Performancing Metrics

Blocking Adblockers? How About Focusing on What Matters and Create Content Instead?

Ever since Ars Technica raised the issue there has been a higher focus by bloggers on blocking adblockers. Say that 5 times in a row quickly: ‘ focus by bloggers on blocking adblockers’.

The issue is obviously an important one, especially for many bloggers who make a living from their content, but at the same time it is a total and utter waste of time and takes away from what self-employed online authors should be doing, write valuable content. Some content producers even go as far as calling adblock users ‘thief’.
The issue of adblockers, and ‘lost revenue’ is rather simple to break down and although I entirely support sites relying on ads revenue, all I can say about this is to Get over it.

Before you get upset now, let me honestly tell you that my blogging revenues depend mainly on ad revenue, but I also use ClickToFlash to improve my web experience and thus regularly block ads. Feel free to call me a thief, if I steal I also steal revenue of myself.

Decisive About Adblock Usage Statistics Is The Niche You Are In

The main decisive factor about the popularity of adblockers on your site is the niche you are in. When your content is tech focused, whether about new gadgets or about blogging (platforms), you probably will have more readers using Firefox and other standard compliant browsers, and also adblockers. Chances are high that you have also used an adblocker, during your many years online, or use a plugin such as ClickToFlash to at least limit the annoyances of Flash.
Tech minded users, surfers are the most active and often most prolific ones. They read sites such as Lifehacker and usually stay up-to-date about what the fastest browser is and how they can tweak their browser and internet connection, or network settings, to enjoy the fastest browsing experience.

But at the same time they also are the most prolific readers and often the most active participants to many a site. They use several social media accounts and chances that they still use locally stored bookmarks are very small. They will tweet, submit your great content to Delicious, Stumble and/or Digg your content. Or comment on your entries.

If your content revolves around philately or you run a popular ‘mommy blog’, chances are that you have a higher percentage of Internet Explorer users and less Firefox/Google Chrome/Safari or mobile users even among your readership. Most of your visitors might never have heard about adblocking technology.

They are the ‘influential’ users you need to get buzzed and go viral with your entries

Although I do not have any statistics about the more active and prolific participation of more tech savvy, and ‘addicted’, users in social media we all know that this is true. Being often online for more than 12 hours ourselves, just think about what your own online habits are. When was the last time you saved a bookmark locally but how many times have you (re)tweeted a good post you read instead? Ultimately you have to think less shallow-mindedly and trust the avalanche effect.
These maybe 5%-10% of regulars, often also fastest readers/absorbers of your content, who use any adblocking technology probably represent up to 80% of the first submissions and early votes on the social sites. They are the ‘influential’ users you need to get buzzed and go viral with your entries. To help your content reach the masses, masses who do NOT use any adblocking technology and thus actively generate you revenue. Once you have that base of tweets, stumbles and diggs your valuable content is more likely to be shared on Facebook, linked in local communities/forums and on smaller, less known blogs. Read by people who aren’t tech savvy and don’t know what an adblocker is. People who actively generate you money. People who will click your affiliate links without even knowing it’s an affiliate. People from whom you don’t have to hide/cloak affiliate links.

What Should You Focus On Then?

If you have to lose time trying out the best method to block these extensions, you’re doing it wrong. Instead you could try out alternative ad models, do some A-B testing about the location and popularity of your ads, but most of all you should return to your post editor and/or notebook and start focusing on your content again. If your content is great, the biggest content ‘spunges’ will also promote your content. Remember that these are probably the same ones who read your content from their feed reader, a rather ad-free environment and if you have ads in your feed, these have the worst conversion rate of all anyway.

Why did they come to your site? Maybe because they wanted to comment on your content, participate to your community, but instead you just annoyed them, hijacked their browser experience. Remember that one annoyed customer will share his/her experience with everyone who wants to hear about but you need more than five satisfied customers to tell their friends about you.

Lesson learned: get over it and move on. We had the exactly same discussion in 2005 with feeds already, today most of us have more feed subscribers than daily page views.

Categories: Blogging Tips
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  1. Jean-Baptiste Jung ) says: 3/9/2010

    I do not agree with you, but your post was interesting to read.


    • Franky Branckaute ) says: 3/9/2010

      Personally, all I see is a repeat of the whole discussion about feeds. That discussion also turned around lost page views and lost ad impressions. Where would we be today without feeds?

      But I do understand both views and sympathise with people/content creators who look at the issue from the ‘other side’. It’s a difficult and delicate topic.


  2. Mike T says: 3/9/2010

    At some point, someone has to actually view the ads if they are going to bring in revenue to the site. Since a lot of ad blockers do so indiscriminately, it doesn’t matter how good your content is if no one is viewing the ads which brings home the bacon.

    What is needed is compromise like adblocker apps to stop, by default, blocking non-intrusive ads like AdSense ads.


    • Franky Branckaute ) says: 3/9/2010

      Mike, what I truly wonder is how big is the percentage of users using Adblockers. I bet it’s lower than anyone wants to admit. Ads are viewed, most people don’t use blockers. I always say what people like Scoble need to understand is that us, tech savvy minds and people always looking for the best and newest represent less than 2%.

      If adblockers need to be blocked, we also need to ditch feeds again because they still generate a loss in both page views and thus revenue.


  3. Sid Savara ) says: 3/9/2010

    LOL “Lesson learned: get over it and move on.”

    The one point I am a bit sympathetic towards though is that I understand their business model was built around the idea of showing users ads – and if the users are blocking ads, that’s going to cause problems with the model. And clearly, that means you have to adjust your business model, although I don’t have a problem with perhaps making a plea to the users to please disable adblock on a particular site

    There’s a WordPress plugin by Thaya Kareeson that somehow checks for Adblock and disables site viewing if adblock is enabled. I don’t recall how it works, but I tested it and it does. I ended up not using it because I would rather have people come to my site and perhaps spread the word, or perhaps buy something from me down the road – as opposed to being blocked and just leave


  4. David says: 3/10/2010

    The issue is not whether to block or not to block it is more fundamental.

    There is an implicit assumption that advertising in its current format will continue as it has always done. In other words an industrial-age concept of billboards can be successfully grafted onto the information superhighway.

    This is working at the moment only because an information age alternative has not yet emerged where vendors can meet with consumers in a more efficient, less intrusive and more cost-effective environment.

    Information age advertising mediums are inevitable and are starting to appear right now. One example is the Customer Satisfaction Monitor which has recently been launched.

    This Customer Satisfaction Monitor ( answers the three most important pre-purchase questions and introduces a new step into the sales process. Advertisers can now target prospects at a very crucial point in the sales process much more cost-effectively and less intrusively because the consumer is in control.

    As an advertiser it will be increasingly uneconomical to advertise elsewhere because potential customers will be ambushed by competitors at services like the Customer Satisfaction Monitor. Industrial-age advertising will, as a result, wither on the vine.

    For those services relying on advertising it is time to rethink your revenue model.


  5. Amgad says: 3/14/2010

    I think its selfish of visitors to have run adblockers. My sites are not content driven, but if they were I would run adblocker blocking scripts.


  6. MrSmith says: 1/22/2011

    Agree with the author … But in the grand scheme of things, just the way it goes. People who can’t figure out ways to adapt to adblocker software and overcome it. Better yet, use it to advantage and get some of the silver lining the problem presents.

    Then that’s their problem. Cream rises and all that … Im a net marketer ( SEM/SEO … etc.) Only been researching the subject a few hours and seeing plenty of potential solutions … even ways to use it to my advantage.

    Agree with you in the quality of content thing too. Content is king etc. If someone is creative enough and knowledgeable in a subject(s) to get recognized for their work. Then they have a real value regardless. They likely could integrate and adblocker blocker script into their site and people would add them to their exceptions list to allow ads for their site.

    Those people imo … are also likely to be the types easily able to come up with alternative ways to monetize their sites. Intelligent, creative people … tend to be sensible and common sense applies to everything. A person rich in common sense, is truly rich. Lol … don’t know why they call it common though … Considering how rare a quality it seems to be.

    The adblockers killing websites thing. I actually approve of it. Seems to me a good percentage of the internet is web pollution and trash sites anyway. Low quality, irrelevant or regurgitated trash. I have to spend 20hrs digging through 3mil trash sites to find a good source of info on a topic.

    So won’t hurt my feelings if 85% of the sites on the net crash and burn. Leaving the quality sites to rise above all the nonsense background noise and internet static in their niche’s. Bringing netizens to quality content … Win/win … win for the netizen … Win for the site owner that actually has something to offer of interest/value.

    Random: Plus I like that it’s hitting the netgods … google/facebook/binghooo in the breadbaskets. Never was a big fan of big corps like those. They all got the you can’t live without us. Were sooo important we can treat people however we like syndrome. If it hurts their bottomline … again, I can’t help but approve.