Ad block experiment goes wrong

Ars Technica has made an impassioned plea to its readers after an experiment to lock out punters who used ad blocking went a bit wrong.

Last Friday, the well-respected tech news portal conducted an experiment in which anyone using a popular advertising blocking tool would not be able to get access to the site's content.

"Technologically, it was a success in that it worked," said Editor in Chief Ken Fisher. "Ad blockers, and only ad blockers, couldn't see our content."

The success of the experiment, which was conducted in an effort to dispel the misconception that ad blocking plug-ins don't hurt a site financially was "a mixed bag" according to Fisher.

"A bunch of people white-listed Ars, and even a few subscribed," he says. "And while others showed up to support our actions, there was a healthy mob of people criticising us for daring to take any kind of action against those who would deny us revenue even though they knew they were doing so.

"Others rightly criticised the lack of a warning or notification as to what was going on. We made the mistake of assuming that everyone who is blocking ads at Ars is doing so with malice. As it turns out, only a few people are, and many indicated [that they were] happy to help out."

There's no doubt that intrusive advertising is the bain of the Internet user, but without advertising revenue just about every tech blog and news portal on the planet would cease to exist.

Sites like THINQ generate revenue, and hence wages for our overworked staff, based on page views as well as click throughs. Ad blocking removes that source of income and can lead to staff redundancies and closures.

With more and more massive media companies looking to paid models for news delivery, the utopian model of a free and unfettered internet is becoming a distant memory.

Surely having to suffer the inclusion of a few ads for products you may well be interested in is a small price to pay for free, unbiased news about the latest and greatest in the wonderful world of technology.

So, whilst we don't condone their methods, we'll join our colleagues at Ars in their plea to get readers to shun the ad blockers.

After all, most tech hacks have mortgages to pay as well.