Software tools that can detect Web advertisements and then block them from users’ view have become increasingly popular as consumers fret about things like data collection or the glut of advertising slowing down Web pages.
But ad-blockers have become a major problem for publishers because most of the free content distributed online is supported by advertising revenue. One recent report suggested the issue will lead to $22 billion in lost revenue this year as one out of three Internet users now employee some software to block ads.
Recently, as ad-blocking spreads across the Internet, publishers have tried different strategies to deal with the problem, everything from completely disallowing ad-blocking users from viewing content on their sites to paying anti-ad-blocking firms to block the blockers.
Some publishers, however, have taken a softer approach: appealing directly to readers.
For instance, Wired in recent months has tested various versions of diplomacy, asking readers to “please do us a solid and disable your ad-blocker.” The message appears on the Web page where an ad normally would.
“We figured the best place to start with that is just to ask,” said Mark McClusky, head of operations at Wired, which is owned by Condé Nast. Mr. McClusky said it was important to be straightforward with Wired’s “very tech-savvy audience.”
It’s too early to tell if the appeals are working, and Wired is still testing how best to communicate with its readers about ad-blocking, Mr. McClusky said.
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