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Adblock can have a Massive Impact on Online Content Publishers

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Have you ever visited a website page plagued with several annoying ads all over the place? If you are using AdBlock, then you wouldn’t be experiencing this problem. AdBlock and AdBlock Plus are among the most popular extensions found on Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari. AdBlock claims to have 40 million users across Google Chrome and Safari. AdBlock Plus on the other hand, has upwards of 300 million total users.

People who are using Adblock can have a massive impact on how websites can make money. This can also impact people who are trying to make a living by making videos on YouTube or live streaming on Twitch because a big portion of their income comes from ads.

“If 50% of the viewers use Adblock, then the content creator’s revenue is cut in half,” said Tyler Brobson, a youtube video maker and twitch streamer. “I think 50% is a generous number, too, so you could imagine the potentially catastrophic plummet of profit that YouTubers/Streamers/Advertisers are seeing.”

These people might not always know how big of an impact they can have on videomakers. “It’s one of those situations where people think, ‘I’m only one person, and it’s a percent of a percent of a penny. I’m not going to affect their earnings,’” Brobson said. Even though each user is only one person, and they do not make much of a difference individually, added together, they make a huge difference.

ScapeSkill, another youtuber and twitch streamer also believes that people using Adblock can affect how much he is able to make on his videos and streams. “Having such an easy to install program that blocks ads is not good,” he said.

Video makers have no way of knowing how many people are actively using Adblock. “I have no way of knowing what percent of people use adblock, so it could be anywhere from 10%­90% as far as I’m aware,” said Iamkeeferz, a twitch streamer.

It is difficult to judge whether or not people should use Adblock. When people do start using Adblock, they aren’t supporting the content publishers they are enjoying.

“I do not use the Adblock extension on Google Chrome,” Brobson said. “I am a big supporter of people who aspire to make a career out of YouTube, Twitch or other online platforms, and I know how much of an negative impact Adblock has on their earnings.”

Watching an ad on YouTube or Twitch will typically only take 15 to 30 seconds, and often there is a skip button after five seconds. This is such a small amount of time people are using, but it can make a big impact on how publishers make money.

While people using Adblock are not supporting content publishers, they do still have their reasons. “I use it due to heavy usage of commercials on various websites that deter me from using them due to multiple/long wait times to the site/video I’m trying to access,” said Iamkeeferz.

This problem of people blocking ads and affecting the revenue of publishers is not easy to fix. Ads will likely always be popping up in people’s faces, and an ad will be required to be played in order for people to watch a video on YouTube.

A helpful feature on Adblock for this problem is the ability to whitelist certain websites. While this is not the perfect fix it allows users to help some people. “This allows people to pause Adblock for people that they like,” said ScapeSkill.

Advertisements are getting smarter as well. “Updated software has also allowed for applications that help play relative ads,” Brobson said. “So sometimes the ads may even be useful or worth watching.”

There are other ways to think about how Adblock could be better implemented. “The only way I could see Adblock being useful is if they charged people to use Adblock,” Brobson said. Video makers get paid a certain amount per thousand views of advertisements on their videos. If people using Adblock had to pay that amount for every thousand ads blocked, everyone would win. Video makers would still receive money for making their content, and users do not have to sit through ads all the time.

“You can’t block or skip ads on TV, so I don’t see why you should be able to on the internet without at least paying to compensate for lost revenue,” Brobson said. “Content creators work hard on what they produce, and since it’s all free content online, the least you could do is support them by watching a 15 second ad, or wait 5 seconds to hit ‘skip’ if you’re disinterested.”

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