Survey after survey has shown that ad blockers are not stupid -- they get how content is provided free of charge by advertising, yet they still actively choose to cut off the means by which the articles they want to read for free are funded. It's nonsensical to think there is an education process to go through and we can somehow sit down and have a nice chat. There is no compromise; there is no position that needs outlining. Ad blockers know exactly what they are doing and whom they are hurting. They understand the economics -- they simply want a free ride. Blocking that free ride is sheer common sense. What have publishers got to lose other than getting rid of digital shop lifters? Reader metrics may go down, but what's the point in measuring people you can't serve ads to?
It really is time that publishers grew a spine. The Times reports that The Washington Post already has a pop-up (rather ironically) that ask blockers to disable their software if they want to receive content from them. It's a solution I've been suggesting that publishers take up for quite some time now. Yes, there are those who say this might put a wedge between a title and its readers but that's a little like saying CCTV cameras at fuel stations puts a wedge between Shell and people who try to drive off without paying. Who truly cares if a digital pickpocket or two are annoyed?
Now, of course, online publishing does have a case to answer. There are ads that are way too obtrusive. My particular bug bear is with sites who automatically run video adverts somewhere on the page with audio enabled. There you are reading an article when an ad blares out of your speakers until you find the window and shut it down -- by which time, of course, it's played long enough to register you as having viewed it. We all know what the annoying types of ads are so there needs to be an agreement that if you block the ad blockers, you need to take away the most annoying forms of advertising. At the same time too, publishers must ensure they have, and only work with people who have, good security systems in place to combat malware spreading through adverts. It's a common point raised by blockers that they are protecting themselves from malware, while no doubt still using email, social networks and messaging services which are susceptible too.
So, let's hope Trinity Mirror brings in some form of blocking the blockers. The industry needs somebody to take a stand so others can join. Those who don't? Well, they can be a safe haven for digital shoplifters, if they like but I suspect they'll soon see the error of their ways when the proportion of blockers ramps up and higher impressions do no lead to higher revenue.