October 20, 2015
Last week, German publisher Axel Springer announced that they would enact a paywall for all visitors who use ad blockers. Now a UK newspaper has erected an even higher barrier to blocking users.
City AM, a free business-focused paper based in London, has a new policy that bars certain ad block users from view content beyond the homepage. An intercept is presented midway down the article page obscuring the text and imploring the visitor to disable the blocker. The program starts with Firefox users and will expand soon to other browsers. Company officials reported that about 20% of its 1.2 million monthly visitors use ad blocking.
These moves, likely to be followed by others, mirror the trend a digital generation ago when publishers attempted to erect content paywalls, only to be pushed back by users when traffic plummeted for all but the most premium sites. As margins have become tighter in recent years among legacy print medium, paywalls have seen a resurgence, but their effectiveness still is mainly limited to sites with premium brands or high-value content (such as business-to-business publishers). […]