Yahoo has bravely taken the first step in the battle against ad-blocking software. The most widely used ad-blocking software is Adblock Plus which is used by millions of users. Statistics from Mozilla reveal that 21 million Firefox users use Adblock Plus daily and the Chrome extension has about 40 million.
According to a recent post on the Adblock Plus forum, Yahoo has started blocking users from accessing the Yahoo email inbox if the user has the ad-blocker activated. Several users reported that they encountered a message that basically said that Yahoo Mail will not be displayed since the browser had an ad-blocker activated.
When asked about it by the New York Times tech blog, ‘Bits Blog’, Yahoo spokeswoman, Anne Yeh gave an official statement and explained that this was a product test Yahoo was running on a small number of users in America. She said that such tests were a regular part of operations and research at Yahoo.
Whether this test turns out to be part of a bigger, more permanent change, is not yet known.
Publishers spend a lot of money on generating good content. Since users are not paying for access, the primary source of revenue for most publishers is online or print ads. The widespread usage of ad-blocking apps and software has made publishers quite concerned as their biggest revenue stream has been negatively impacted.
The debate continues and it is possible that publishers are looking to change tactics, such as pay-walling content or perhaps creating native content, in order to make up lost revenue.
Yahoo has been the first of the large tech companies to block access to key features that users rely on. It’s likely that this might not be the only change visible on the horizon as publishers might be gearing up for a post-Adblock era.
No one knows for sure, users will just have to wait and see.
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