It was only a matter of time: brands were going to fight against the ad-blocking trend. But this battle isn't a single-front engagement. No, this conflict rightfully has multiple fronts, and AdLand, if any industry, has the means and influence to bring this ad-blocking phenomena down.
First and foremost, the way AdLand uses online and digital advertising should change to be more respectable, less invasive, and contain more relevant content. That much is clear and acknowledged.
Second, and more importantly, it is the brands and AdLand that will and should dictate the change. Not the consumers or the ad-blocking companies. Therefore, brands are making a stand and drawing a line in the sand.
We wrote earlier about how Yahoo was blocking people who used ad-blocking software from its mail service. Naturally, if the mail service is free to you — since the ads paid for the service, essentially — then if you block the means of the service, why should you freely get access?
Now, it seems that Conde Nast–owned GQ.com is doing the same. People who have ad-blocking software active and try to access GQ.com would be greeted with a notice that they had two options: 1) turn the ad blocker off or 2) pay $0.50 to access every article.
Not a terrible ultimatum. Clearly, GQ and Conde Nast are trying to show the consumer that an article view on the site costs them 50 cents. If the consumer wants to access content for free, then the consequence is to allow those fronting the bill to show their content. If the consumer refuses to acknowledge the purchaser, then they should pay for it themselves and feel the cost of providing such service.
No doubt consumers will be agitated with this switch, but it has to happen. One of our favorite phrases we've heard about online advertising and online consumption states, "If you're not paying for it, you are not the customer." How true. The content providers attract a certain target market that then attracts brands to pay for time to get their information to the specific audiences. The actual consumer, if not paying for the service, is not included in the transaction.
If the consumer wants to pay for something, that's a whole different story. So for the time being, if consumers want content for free, they have to face the consequences.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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