'Atlantic' Erects Wall Against Ad Blockers

The Atlantic has put up a “hard wall” against online readers using ad-blockers.

Previously, TheAtlantic.com had put up a “soft wall” as the site transitioned to a secure HTTPS; it did not prevent ad-block users from reading The Atlantic online. Instead, it suggested they buy an ad-free subscription.

Now, ad-block users will hit a hard wall when they arrive at TheAtlantic.com. The site gives readers two options: whitelist the site, or pay for an ad-free subscription.

The Atlantic warned users of their hard stance in a note to readers last fall. The 159-year-old publication explained its decision: to protect their editorial content.



“For our publication to continue to grow and be sustainable, we need to create an environment where readers can accept and feel good about ads alongside our work—or else support it in alternative ways,” the company wrote.

This week, a spokesperson added in an e-mail: “We strongly believe that it's about choice. And if the choice is to block ads, there must be a value exchange. We appreciate that people have privacy concerns and that -- regardless of improvements we make to user experience and security -- some may not be satisfied. And so we’re giving them other ways to support The Atlantic."

According to a Juniper Research white paper published last summer titled “Digital Advertisers vs. The Ad Blockers,” ad blocking is expected to cost publishers $27 billion in lost revenues in the next five years.

Online ad blocking is also expected to contribute 70.2% of all lost revenues in 2020, with the rest coming from mobile platforms.

The study found that most ad blocker adoptees are between the ages of 18 and 29. Female millennials were more likely to use ad blockers.

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