Wired Magazine is taking a bold step into the unknown. Starting next week, the site will give its readers who use an ad blocker an ultimatum: either stop blocking their ads, pay to view an ad-free version of the site or turn to a different source for technology news.
As Bloomberg notes, Wired is planning to charge readers $3.99 for four weeks of ad-free access to its website. Mark McClusky, head of product and business development for Wired Magazine, acknowledged there are legitimate reasons that people use ad blockers such as wanting to speed up the browsing experience or not wanting their web activity to be tracked.
At the end of the day, however, Wired has to pay the bills just like every other major site on the Internet and outside of donations, the only real way to do that today is through advertising revenue or subscriptions.
McClusky believes that the portion of Wired’s readership that uses ad blockers (roughly 20 percent of its readership) are likely to be receptive to a discussion about their responsibility to support the businesses they rely on for information online. I, for one, am not nearly as confident in their reception as McClusky but I digress.
Most sites have been offering their content for “free” through ad-supported methods and any pushback against what the general population sees as the norm will no doubt create backlash. That said, Wired’s buck-a-week rate isn’t set in stone, however, as the publication says it could change based on reader response.