Monday, November 23, 2015

Yahoo Escalates the War on Ad-Blockers — By Keeping People Out of Their Own E-Mail

Yahoo confirmed reports that it is preventing some Yahoo Mail users from seeing their own e-mails until they turn off their ad-blocking software, reports WaPo.

Several reports have indicated that some U.S. users have tried to view their mail, only to receive a message from the site asking them to turn off their ad-blocking software first. In a statement to The Washington Post, a spokeswoman said, "At Yahoo, we are continually developing and testing new product experiences. This is a test we're running for a small number of Yahoo Mail users."

Good for Yahoo.

I expect that eventually web sites will have the capability to block those who use ad-blocker software. I will instal such software.



  1. You can install such software, but the geeks will find a workaround. Things will probably continue to escalate until the geeks win. The same guys that will be writing your software will be the ones undermining it.

    My suggestion is to not pull a Lars and make a big deal out of this like Yahoo is currently doing. Metallica never recovered from the negative publicity. But it's your website. Do what you like.

  2. In related news, Google welcomes influx of new users to their gmail service.

    1. I don't think you get it, Why would Yahoo care about loosing users it can't generate revenue off of and why would Gmail care about gaining such users?

      Even if only 10% shut off their ad blockers and 90% leave that is a big net gain for yahoo.

    2. Wait Robert are you saying using ad-blockers completely strips Yahoo/Google from the possibility of making money off you?

    3. Robert, please address Matthew's question.

      Getting traffic is the #1 priority in the web business. Turning people away from your site is the absolute worst thing you can do.

      But good luck trying it.

  3. Good for websites, bad for me. I'm sure ad-blockers will improve enough to stay ahead of the curve in the long run.

  4. I consider it unethical to view content on websites while blocking ads that support the site. My advice to web surfers is if you think you must use an ad blocker, use one that has an option that allows the user to easily whitelist websites whose content you value. If you can't stand the ads on a site, don't view the content, it's as simple as that. The web is not free.

  5. @Shawn,
    I'm not sure about "as simple as that".
    I've found I've gotten quite good at ignoring ads when the ads are reasonable. I refuse to look at sites where they aren't reasonable (or the page loads too slow). Is this unethical? I've done something similar with TV pretty much my whole life. I mute and do something else during commercials. Unethical? How about just turning and having a conversation during commercials?

    This can already be done. Your blogging software may not have direct support for it, but a javascript programmer can do it. It will likely require some maintenance ongoing, but it's not difficult. (caveat: i haven't actually done this, but you can easily find a few different examples out there)

    Whatever ever you do people, don't support any legislation around this. The market is working.

  6. This boils down to rights. A website has the right to blast whatever ads it wants. A user has the right to use the functionality and ignore the ads. If he wants to install software to not download the ads or even download the ads but not display the ads on his screen then that's his right too.

    The website owner's business model is not the problem of the customer. The sentiment expressed here sounds dangerously close to the IP defense BS which says there is this thing called intellectual property rights that trumps physical property rights because, well, content creators gotta eat, and one man's need trumps another man's physical property rights.