Friday, August 21, 2015
Are Internet business models threatened by users' blocking ads and pop-ups?
A “new” story on “Newsy” repeats what we already suspect or even know: Internet users are blocking ads, and this is costing service providers and website owners (those depending on ads) billions.
The story indicates that the “guiltiest” users are gamers (like "Sean" in NBC's "The Event"), tech site users and social media users. There is an irony in that Chrome has become the most popular browser and Google has made blocking easier than have some other browsers. One particular part of this is blocking Adobe Flash, which many ads use (although gradually fewer of them, just like fewer videos, use it because of the user block, which some users say helps prevent Windows 8 crashes).
Users are also less likely to visit ad sites directly (providing potential product revenue to the websites) because of fear of malware, which is rare when hosted by reputable corporate media sites but has happened.
But content providers, especially major news sites, depend on ad revenue, which supports the “it’s free” experience. That’s one reason why more newspapers have started using paywalls. That’s OK for major magazines (like Time) that you might buy in print anyway, or for truly global papers (like the New York Times), where one annual subscription gets you “all the news”, but it’s a problem when local papers do it, because it is hard to get locality-specific news (like when traveling).
Browser vendors have not so reluctantly supported “do not track”, which also reduces the effectiveness of some ad delivery.
What’s not so clear is how important ad revenue fits into the business models of service providers, both free (like Blogger or Wordpress) and paid shared hosting.
As for games, remember "Myst" and Riven"?