Half of Destructoid’s readers block our ads. Now what?: This is an important post to read, from a gaming site that found out almost 50% of its visitors were blocking ads.
BlockMetrics was easy enough to set up and monitor. At first, it was about 10%, then 20-something. When I dared to blink it just increased faster. Over a few days it never got better, averaging at an ominous 42-46% block rate. I thought their tech might have been flawed, so I performed my own tests and contacted another company who returned a similar result.
This means that we’re working twice as hard as other sites to sustain our company, as if keeping a group of game writers fed isn’t difficult enough. We see gaming sites shut down or selling out so often these days. Feeling my pain yet?
The site runs on ad revenue, and this post details all the twists and turns the site owner went through to try and figure his way around the fact that half his visitors were free-riders – consuming content without doing anything to raise revenue.
I realize that many people run ad blockers without a second thought, but think through what that does to advertising-supported sites. With media, there’s an unspoken social contract – you trade a tiny sliver of your attention span to consume the content. Yet people still consume content while finding a way around their side of the tacit bargain that everyone knows is required for most free content sites to survive.
And don’t talk about intrusive ads either. I know these exist, but in this case, the were sensitive to this:
Destructoid does not allow ads that play automatic audio, and also doesn’t allow ads that automatically expand without your interaction. If you ever see any of those, please report them. Also, if you stay logged in on our existing free accounts, you’ll never see a full-page interstitial advertisement (the skip to continue kind). We’ve also moved most of our new videos to YouTube, which allows ad skipping in most circumstances.
I realize I’m probably talking to a brick wall in most cases here, but in this example you have one of the few independent gaming sites left that is withering and dying specifically because of a lack of ad revenue. When this site finally dies (as, sadly, I expect it will), a bunch of people will probably complain, “Why are all the gaming sites owned by conglomerates? Why isn’t there any good, independent voice in gaming?”
Yes, yes, I know – ad blockers make you feel clever and powerful. I get it. They also make content suck more.