WIRED‘s statement on how it intends to handle adblocking. Basically, look at ads, pay a sub, or get nothing. I think we’re going to be seeing more and more of this in the next few years.
One of the things You Kids These Days who’ve grown up with the web–and thus don’t know any business model other than “free-with-ads”–might not realize is that very few big websites are actually profitable. A lot of them, particularly the big social media platforms, are running on the dregs of VC funding (basically free money they’ve been given in the hope that they’ll become profitable… at some point). Most news outlets run their sites at a loss, cross-subsidized by other business lines (i.e. the ads you see on TV also pay for the websites you read). And what little money there is online? It mostly comes from ads. Highly targeted ads. Highly targeted ads that are built on a back-end brokerage network of third-party companies you’ve never heard of, selling your “consumer profile” data to companies you’ve never dealt with.
The problem is the targeted ad market never really paid off with the big bucks advertisers said it would. So it got more and more and more intrusive and more and more and more people started opting out of it. The people who suffered in the equation? The content providers in the middle, who were now being asked to serve the same content for less pay-off.
Those of us who are Internet Old will remember Ye Oldene Days of online where, actually, paying for services was the norm. The people who paid got, usually, more features and subsidized the people who didn’t pay (q.v. Dreamwidth, which still uses this model).
If I had to gaze into a crystal ball and predict the internet future, I’d say more and more sites–especially platform and social media sites–are going to be shifting back to this. Which, yanno. If you have money to pay for stuff? Is fine. For everyone else…