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In a blogpost released today, Techdirt has given viewers the option to turn the ads off.
We get it. Many of you really hate online advertising. And, indeed, there's often a good reason for that. The ads can be irrelevant, intrusive and annoying. And, in some cases, they can even be dangerous, as scammers or those with malicious intent slip bad code into ad networks in order to wreak havoc on visitors' computers. So here's a deal: if you don't want to see display/banner ads on Techdirt any more you don't need to. Just go to your preferences page (whether you have an account or are just browsing without a login) and click the button saying you want to disable ads. And, that's it. No more network display ads.
They follow with a hat in hand part: "That said, obviously if you disable ads we're likely to make less money. So if you choose to do that, we'd appreciate it if you supported us in other ways..."
I think I'll stick with free.
Over the years, Techdirt has written articles on people who insist piracy isn't a problem or has actually helped is now offering an audience of readers the chance to turn off its advertising in the good faith that everyone will then support them in other ways.
In discussing the exponential rise of the adblocker, the post mentions how badly some sites have handled it. For instance by blocking people who use Ad Blocker. Techdirt even claims they have been approached by multiple companies who claim they have ways to block the Ad Blockers. Techdirt is also quick to distance itself from those who are pro-content and ethical treatment of artists by distancing itself from the RIAA.
This seems like the exact wrong approach. It's somewhat reminiscent of the way the RIAA and MPAA reacted to the internet challenging their business models. Rather than listen, recognize what the public wanted and adapt, they whined, screamed about ethics and went to court. And how's that worked out for everyone? We've always said that those who adapt to these challenges are likely to do better, and part of that means actually listening to your fans and helping them do what they want. So that's what we're doing: if you choose to disable ads, you just need to go to your preferences and click a button and that should do it.
Interesting, right? The same people who have taken their elitist stance and have constantly called for artists who watched their income drop to adapt, are not only finding themselves in the same position, but are willingly doing so. Instead of calling for a diametric change in the way ads are served up (as well as their hits and impressions), Techdirt decided to avoid the problem all together, placing its faith in the same viewers it has been telling for years that free content (whether acquired through piracy or otherwise) is a good thing.
Techdirt's about to find out if that holds water. Just remember, guys-- there are only so many t-shirts you can sell in a month.