Run! The adblockers are coming!

Most publishers will have you believe that adblocker users are monsters, thieves that want free content, these users wont stop until your business is dead!

Adblock is nothing new, it is a representation of the collective voice of internet users screaming "WE WANT CHANGE!", in an industry that is so far behind, we should thank these users for waking us up. 

Each industry has it's own version of adblock, music had napster, movies had bit-torrent, publishers now have adblock.  Each one of these came through like a crashing wave and crushed all in its path, except for the heroes. With each one of these villians there emerged a hero, a hero who we now take for granted.

iTunes saved the music industry from napster, Netflix saved the movie industry from Bit-torrent. Though everybody acknowledges this, they fail to see the common problem these so called villains unearthed. Distribution dictated by revenue.


Villains vs Heroes:

When napster came out, the music industry was in a rut. Cd's at £15 each was the unchallenged revenue model. Napster users were accused of being pirates for "stealing music". The fundamental issue that the industry missed was that users liked napster because it was easy, not just because it was free.  It was challenging their distribution model which was dictated by their revenue model, so they spent millions hunting down the pirates without addressing the issue, "cd's are dead".

Apple understood this issue, they knew that users are willing to pay, all they had to do was fix the distribution. iTunes was born, people could now legally purchase music to download, and they were happy to do so. Albums were being sold for the same premium price of cd's and people didn't mind, as long as they got the music. Once iTunes proved this point and  distribution was solved pricing became the next battle, others came along to shake this up and now we have spotify, deezer etc. It seems so obvious now, but at the time companies did not understand this.

You would think that the movie industry would've learned a lesson from this. They didn't. Just like napster, along came torrents, and the movie industry did exactly what the music industry did, protect expensive dvd's, hunt down the pirates. In this case Netflix was the hero, they proved again that people will pay, if you make it easy to get content. They continue to prove this, with millions of paying subscribers.

We need a hero:

Those that don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

So now its the publishing industry's turn. We have a villain, adblock, and we need a hero. Instead of realising this and learning from previous mistakes, the industry is going down the same road, "get the pirates", "they want free content", "block adblock users". But were losing, badly.

If your revenue model dictates your product creation and ditribution, congratulations, you're killing your company with your own hands.

As The Dark Knight himself would say "I'm whatever Gotham needs me to be.", your users are gotham, and they love you, so be what they need you to be, the hero they deserve.


Web Developer at The Drum

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