don't block ads, as reported by Real-Time Daily last week. 

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5 comments about "'Wired' To Ad-Block Users: Turn It Off Or Subscribe".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, February 9, 2016 at 10:04 a.m.

    It's pretty rare for Wired or Wapo to have something so unique that I cannot find the same story on a competing website that would rather count my visit than my click-through.

  2. Bob Gordon from The Auto Channel, February 9, 2016 at 11:20 a.m.

    No Ads, No Editorial Content, No Democracy.. oh well ...blame the billions of useless impressions for diminishing the value of banners in the eyes of the advertisers and their digital agency experts. In the basement rates force publishers to allow their site to look like an ad covered  NASCAR vehicle. If there was respect for the value of our hard earned audiences we could eliminate 75% of the ads and make everyone happy (except those sited generating those billion of worthless impressions). Relevant ads delivered as a just in time message are welcomed by readers.  

  3. Kim Garretson from RealizingInnovation replied, February 10, 2016 at 10:55 a.m.

    Thanks Bob Gordon: "Relevant ads delivered as a just in time message are welcomed by readers." This is the year when we will see the tech emerging to do exactly this. I call it "Permission Marketing at Scale", and it will simply ask individuals for consent to advertiser to them 1:1 on criteria they set, for brands, products, offers, etc. We are seeing this emerging fast in e-commerce, and media is set to follow. 

  4. John Grono from GAP Research, February 9, 2016 at 5:08 p.m.

    And so it came to be that the digital diruptors were themselves digitally disrupted.

    They preached about giving the consumer greater choice, and lo and behold consumers are now exercising that choice and guess who doesn't like it.

    Plus c'est la meme chose, plus ca change.

  5. Tri Huynh from Adsorcery, February 10, 2016 at 2:13 p.m.

    The strategy might work. From my experiences helping publishers dealing with ad blocking I learn that, simply asking users to turn the blockers off somtimes might work wonder. However to pull it off, it depends on two important factors: the quality of the content and the devices the visitors are on.

    If the content is good enough, the most visitors will go extra length get it. About the second factor, it has a lot to do with the difficulty to turn off ad blockers on mobile devices. On desktop, to whitelist a domain, it only takes a single click to do so. In mobile, it takes several steps to do so - so most users won't do that.