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Forbes starts blocking ad-block users

December 21, 2015
Aaron Polmeer

By Brian Morrissey

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The escalating battle between ad-dependent publishers and ad blocking has a new front: Forbes. The publisher last week started blocking access to the site to some users of ad-blocking software. Visitors using desktop browser ad blockers are greeted with a polite but firm message on the “welcome screen” ad page Forbes serves prior to landing on its site.

Once an ad blocker is disabled, users are promised the “ad-light experience” for 30 days.

Visiting pages through a browser that disabled an ad blocker does not show animated ads or autoplay video placements. The pages still have plenty of ads, however.

For instance, the top story on the site with the “ad-light experience” still serves a 730 x 90 leaderboard, three 300 x 600 pixels display ads, along with eight “from the Web” paid content placements. However, the ads do not include autoplay video or animation.

Forbes declined to comment on the move, saying it was too early to share data on the move. A spokesperson said not all users of ad blocking software are blocked. It declined also to share what constitutes an “ad-light” experience.

Major publishers are experimenting with various ways to deal with the rise of ad blocking. Some are ignoring, but others like The Atlantic are requesting users turn off their ad blockers and some like Yahoo with its email service are experimenting with blocking some ad-block software visitors.

Forbes is on something of a traffic roll lately. In November, it recorded its largest ever comScore audience, including mobile and desktop, of 43 million. That’s up from 38 million the previous month and 30 percent year over year.

The Forbes approach is interesting in offering a different experience for users of ad blockers, but it also creates something of a moral hazard of rewarding people who install ad blockers with a better user experience.

The post Forbes starts blocking ad-block users appeared first on Digiday.

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