One of the most popular sections on Reddit, /r/technology, is considering banning links from websites that force users to turn off their ad blockers.
The idea has been put to the vote amongst subscribers — and it appears they’re overwhelmingly supportive of the idea.
At the time of writing, the thread — which is also debating a ban on posting links to content that sits behind paywalls — has been upvoted by 90% of those clicking on the discussion.
Some of those upvoting may simply be cheering the debate itself, rather than voting either way, but a quick scroll through the comments shows many users want to only be linked to content that doesn’t force them to turn off their ad blocker or pay.
/r/technology moderator “creq” writes:
It has come to our attention that many websites such as Forbes and Wired are now requiring users to disable ad blockers to view content. Because Forbes requires users to do this and has then served malware to them we see this as a security risk to you our community. There are also sites such as Wall Street Journal that have implemented pay-walls which we were are also considering banning.
We would like all of your thoughts on whether or not we should allow domains such as Forbes here on /r/technology while they continue to resort to such practices.
Thank you for the input.
/r/technology has more than 5 million subscribers, making it the 51st most-popular subreddit, according to RedditMetrics.
A growing number of publishers including Forbes, GQ, City AM, The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, and Bild have begun experimenting with preventing ad blocker users from viewing their content.
Research from PageFair released in February this year found that while publishers had some degree of success in initially getting users to disable their ad blockers on their sites (Forbes said its appeal led to 42.3% of those asked either disabling their ad blocker or whitelisting its site, for example,) early success stories might not signal a long-term attitude.
Some users simply switch their ad blocker back on when they get past the first ad blocker wall, for example, while others simply opt to read their news elsewhere.
Then there’s also the issue of publishers asking users to turn off their ad blockers but going on to serve them with intrusive ads and tracking scripts — which kind of defeats the point.
Meanwhile, Reddit users commenting on the discussion about whether domains like Forbes’ should be banned are also debating whether, rather than an outright ban, people posting links should tag those sites with words such as “NoAdblock,” “Paywall,” or “Not Safe For Browser” instead, so people know what to expect when they click through.
What /r/technology decides to do will be interesting to follow. Ad blocker usage tends to be most popular among young males who visit technology and gaming websites, according to a report from PageFair and Adobe, which estimated there are 200 million monthly users of ad blockers globally.
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