I was reading this article at the BBC today: Ad blockers: How online publishing is fighting back. The article suggests an ongoing, and escalating battle between online publishers, and the creators and users of ad block technology. It suggests that online publishers are threatened by the use of ad blockers.
I say: Good.
It’s been a pet peeve of mine for decades that advertising is becoming increasingly invasive and pervasive. It’s hard to escape ads on everything. And while it might be said that advertising allows for content to be provided for free, it also greatly impedes our ability to find and use content effectively.
Here is a fact: If your primary business funding model is based on selling advertising, you are going to fail. Maybe not immediately, but you will eventually. Selling advertising is selling ether. It’s nothing. There’s no product. Advertising space exists on the assumption that The Consumer ™ will look at what is in there.
Increasingly, Consumers are telling content providers that they have no desire to look in there, and that they WILL NOT look in there. That is the demand that drives ad blocking technology.
Content providers are trying to fight back by blocking the blockers. For me, that’s fine – I can get the info I want elsewhere (Forbes, take note). They say it threatens their ability to provide content for free. Possibly it does. However, if you’re producing content that nobody wants to pay for in sufficient quantity to allow you to create it, then maybe there’s a message for you from the market – a lesson you’re not learning.
People will pay for content that has value. They will. They won’t tolerate intrusive advertising shoved down their throats. In fact, there’s no real need to have advertising at all in 2016 because people that want to learn about a product can use search engines. If you’re advertising today, think instead about your media approach. You probably need a press release and an awesome web site to sell your wares, because an ever increasing number of people are not going to see, let alone click, your aggravating, bandwidth-wasting pixel-diarrhea.
In the war of consumers versus advertising, the consumer will win. They always do.
Yes, it means (although likely many people do not understand) that paywalls will probably increase – but the market will pay for content that has value. What content providers have to recognize is that content doesn’t have infinite bucket of money value that it once did.