The result? Nearly half (47%) of people visiting with an ad blocker switched on whitelisted FT.com when prompted by a polite notice and several words missing from the article. When nearly all of the article was obscured, and accompanied by a message encouraging viewers to whitelist the site, more than two in three (69%) did so. There really is no need to complicate this further than to draw the natural conclusion. The majority of ad-blocker users will whitelist a site they feel they get more out of by consuming content than have it withheld from them.
Now, I have been the first to label ad-blocker users as digital shoplifters because of the way they seem happy to accept content without playing their part of the deal and consuming advertising. That definition still holds, but it's hard not to have some sympathy with people who are blocking adverts simply because some rogue sites plaster pages with units and make it difficult to see the woods for the trees. Auto-playing video (with sound!) are a personal bug bear too.
So if we give some ad blockers the benefit of the doubt, it seems that around half, or two in three, will whitelist a site they feel contains very important content. This will obviously go down for sites that do not offer journalism at such a high quality and run content that people feel they can happily get by without reading.
However, it does prove a point. Publishers do need to grow a spine and challenge ad blockers. If you are offering a quality product and you're not pepper spraying ads in front of that content continuously to annoy readers, then you have every right to withhold the fruits of your labour from digital shoplifters. The average ad blocker will generally say they want to prevent intrusive, annoying advertising and it's not about cutting off publishers' ad revenues altogether. So, OK -- let's put it to the test.
More publishers need to follow some leading examples of major US news organisations, and now the FT in the UK to simply and politely ram home the point that there is no such thing as a free ride. If you want this content, then you have to do your bit and allow advertiser's messages to subsidise the cost of producing it. A simple -- but, it appears, highly effective -- message.