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Major internet companies like Google may pleased that the French government told a major ISP that it must stop its automatic filtering of ads for subscribers.  

However, make no mistake about it: the dispute over Free's ad blocking is a reminder of what's at stake as more and more consumers seek ways to opt out of online advertising.

Ad blocking software, of course, is not new. Publishers have watched its popularity rise over the years, and while there is debate over just how much revenue publishers lose each year to ad blocking, it's widely seen as a significant threat.

With there being no reason to believe that the desire to block ads will diminish any time soon, publishers that depend heavily on advertising revenue must answer a simple question: how do we deal with this?

Here are four possible answers.

Go native

There are numerous reasons advertisers are pouring more money into native ads, and you can be sure that ad blocking is on the list of reasons. Native advertising, of course, isn't a panacea.

Publishers that go too far and harm the user experience may find themselves dealing with far bigger problems (read: lost users), but implemented tastefully, native ads can help mitigate losses from ad blockers.

Ask users to open their wallets

Paid content is far from a sure bet, but publishers large and small are having success convincing meaningful numbers of users to open their wallets for content. That will increasingly make paid content worth exploring as part of an ad blocker strategy.

Serve your own ads

If you're using popular ad networks and providers to serve your ads, defeating ad blocking software can be a significant challenge. If you're sufficiently motivated, however, there may be a way to beat many ad blockers: serve your own ads.

While users will still be able to adjust their software to block your ads, you will at least have the consolation of knowing that your ads weren't blocked by default.

Be a part of the solution, not the problem

There's a debate to be had about the ethics of ad blocking, but one thing is hard to deny: publishers have been their own worst enemies when it comes to driving users to install ad blocking software.

For far too long, too many publishers have focused on maximizing ad inventory, not ad yield. The result: poor user experiences plagued by more ads, and more annoying ads.

The damage has been done, and while it's unclear if and how publishers will be able to repair that damage, they can work to prevent further damage by ensuring that their ad inventory management is aligned with user experience.

Patricio Robles

Published 8 January, 2013 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Comments (6)

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Ryan Skinner

I'm a huge, huge fan of ad-blocking software, use it myself and vociferously promote its use to others on twitter, and just about anywhere else I graze.

I do this only because so many publishers have pissed me off so many times with their crap efforts to monetize content with intrusive, annoying and plain bad online advertising.

There has to be a better way. Kill the advertising beast. Publisher: Do what's right by your readers. (If you don't, you will be screwed, now or later).

over 3 years ago

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Felix Lee

I think the best way to address this issue is the fourth one that you mentioned: Be a part of the solution, not the problem. I have seen some publishers being extremely obnoxious with the number of ads they bombard their visitors with. It's these publishers' fault that people see the need for an ad blocker.

over 3 years ago

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pay for coursework

very helpful post, it just depend on how much active you are

over 3 years ago

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Ryan Cormack, Marketing Executive at brightsolid Online Innovation

@Ryan Skinner, Surely there wont be a 'reader' if there is no adverts. The industry has (and to a certain extent) change the aggression. Holding out a hand and offering something is going to become more effective that forcing a product at a consumer.

Overall there has to be a balance that forms between the prevalence of online ads and how they are enforced with other forms of advertising. Plant a seed with a non intrusive online ad and follow this up with other forms to provide the desire to seemingly organically pick your product

over 3 years ago

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hubert

I think a fair way of dealing with this would be to ask ad blocker users to pay for their content... or to deactivate their adblockers.

Regarding serving their own ads: you can easily achieve the same results with a CNAME redirect to your ad serving provider. It can be done in two minutes and doesn't cost anything. Moreover you reach a far better cookie coverage...

over 3 years ago

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Ryan Skinner

@RyanCormack (I think you mean: If there are no adverts, there will be no ad-funded media). That's always been a BS argument. There are numerous ways to run a media business without using advertising. Thousands or comapnies are already doing just that. And those that can't manage it can go away. Won't bother me one bit.

@hubert Ask me to pay for your content or turn off ad-blocking and I'm more than likely to go look somewhere else (unless I have a very, very special relationship with your content). There are a lot of ways to make a media business; advertising's just about the worst.

over 3 years ago

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