NYTimes Begins Experimenting with Messages for Ad-Blocker Users

5970392182_afb4ab54ed_bThe New York Times is said to have begun experimenting with sending messages to web readers who are reading the newspaper’s website while using an ad blocker. I have not been able to reproduce the messages to confirm.

AdWeek reported development first and several other reports that followed seemed to be written off their report without adding any screenshots.

“The best things aren’t free,” the NYT’s message is said to 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 mentioned in the lede, I was not able to confirm the use of an ad blocker message, trying several browsers. What did appear was the usual metered paywall message warning the reader that they are limited to ten articles a month (as seen above).

“We oppose ad blocking,” Mark Thompson, New York Times Co. Chief Executive, said last fall. “The creation of quality news content is expensive and digital advertising is an important way in which we and other high-quality news providers fund operations.”

The paper said last fall that they preferred to find a technical solution to the problem, though most papers that have launched a solution have chosen simply prevent the reader from accessing the desired story through a pop-up message, generally leading to the reader leaving the site. The goal is to make the reader whitelist the website – that is, add the site to the list of sites where the ad blocker would be disabled.

Note: If anyone encounters one of these messages on the NYT website please pass along a screenshot.

reposted with permission from Talking New Media

image by samchills

D. B. Hebbard

View posts by D. B. Hebbard
Douglas Hebbard (or if you are using D.B. Hebbard use that) is a 30+ year veteran of the newspaper and magazine publishing business, and has been publisher of the digital publishing website Talking New Media since 2010.


  1. Straker8 March, 2016

    I’m assuming that this would only apply to non-subscribers.

    1. Nate Hoffelder8 March, 2016

      I would hope so, but with the NYTimes I wouldn’t be so sure.

  2. Justice Price8 March, 2016

    I pay $7.50 a month for access to the NYTimes for the next six months.

    Well worth it for me. They have a half-off sale from time to time, and once you’ve gotten in at that price all it takes at the end of the six months is a phone call to sales with a threat to cancel and they’ll renew you.

    1. Straker8 March, 2016

      I pay the full $15 but if they start harassing me about my ad blocker I won’t hesitate to cancel. I already canceled my subscriptions to the WSJ (too expensive) and WaPo (too stupid) and found that I really didn’t miss them that much. I suspect it would be the same with the NYT.

  3. AndyHat8 March, 2016

    I got the “please whitelist us” message today on the first article I clicked on from the front page. I was logged in as a 7-days-a-week print-edition subscriber (which gives me full online access).

    So apparently this does apply to subscribers. At least it doesn’t appear to prevent access, clicking the “X” closed the warning and displayed the article.

    I took a screenshot at http://www.andyhat.net/pics/NYTAdBlock.png

    1. Nate Hoffelder8 March, 2016

      Thanks, Andy!

  4. Scott G. Lewis8 March, 2016

    As always, my issues with their plea isn’t that I wish to avoid ads. It’s that that site is chock full of privacy busting trackers that share information with third parties that use other sites to track me across the web.

  5. Frank8 March, 2016

    I just read three NY Times articles with ad blocking working, so the blocking experiment is not yet widespread.

    Also, some ad blocking solutions work and some do not, since the WSJ blocks me from reading articles but the Washington Post does not.

  6. R9 March, 2016

    I will immediately leave sites that tell me to disable my ad blocker. Disabling it makes me exposed to virus, trackers etc.

  7. R9 March, 2016

    The Digital Reader is the only site that I am willing to disable the ad blocker because it is safe.

  8. […] use of ad blockers by either getting their site whitelisted with the blocking services or by nagging or banning ad block users. Axel Springer has even filed a handful of lawsuits against ad block […]

  9. […] use of ad blockers by either getting their site whitelisted with the blocking services or by nagging or banning ad block users. Axel Springer has even filed a handful of lawsuits against ad block […]


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