Ars Technica’s Ken Fisher on Ad Blocking

I’ve written at length before on the subject of ad blocking and how it hurts your favorite websites. My diatribes have been a little strongly worded in the past, which may blunt the effect I intended them to evoke. Fortunately, a much larger site than I has published an article on the subject, and their article, I believe, does a better job at explaining the publishers’ side of things.

Ars Technica’s Editor-in-Chief, Ken Fisher, recently penned Why Ad Blocking is devastating to the sites you love, a piece that presents, quite well, the facts of what ad blocking does to a website.

There is an oft-stated misconception that if a user never clicks on ads, then blocking them won’t hurt a site financially. This is wrong. Most sites, at least sites the size of ours, are paid on a per view basis. If you have an ad blocker running, and you load 10 pages on the site, you consume resources from us (bandwidth being only one of them), but provide us with no revenue. Because we are a technology site, we have a very large base of ad blockers. Imagine running a restaurant where 40% of the people who came and ate didn’t pay. In a way, that’s what ad blocking is doing to us. Just like a restaurant, we have to pay to staff, we have to pay for resources, and we have to pay when people consume those resources. The difference, of course, is that our visitors don’t pay us directly but indirectly by viewing advertising.

Whether you block ads or not, I encourage you to read the full article. Even if you think you have made-up your mind on the matter, you should still see what the editor of one of the largest (and highest-quality) tech news sites has to say.

When someone blocks ads on a website they frequent, they are taking money from a company that has to somehow pay its employees and provide funds to run servers. It may not be a pleasant fact, but it is a fact nonetheless. I don’t know about you, but I don’t relish the idea of paying subscriptions for websites.

I don’t ask that you give-up ad blocking entirely. (After all, how would we have survived the pop-up infestation of the ’90s without resorting to blocking them?) I do, however, encourage the adoption of less aggressive blocking rules, and that you whitelist your favorite sites.