It’s no secret that the newspaper industry has been struggling for years. Publications have folded and cut back on employees, and advertising revenue is down at a lot of companies.
Do you think that should affect you? Yahoo is the latest company that believes it does.
Yahoo Mail has been testing a ban of users that employ ad blockers. A user received the following message when they tried to access their email account: “Uh oh… We are unable to display Yahoo Mail. Please disable Ad Blocker to continue using Yahoo Mail.”
A Yahoo spokesperson said the company was just testing out the ad blocker ban with some U. S. Mail accounts. Other sites including Hulu and The Washington Post have begun blocking the ad blockers.
According to Buzzfeed, The Washington Post has been sending desktop users to a subscription page or asking them to enable ads if they are using AdBlock software.
Newspapers say subscriptions and advertisements help them to meet expenses, while online readers hate the ads and say that advertising practice trackers intrude on their privacy.
Adblock Plus software lets a user disable such trackers and block annoying ads. The free service is available on Android, Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Maxthon, Opera, Safari and Yandex. The user adds filter lists to AdBlock Plus and tells it what to block.
Millenials are doing most of the ad blocking, according to a PageFair survey. The report says that 54 percent of male respondents between the ages of 18 and 29 use ad blockers. And most of that blocking comes from Google Chrome, as Adblock users there have gone up by 96 percent between 2013 and 2014.
The survey also found that some people want it both ways. Eighty percent of the survey’s respondents said they didn’t want to pay for ad-free content, but 61 percent of that same percentage were “completely unwilling” to see advertising that promoted free content.
Meanwhile over on the Adblock Plus discussion page, Yahoo Mail users were working their way around the problem. One person using Google Chrome suggested this way around it:
“Load Yahoo mail, then hit compose. Then you type gibberish into the body of the letter, and the dialog box “Do you want to leave this page?” will appear on Chrome. You should then hit Stay on Page.”
As long as you stay on the mail page it should work, the user says. A Firefox user found success by closing Firefox, and signing into Yahoo Mail on Internet Explorer. After reaching their inbox, the user went to Settings > Viewing email and changed from “Full-featured” to “Basic” view.
The user then returned to Firefox, and accessed their email without a problem.
The initial message sent by Yahoo in their testing probably came from an A/B test, according to Fortune. In these tests, the tech company tries their idea out on a limited number of users to get their reactions before putting it into widespread effect. Yahoo Mail is eighth most-used email client online.
And early test results were not encouraging for Yahoo. After learning of the testing, a number of Yahoo Mail users have vowed they would quit using their email service.