Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
The Washington Post launches a year in news à la Spotify Wrapped
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Feb. 26, 2016, 11:03 a.m.
Business Models
LINK: adblockplus.org  ➚   |   Posted by: Laura Hazard Owen   |   February 26, 2016

This week in adblocking news: New York Times CEO Mark Thompson suggested the company would consider banning adblocker users who aren’t subscribers, while popular adblocking plugin Adblock Plus shone a little bit of light on its business model.

Adblock Plus doesn’t subsist on grateful users’ donations. Ben Williams, the company’s operations manager, explained in a blog post:

First, it’s mega-important to understand that when websites or advertisers apply to be on the whitelist, the specific ads they want to whitelist must meet the Acceptable Ads criteria. There is no ‘pay-to-play,’ just as there are no exceptions. We invite you to view all our whitelisted partners and discuss specific whitelisted ads in our forum.

After applying to be whitelisted and agreeing to meet criteria, a small percentage compensate us while the rest are free — but where do we draw the line between the two?

As you can see on this web page, only advertisers that stand to gain more than 10 million incremental ad impressions per month because of whitelisting are asked to sponsor. To put that in perspective, if 5 percent of a site’s users block ads, for example, then that site needs to have 200 million ad impressions to begin with in order to break the 10 million threshold.

A site’s non-ad block traffic is not included in the calculation. Using this definition, most publishers don’t pay anything at all — in our last measurement, 90 percent were free actually.

Who are these really, really large advertisers? “In off-the-record conversations, it’s widely speculated that Google pays more than all other media combined,” AdExchanger noted.

Times CEO Thompson had harsh words about adblocking (and the businesses that enable it) in a panel in New York this week. Companies like AdBlock Plus “essentially are asking for extortion to allow for ads to take place. That should not be allowed,” he said, as reported by AdWeek. In addition:

Thompson said he is considering banning ad-blocking readers who are not subscribers, as some publishers have already done. “In the end, they’re not really helping pay for what they consume,” he said.

Show tags
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
The Washington Post launches a year in news à la Spotify Wrapped
“We initially built a ‘look-back’ experience but pivoted when we learned that our readers are more interested in insights that center on their reading ‘personality’ and content discovery rather than revisiting news from the past.”
How risky is it for journalists to cover protests?
Plus: Exploring why women leave the news industry, the effects of opinion labels, and susceptibility to disinformation.
Coming to a Hawaii library near you: Honolulu Civil Beat is hosting pop-up newsrooms around the state
“We learned that people have an interest if they can get to us.”