from the go-ahead dept
This isn't one of those "pay us to remove ads" deals. It's up to you. That said, obviously if you disable ads we're likely to make less money. So if you choose to do that, we'd appreciate it if you supported us in other ways, such as via our Insider Shop, where you can buy a membership that gets you certain perks, or through our Deals Store, where you can support Techdirt while buying some cool products and services. But, again, this is not a requirement. If you don't like ads on the site, turn them off.
If you've been paying attention to the news lately, there's been all sorts of hand-wringing about "ad blockers", with the hair pulling reaching new levels of craziness a few weeks ago when Apple finally started allowing ad blockers into the iOS app store. Some have been whining about how this is going to kill off the free internet or somehow lead publishers to fall to the side as internet giants like Google, Facebook and Apple colonize the independent web. There have been all sorts of debates about whether or not ad blocking is ethical, which seems like a pointless debate to me, since users don't care. They're going to do it anyway.
I'm planning to do another post in the near future on how the online advertising/publishing ecosystem should react to all of this, but so far they've been reacting... badly. The IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau) has gone so far as to discuss suing over ad blocking, and some sites -- including the Washington Post -- have decided to block access to users who have ad blockers enabled.
We've even been approached by multiple companies who claim to offer a form of ad blocker blocker, that will either insert new ads even when users have ad blockers, or otherwise pester users with ad blockers turned on.
This seems like the exact wrong approach. It's somewhat reminiscent of the way the RIAA and MPAA reacted to the internet challenging their business models. Rather than listen, recognize what the public wanted and adapt, they whined, screamed about ethics and went to court. And how's that worked out for everyone? We've always said that those who adapt to these challenges are likely to do better, and part of that means actually listening to your fans and helping them do what they want. So that's what we're doing: if you choose to disable ads, you just need to go to your preferences and click a button and that should do it.
It's important to note that this is an experiment, though we have no plans to suddenly pull it back (that would be ridiculous). For now, it only applies to network display ads -- or what most people think of as "banner ads." In the future, we may (or may not!) experiment with further ability to customize what you see and what you don't see on the site. Again, there is no expectation here in terms of how you respond, but running this site does cost money -- so we would certainly appreciate it if you also were willing to support the site in other ways, whether you turn off the ads or leave them on. But, on the whole, we're going to allow you to decide how you best want to support this site and trust you to figure out the best way, rather than forcing the choice upon you. Thanks for being a part of this community and we look forward to continuing to deliver interesting stories and conversations going forward.