iOS9 enabled content blocking in Safari, which means the onslaught of ad blocking apps. I downloaded Peace by Marco Arment today and I must admit it is wonderful. The debates about ad blocking have been steady and fierce.
Yesterday, I liked Ben Thompson’s bit on popping the publishing bubble, and I’ll recommend it again. It’s excellent. Nieman Lab has a podcast with someone heavy in the publishing world that’s also worth listening to. Anil Dash’s Tweetstorm is a good argument as well.
Lots of folks are talking about this, publishers are worried that everyone is going to install ad blockers and crush their revenues. Publishers are so afraid to let go of this as a primary revenue stream. Why? Because it’s what they know.
Ads have become more evasive and less effective over time. And when was the last time you purposefully clicked on an ad, and were glad you did once you got to the destination? Yet, ads have been a comfort and as long as traffic grew it could make up for decreasing rates.
Thinking outside the box and challenging the status quo will have victims, yes, but also we might just discover that there is a better way, a more profitable way, a more reader-friendly way for publishers to thrive and profit responsibly and ethically.
Publishers can differentiate with better content, not more pageviews. They can focus on in-depth stories, one-of-a-kind investigative pieces, and focused verticals, not clickbait.
Distribution of quality information is a resilient, consistently progressing component of society, and has been for hundreds of years. Challenges incentivize innovation and innovation improves the distribution of quality information.