- The Wall Street Journal has joined other publishers in asking visitors to turn off ad blocking software. It’s testing the pop-up message that requests visitors disable ad blockers and subscribe to the Journal among select visitors in the U.S. and Europe.
- The Journal isn’t blocking its free-access articles, but it is blocking articles that are behind its subscriber firewall, indicating it expects its paying customers to also endure advertising.
- In ad block news on the user end, the Opera browser with built-in ad blocking capability is out of testing and is now a standard feature for the desktop browser as well as the Opera Mini browser for Android mobile devices.
With each new development in the ad block debate, it seems a solution is within sight, but still out of reach.
The Journal is not alone in the tactic it's using of letting visitors know it is detecting ad blocking software with a message that online content is supported by advertising and a call-to-action to become a subscriber. Although the jury is somewhat out on how effective the strategy will be in the long run, given that most website visitors are adopting ad block tech because of a poor user experience, adding another layer of annoyance could backfire for publishers.
In the Journal’s case, the tactic may be somewhat confusing for users since it’s implicit that by becoming a subscriber the user experience becomes ad-free, although the anti-ad block message is layered over subscriber-only content. Although, Digiday reported it only appears to subscribers who aren’t logged in so the pop-up might just be a technical issue on the Journal’s end.
Overall the ad block battle comes down to the end user and their experience. As Jerrid Grimm, co-founder of Pressboard, recently told Marketing Dive, "Whether you look at Uber, Airbnb, TiVo (DVR’s), Netflix, or music streaming ... consumer demand always prevails over entrenchment of the establishment. Why would we expect ad blocking to be any different? If this becomes a technological arms race, we’re putting our bet on the consumer winning the war."