On Friday night, Ars Technica decided to set up a system to catch those visitors running "a very popular ad blocking tool" (presumably Adblock Plus), which in turn would block those users, not allowing them to see any content on the site. As expected, shit hit the fan once the users stopped freaking out, and found out what happened (kinda expected for a tech-centric site) with the articles. So, on Sunday, Ken Fisher, one of the site founders, explained everything about the experiment, and the reasons for doing it. Nothing new there, expect for the fact that ads on many Internet sites now are paid on a per view basis, instead of clicks.
While the post sounds very reasonable, and no one is threatening to cut access to those running adblockers, many people think otherwise, and express so in the post comments. What's more, now the debate spreads to the rest of the Internet, as the post gets slashdotted
(and probably digged as well), and people starts weighing on the issue, ranging from John Gruber noting
the complexity of the situation to Tech Dirt telling Ars that it's time to evolve
and stop complaining. Other people, like Scott Wasson at The Tech Report side
with Fisher, painting a situation very similar to Ars Technica.
One of the most ironic things about the whole situation is that the same Internet sites that are supposedly replacing newspapers as major sources of information are also struggling to find sources of ad revenue, and many say
that their business model is 'dead' and they should be researching alternative models. So, are 'old' and 'new' media sharing the same dying model? Fun.
I should note that all the arguments 'for' and 'against' have been beaten to death, even here on this forum, but it's always interesting to see the affected business expressing their opinion on the whole matter. Now, if the ad companies said something as well...