Until… I was browsing on SFGate.com one day, and encountered not one, but two instances of video auto-play on the same page.
Yep. It pissed me off. And finally compelled me to download AdBlock’s Chrome extension.
SFGate.com has always had one of the worst web experiences in my opinion. But I kept coming back and putting up with the poor experience because there’s a lot of local news (buried between celebrity gossip and inane photo galleries and listicles).
The site still sucks, and AdBlock didn’t resolve the auto-play issue. If you have a solution, please ping me.
In the meantime, AdBlock is still enabled and quietly blocking ads across the myriad of sites I visit, without me ever really noticing.
Until.. I clicked on a link to an article on Forbes and got this full-page pop-up notice:
The Guardian had something similar too, but much less obtrusive – see the pink bar at the bottom. I could still read the content:
I liked Wired’s approach. It also displays a full page pop-up but the tone was friendly and honest, and after disabling AdBlock, I got a nice thank you message.
But you can see from this thread on Hacker News that many won’t bother disabling their ad blockers. The commentary for the article posted on Hacker News wasn’t about the content of article, but about Wired’s ad blocking pop up!
These strategies by publishers don’t bother me. I know things are getting desperate. I know that content isn’t free. I know that ads are a vital source of revenue for web publishers.
So I’m happy to disable ad blocking if a site can offer a decent browsing experience with ads.
A friendly reminder like Forbes‘, The Guardian’s, Wired’s is an ok place to start. I also appreciated these explanations from the publishers: “How Wired is Going to Handle Ad Blocking” and “Inside Forbes: Our Ad Block Test Stirs Up Emotions, Then Brings Learnings and New Data.”
But then, of course, don’t ruin your readers’ web experience and betray the trust you’ve temporarily earned with the egregious use of ad pop-ups or video auto-play. I’ve disabled and so far, kept off ad blocking on Forbes, The Guardian, and Wired.
If you’re a publisher reading this, perhaps you should read this next: IAB’s Lean Ad’s program, with research and recommendations for standard, guidelines, and best practices on digital ads.
SFGate, you are permanently on my blocked list.