The New York Times Begins Testing Ad Blocking Approaches

Some Visitors With Ad Blockers Are Asked to Either Whitelist the Times or Subscribe

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The New York Times is testing out approaches to combat ad-blocking
The New York Times is testing out approaches to combat ad-blocking

The New York Times on Monday began testing out "various approaches" to combatting the rise of ad-blocking technology. The tests will be administered to "a relatively small population of subscribers and non subscribers," a company spokeswoman told Ad Age.

One such message prompted an ad blocking user to either exempt the Times' website from it through a process known as "whitelisting," or to sign up for a digital subscription.

"The best things aren't free," the message read. "You currently have an ad blocker installed. Advertising helps us fund our journalism. To continue to enjoy the Times, please support us in one of the following ways."

As for whether the Times would block readers who don't select one of these two options, the spokeswoman said, "We plan to test various options if users decline to whitelist the site."

"Our goal is to inform users of the harm of ad blocking and to encourage the whitelisting of," the spokeswoman said of the initiative. "Ad blockers do not serve the long term interest of consumers. The creation of quality news content is expensive and digital advertising is one way that The New York Times and other high quality news providers fund news gathering operations."

At an industry conference on Feb. 23, New York Times Co. CEO Mark Thompson said the company was considering banning ad blockers, reasoning that "they're not really helping pay for what they consume."

Mr. Thompson has, in the past, strongly criticized the notion of paying ad blocking companies to have the Times exempted from their services, calling it "disgraceful."

Several publishers, such as The Washington Post and Forbes, have experimented with similar approaches to combatting the rise of ad blocking. Wired magazine recently began offering an ad-free version of its website for $1 per week. The magazine told readers that ad-blocking users will be restricted from accessing the site.

Elsewhere Monday, the Interactive Advertising Bureau released a "primer" that offers potential recourses for publishers that have been hurt by the widespread implementation of ad blockers.

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