A visitor to the Forbes magazine website may be surprised by the message that tells them they need to disable their ad blocker to continue accessing the site. In return, according to a story on Digiday, they are given an "ad-light experience" for 30 days, during which it is hoped they would "whitelist" the site. Forbes will still serve up ads, but they do not include autoplay video or animation. The company regards this as a test, during which they'll see how readers react and behave.
“It’s about doing something based on what our users are looking for versus not doing anything,” said Mark Howard, chief revenue officer at Forbes Media.(Other publishers such as The Atlantic are making polite requests that ad blockers be turned off. Most publishers and advertisers are puzzling over how to retain readers without losing ad revenue and how to respond to ad blocking software without coming out on the wrong end of the argument.)
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.
“They’ve already chosen to install the ad blockers,” said Howard. “They’ve already chosen that Web experience. For us, is there an experience we can offer that they’ll whitelist us? It’s not all or nothing.”