City AM Says No Ad Blockers Allowed

Ad blocking tools are not new, but the topic of ad blocking has mushroomed in 2015. This may be, in part, because of the announcement made by the Apple CEO in early June of this year. Now, ad blockers are everywhere, and it seems people are really starting to pay attention to them. This trend is becoming so popular, that one news site in the UK is fighting back.

News Stand

The UK has long been known as a testing ground for privacy and civil liberties violations, whether it is the country’s current closed circuit TV network, or the requirement of the Declaration of Sports in 1617. That said, it should be no surprise that a UK website is one of the first site to stop allowing ad blocking tools. The website in question, is the online version of the newspaper, City A.M.

According to the digital director of City A.M., fewer than 20,000 users of the publication’s 1.4 million monthly readers will be affected by this change. We understand that websites work on advertising, but if it is truly that small of a number, why would you take the time? By clicking on a news article on the site, you are allowed to read the first two paragraphs, then you are greeted by a message that looks like this.

Website Block

Reading the verbiage of this block, you almost begin to feel bad for this poor, downtrodden newspaper that is just trying to make the world better. In fact, why not just allow all advertisements all the time? Truly, this ban of ad blockers serves it’s purpose, but it feels weird to have a website do what amounts to begging the user to show them ads. The last time we checked, the UK still had a capitalist society.

If this newspaper was genuinely worried about revenues from adverts, why would they waste the energy to block 20k people instead of becoming a pay site? It is reasonable to us that they would certainly make more money by just charging everyone, instead of singling out the 0.1% of their readers that use an ad blocker. In our view, this appears to be a desperate measure, executed by a media company that is fighting for every last dollar it can squeeze out of it’s advertisers. It may be a tactic to make the advertisers feel better, but it is hard to think of such a practice making any kind of real impact on the company.