Ars Technica: Don't block our ads!

Ars Technica is a well-above-average science information website. Their content is varied, reliable, aesthetically pleasing, and obviously passionate -- creating the environment for the emergence and evolution, over the past 12 years, of a vibrant community of Ars Technica followers. The image that comes to my mind is a bacterial colony radiating from central point in a petri dish.

But the sad irony is that the type of communities that tend to form around sites like Ars Technica also tend to have a lot of individuals who use a browser tool to block ads. By blocking ads you are killing your favorite websites, says Ars editor-in-chief Ken Fisher in this recent post.

This graf goes a long way to clarify the challenges web publishers face in today's advertising market. In short: TV and internet ads are apples and asparagus.
Invariably someone always pops into a discussion like this and brings up some analogy with television advertising, radio, or somesuch. It is not in any way the same; advertisers in those mediums are paying for potential to reach audiences, and not for results. They have complex models which tell them if X number are watching, Y will likely see the ad (and it even varies by ad position, show type, etc!). But they really have no true idea who sees what ad, and that's why it's a medium based on potential and not provable results. On the Internet everything is 100% trackable and is billed and sold as such. Comparing a website to TiVo is comparing apples to asparagus. And anyway, my point still stands: if you like this site you shouldn't block ads. Invariably someone else will pop in and tell me that it's not their fault that our business model sucks. My response is simple: you either care about the site's well-being, or you don't. As for our business model sucking, we've been here for 12 years, online-only. Not many sites can say that.

Did you know that? Now you know...

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