How does one avoid the predicament unfolded by the ruinous blocking of ads, and hence revenues? Are there ways to circumvent the AdBlock obstacle? The one question we have been able to answer ourselves, the hard way (sadly), is that AdBlock and its upgraded bigger brother AdBlockPlus are harmful to an often times dangerous extent.
Imagine owning a hotel. Of course, seeing as this is the service industry, you’re aiming to give your customers the best stay you can. Your offers include free wifi, breakfast, room service and all that without any extra payment – sounds heavy on the expenditure pocket, right? Now imagine about 30-40% of your customers enjoy all that without leaving you a dime in return. Welcome to the world of AdblockPlus. It robs us of our revenues, which we all mainly and with a lot of effort rack up through advertisement on our sites. Yet, ironically enough, we probably use it ourselves and so we shall refrain from judging our faithful consumers upon their usage of AdblockPro.
Now we encounter our first issue and question created thereby: Is forcing ourselves on our customers the right way? Think back to the hotel metaphor. Imagine the revenue loss situation becoming unbearable, what would be the first solution to your “stay-and-dash”-ing customers? Chase them down! Translated back to our business this means becoming more intrusive! We are inadvertently forced to consider bringing back the “devil” of advertising which we all have been so great at banning from our lives! Here irony strikes again. There is an option to pay AdBlock so that one’s ads do not get blocked, which is ironic due to this option defeating the whole purpose of AdBlocks existence. It puts them in a position of absolute advantage and us at absolute disadvantage. Giants like Google and its Russian equivalent Yandex lose an equivalent of 30% (!) of their revenues, which mainly spring from advertisement, to AdblockPro. It is a for us vicious and for them beneficial cycle of resorting to more intrusive methods, which would justify AdblockPro’s actions even more. That would lead to more blocking, which in turn leads to more intrusive methods etc. etc…
So what are we to do? Are we to just sit quietly and let our revenues drop or should we at least feed them to AdblockPro in hope to be allowed on their precious and holy white-list? How about none of the above?! AdblockPro is legitimate for now and we have not yet exhausted all of our options and aces up our sleeves to overcome it, so we got to keep pushing to improve ourselves and our methods and make the best out of it! An example of such would be the strengthening of communities and relations between the site and its regular visitors/subscribers as was visible for some websites that offer their users to read popular Japanese comics (aka Manga) without charge. Since those websites do not have a huge volume of visitors they heavily rely on those advertisement revenues AdblockPro prevents them from earning. They went as far as blocking their content unless the AdBlocker is turned off, and they were not the only ones – Forbes and many others did the same. That is yet another method, very rash and somewhat indiscreet too, in the sense of the inconvenience and we are kind of forced to bring it upon our visitors. Not cool. One could of course just leave a note saying, “Hey, it’s your favorite team reaching out to you, our valuable visitors! Please do not use AdBlock on our site, it hurts us!” Then again, does that really help? Not so much. Website named arstechnica.com conducted a 12-hour experiment where they followed the footsteps of Forbes and their results were very mixed. Some people listened to reason, even subscribed whilst others deliberately fell into rage or outcry about the unwarned surprise blockage.
For now, it seems that all we can do is count on the goodwill and merit of our visitors and their understanding of our situation. In the next post, we will go on to explore more into this issue AdblockPro presents us with and some cool-headed countermeasures one can undertake. In that sense, we are going to leave you with the words you could apply to your website, which are “Please don’t use AdblockPro on our website, it hurts us and our ability to provide you with the content we have so far! We promise to make it worth your while.”