Axel Springer bans adblock users from accessing Bild website

“Germany’s Axel Springer has banned readers who use adblockers from its Bild tabloid website, stepping up a fight by publishers to stop online advertising revenues being eroded,” Harro ten Wolde reports for Reuters. “Springer said visitors to the website of Bild, Europe’s top-selling tabloid, will be asked to switch off the adblocker or pay a monthly fee of 2.99 euros ($3.40) to browse the website mostly ad-free.”

“‘Whoever does not switch off the adblocker or does not pay cannot see any content on Bild.de, as of now,’ the publisher said in a statement on Tuesday,” ten Wolde reports. “Some U.S.-based media owners including video-streaming company Hulu and the Washington Post have implemented similar measures but Springer’s is the most aggressive by a European newspaper publisher so far.”

“Internal monitoring showed that about 23 percent of Bild.de vistors use adblocking software,” ten Wolde reports. “Axel Springer’s move is the first such initiative by a major German publisher and could accelerate the war between people using ad blockers and media owners who rely on advertising revenue as part of their business model online.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Content-blockers for those who block ads. Wholly predictable.

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50 Comments

      1. Apparently you’re American.

        When it is perhaps better to have just said,
        “Bild is the “National Enquirer” of Germany (except with a bit more class and truth, due to legal constraints)”

        get my point now Predag

        1. Bild has been in existence as a newspaper for over sixty years. Its primary revenue is still print (it is taxi drivers’ and house cleaners’ newspaper, as the Germans would often say). It has a physical office, a staff of reporters, physical printing facilities, and these people work for real money (who would have guessed, right?).

          You seem to suggest that, because they are reluctant to give their product for free, that they should lose readership. I’m not sure if you are gainfully employed, and if so, what is your field of business, but if you are, I have a feeling you wouldn’t be quite pleased to be asked to do what you do for free.

          1. Predrag you make many good points however, stepping into areas of more personal grounds; asking what I do is not cool. Shall I ask you what you make? Its just not cool. Yet, I will add, I do create content and there are times my work is done for free. It’s called donating time, educating and sharing. And I am very happy to do so. What I do would truly surprise you… this is not the place or time for that.

            I do not care if Bild has been in business for centuries – but I do appreciate the info. Bild has extended its work to the internet and advertising is a different game here. Newspapers post all types of crappy ads, which governments should poke their noses in to and police better. These advertisements do not truly help readership. Imagine for a second Predrag that your employer is paying you with drug money, how would you feel knowing that?

            Bild is deciding to charge money to its viewers for they host – essentially booting the viewers whom have been blocking theirs ads. This a very poor move to ween off 23% of its viewers – who quite honestly have the right to block the ads Bild showcases.
            I am not against advertising – but I am for responsible advertising. MDN as and example, expresses poor judgment towards its choice of advertisements and I do block them. Apple is a company who advertises what it makes, not what others want.

            Regarding the internet, Irresponsible advertising is harmful to its viewers. Viewers have the right to block ads – specially when Ads are being tracked and clicks are sold to unknown parties. Those clicks should be regulated / heavens do I dare say policed by governments… And if that is not agreed… then these companies must become responsible to what they host — or — bye bye readership.

            1. You may have misread my message; I never asked what you do (the sentence begins with “…I’m not sure if (…) or what you do, but I have a feeling…”.

              Online advertising is in the state that it is because it has been largely unregulated, at least in America. For a TV commercial to be aired, it must jump through several tight hoops of approval (which explains why you, and many others, much prefer, or should I say, detest much less, TV advertising over online ads).

              I am not sure if online advertising needs fixing or not. While ordinary public generally despises it and makes every effort to ignore it, I can’t help but think that for advertisers (and for those offering products and services through these advertisers), its efficiency cannot be denied. Online advertising isn’t new; it has been a part of the web since the beginning. Building on 20 years of experience, it has evolved into a system that can target each individual web surfer pretty precisely and accurately. I never really see ads that don’t interest me, the few that I do see (that my ad-blocking HOSTS file doesn’t reject). Still, I’m sure many people find the resulting ad choices odd, regardless of the efficiency of the precise targeting that the online ad business has become.

              There are sites that offer partial free content, but have a paywall (NY Times, The Economist come to mind). Even with all the resentment regarding the online ad business, one thing is clear: it is unethical to block advertising and expect unrestricted free access to content in return. When all (or bulk of) revenue depends on online advertising, you can legitimately attempt to restrict access to users who block ads.

              Bild is a really trashy tabloid (they had been featuring photos of topless girls on their cover for over 30 years now), but in this instance, I agree with their policy. Today was the first time I ever went to their site (and was greeted with the large error message). Most of the MDN readers won’t be affected, but this article clearly sparked a lively discussion. MDN likes those, as they bring ad impressions…

            2. DDD, your comment is completely ridiculous. You may not like ads in newspapers, but those ads pay for the content that people like you create. Without advertising revenue, you don’t get paid EVER for content which you put in a newspaper (or magazine, website, etc.). Companies like Bild would be out of business very quickly if they did not have all kinds of ads. Either that, or you could pay $20 an issue (or more), and no one is going to do that.

              Bild is making a decision regarding its business model and how it raises revenue for its business operations. If you don’t like it, don’t visit Bild. But don’t be surprised if more and more online news sites do the same thing. Ads are the lifeblood of any media business, and if it doesn’t use ads, it is subscription-based. Only most subscription-based print media don’t charge anywhere near enough for a subscription to pay for the issue being printed and sent to you.

      1. It would literally be my business if I were his customer. The commercial relationship is a two-way street. Freely associating with people who add value to our lives.

        Happy to pay for content I value. Also happy to ignore the background radiation of ads I ignore while focusing on the content I came to see.

  1. This is exactly how things should play out. You want free? Someone has to pay, so unblock the ads! Don’t like ads? You’re welcome to pay up.

    Content creation costs money; someone is making an effort, investing time, skill and talent into it. It doesn’t come out of thin air.

    1. I’m good with that. But only if they charge a per article fee for minimum number of articles free for infrequent or new users. Otherwise I would do the same thing I’m doing now: skipping the site entirely because the content is either unknown or not worth the cost to me.

      Fractional transactions via Apple Pay?

      1. Well, Bild treated their problem (loss of ad revenue due to blocking) with a sledgehammer. I’m sure they’ll re-evaluate their choice and tweak the solution.

        Many sites with a paywall have limited access to content for free. NY Times gives you 10 articles per month; The Economist gives you 3 articles per week. Bild isn’t exactly blazing the trail here with their own paywall; they can look at the experiences of others and figure out what works best for them.

        Looking at the type of content Bild publishes, I’m imagining very few of its visitors will be paying; vast majority will likely just be whitelisting them and continuing to get to the content for free.

    2. I freely run my website for other companies to visit and learn what I do.

      Its these content providers… whom need to become far more responsible to what Ads they host. I don’t need soft porn while surf – especially when at work. MDN has this crap… its irresponsible its got nothing to do with what I am interested or computing. I be very happy to turn on BS tracking Ads if in deed the ads are related to what I am interested in. I visit MDN for most things Macintosh, Most things Apple… love to see new devices or Apple ads here.

      1. Ads you see are different from ads I see. Online ads on MDN are selected based on your personal browsing history and preferences. MDN doesn’t pick them, and they are completely different for every user out there.

            1. I do plenty of contract work, coming in to new companies in the advertising field. Each placement I go to, the company has totally new setups with a new user account.
              And, I can assure you, things are totally fresh. The result however is sad to report; that I continue to see random slimy ads posted here on MDN. I rarely see a Macintosh or Apple related ads. Perhaps better, iPhone third party cases and head phones – which would seem more responsible and justifiable — but no. That trash is like the default.

            2. This is an interesting subject. How to the behavioral targeting algorithms target when there’s no behaviour profile?

              Apparently very poorly. DDD seems to have the same experience. Ironically enough, vast majority of people don’t have such a poor experience, since the ads are targeted and mostly relevant.

    3. Predrag, whats your opinion of MDN?

      The fun and great thing about MDN is reading everyones comments and freely posting your own.

      I do not look at MDN as a true content provider as they merely link to other articles. The Ads here are random and irresponsible.

      Predrag, do you think content providers need to be responsible for the advertisements they showcase on their websites?

      Do you think the average viewer, the general public should pay for the content here?

      Do you honestly believe everyone is aware and would allow their clicks and views here on MDN to be trusted that MDN does not sell information to Google?

      Do you believe MDN has a responsibility to inform its viewers that the Ads here are being tracked and sold?

      Website Advertising is very different and essentially dirtier than Television Ad are. I actually love seeing some commercials on TV; specially when they interest me or entertain me. Website content providers, must become more responsible — how would MDN like that my government starts policing all content providers and their sites for illegally selling my viewing experiences.

      Sites and content providers need to wake up.. they should not promote things they do not endorse?

      Irresponsible advertising HURTS viewers.

      1. Those are very good questions.

        My personal opinion of MDN can be discerned from my track record here: I have been visiting MDN (and frequently posting) since before the iPhone, before PPC to Intel move on the Mac. I find I return to it largely for the completeness of the Apple-related news, but also for opinions of some of its visitors who offer interesting insight.

        Back to your questions; yes, ideally, you would expect the content provider to take at least partial responsibility about the nature and content of advertising displayed on the site. However, you cannot quite blame them for leaving the ad content completely to advertisers, especially when they are using behavioral targeting to select ad content. After all, it is the user’s online habits that will determine what will be shown in the ads. There may be times when the algorithm’s suggestions are a bit off, but for the most part, Google already has, by now, almost (if not over) ten years of web surfing history on all of us to use for ad profiling.

        These ads may well reveal the side of us that we don’t like to think about. That is probably their greatest strength (and weakness): they identify quite accurately (an creepily) who we are and what we like, and then serve it to us.

      2. As for the other questions, in principle you are right; responsible sites have proper disclaimers regarding advertising, data collection and sharing. Some have such disclaimer tucked under the ‘Terms of Use’, but generally, not one site will make it in-your-face obvious. EU law requires such notification about tracking cookies, but the wording of it is quite innocent, users think nothing of it and click ‘Yes’.

        As I said below, I hope MDN erects a paywall one day. Hopefully, though, there is a way to also keep free-with-ads option available for those for whom value of personal browsing history is lower than the perceived value of the MDN content.

        1. I fail to see how MDN could sustain a paywall. The web site mainly excerpts stories available elsewhere for free. The original bits it contributes (short takes, occasional screeds by SteveJack) represent a paltry five per cent or less of the content, unless you assign value to the reader comments which, it appears, few readers do except to their own. I fear that for most MDN readers, the value proposition would be unappealing. You or I may not feel that way, but how typical are we as readers?—Not very, since most readers don’t comment at all.

      3. MDN actually does provide original content, through its “takes.” In that, the web site strongly reminds me of MST 3000: two or three shadowy figures take in a parade of content, and comment sarcastically on what they observe.

    4. You are a drag man.

      The browser was created, it opened a new world for slimy crappy monitoring through Advertisements… these Ads do not entertain nor are these ads related in anyways to the sites you visit. Tracking was sneaky and slimy technology that slipped in on the public. Without notice.

      So, blocking this crap is a right. Now if companies cry and wish to charge for the articles they post… go ahead… I won’t miss them. If companies have something really worth paying for I am a happy camper to do so.

      I suggest looking into other ways…
      one way is to post portions of the article for free – either ad free or blocking is accepted PERIOD.
      The portion of the article is a general introduction.
      If the viewer likes what they are reading then they can pay for it.

      Television and Radio have been advertising for years.
      Generally these ads are entertaining. And since no interactivity occurs there is really no way to sell or track its listeners or viewers on how the ads effected listeners/viewers. However, ads on the Internet can. And yet, they are typically far less entertaining, less memorable and less creative – still – they have a questionable side as to the analytics of sells and viewers it exposes to – and typically unaware by the viewer.

      Bild.de has 23% viewers viewing with adBlocking on.
      Google Analytics helps improve engagement by 33% and click-throughs by 21% for content promotions.

      Seems to me there playing field is fairly balanced now.
      Our weapon against yours. Boo ho cries Bild, so for the faithful viewers whom allowed Ads on they will be stabbed a premium to read the once free site… dumb. Poor business plan. Return to print only then. OR… be responsible for the ads placed, and present free snippets of the articles you offer the public to read, the entire article then has a price.

  2. Psudo journalists and opportunists that “create” shit content and FUD, will hopefully die amd disappear with Ad Blocking gaining traction, because their shit content will never be paid for by anyone with any resemblnce of a brain.

  3. The war has just started.

    MDN says,

    “Blocking hurts the sites you love… please whitelist us.”

    Yet the Ads posted on MacDailyNews are neither customized, nor tailored towards the mac culture, the ads are random and sexual in nature. Typically from the hideous and greatly disliked Google tracking scums.

    Do we all believe MDN cares about his/her readers?
    If so, find suitable mac related ads.

    Block MDN advertising until he/she find better suited advertisements to confront. I do not dislike ads – but their is a responsibility these sites must be forced to. All for some company to start policing websites – if in exchange sites start charging to see them.

    1. If you understood how online advertising works, you probably wouldn’t have written that.

      Adds you see on MDN (or anywhere else) are different from ads I see. And they aren’t determined so much by the site you are visiting; they are determined by the advertising companies that place the ads there (AdSense, DoubleClick and similar) using for the most part behavioral targeting (rather than contextual). That means that they will collect your browsing patterns over time, find out what your interests are (apparently, things that are sexual in nature) and show you advertising for this.

      MDN and similar sites most often don’t control what type of targeting is used by their advertising partners, which is why some people will see ads that are sexual in nature, others will see the ones for prostate and bladder health, while some will see ads for online games, etc.

      I don’t see ads on MDN, since I block them using a comprehensive HOSTS file with domains of all advertising hosts. To compensate MDN for revenue lost on that, I use MDN’s affiliate links to purchase all my Apple gear, funneling a slice of Apple’s profit margin toward MDN.

      Hopefully, some day, MDN will decide to monetise their site with a proper paywall and allow people who hate being profiled to pay to avoid it.

      1. I do understand how it all works – do not assume I don’t.
        Yet, you seem to think its perfect – you seem to think its fair to the public. Television and Radio are less capable of this tracking of peoples behaviours – and yet those two medias offer far more engaging and entertaining advertising — yet people also have the power to not view them too.

        Without any cookies, without any history of my online viewing… oh please almightily Predrag, oh please tell me what type of Advertising will appears? you may have guessed… the bs ones.

        I have every right to Block Ads. These ads do not necessarily appear to my other viewing experiences – they are not entertaining and they are not welcomed. Period. And I am sure I am not the voice of few. The internet has wronged me, by invading my personal space – Adblocking regains a certain freedom.

        You yourself Predrag are blocking. Why?
        As does every site have the right to advertise this way… the playing field seems more equal with blocking software. And I embrace this. As I embrace trashing any history on quit. As I dislike on my phone, sending companies why my phone crashed. As I dislike sending Apple why my Mac may have crashed.
        I will send when I feel its needed. And give people back this power… do not have it set to do so as a default setting.

        Now if content providers decide to charge so be it… it faces them in lowering their readership. It may pick-up again – not my worries. They will do what they need to. They will raise prices once they realize they are not earning enough or just get greedy.

        And lastly Predrag, if you wish to funnel a slice of your Apple profits to MDN thats rather nice of you. Yet I question you this, basically supporting them for what? A bunch of articles linked to other sites? How silly are you… I considered you rather intelligent person yet suddenly lost respect in all your comment here on MDN.

        Advertising that works this was is Exactly the perfect example of IRRESPONSIBLE adverting. To track what I have seen… or more clearly, without any history on me — it will show me something totally random.

        1. I am definitely NOT disputing your argument regarding the need to block advertising; after all, I’m doing exactly the same thing myself, for the same reasons you do it.

          However, you completely lost my respect in your penultimate paragraph. No matter what you think of the quality and relevance of ads, they represent the (often only) source of revenue for a product / service that you use online. Blocking ads and still expecting content is simply unethical.

          From that paragraph, it is clear that you consider the value of MDN worthless, and believe you should NOT pay them for their work. For me, their service (as Apple news aggregator) has value, and I have found away to compensate them for the revenue they may have lost because of my ad blocking.

          1. Predrag wrote: “Blocking ads and still expecting content is simply unethical.”

            That is simply NOT TRUE. Depending on ads for revenue is a business model decision. I, as an Internet browsing citizen, have NO obligation to support a business model with which I disagree. I WILL and DO support ads on sites which present appropriate ads unobtrusively, but I have NO obligation to support a site’s decision to present me with blatant sexuality when I’m not looking for it, or with intrusive ads. I’ve whitelisted MDN several times, and each time their ads’ content and intrusiveness has led me to promptly block them again, with a completely clear conscience.

            1. You seem to be conflating two different reasons into one in order to compose a valid excuse for getting something without paying for it.

              MDN is performing a service online that seems to have its users. By visiting its pages, these users are generating ad impressions, which provide the source of revenue, enabling MDN to sustain the service. The most basic terms of the relationship in this model is that the service provider makes content available at no direct cost to the user, while user agrees to ad placement around content, while advertiser tracks user interactions and based on those, pays content provider the agreed fee.

              In other words, you as a user, are essentially ‘paying’ MDN for their services by allowing MDN to place third-party advertising around their content. You are not required to directly interact with those ads in any way, but you need to allow it. If you disallow the displaying of advertising content, you are no longer paying for the services you are receiving.

              As an internet citizen, you have NO obligation to support this model; if you disagree with it, you should NOT visit MDN. However, if you want MDN’s content, and MDN only offers their content together with online ads that may be questionable to your taste, then your only option to ethically access MDN’s content is by ‘paying’ for it (allowing ad display).

              MDN offers an alternative option, which is less obtrusive: if you access their content via their iOS app, the ads are displayed in the narrow sliver at the top. Since iOS does not allow you to completely obliterate tracking, the ads will likely be targeted based on your online behaviour, which will make them contextually more relevant.

  4. >Bild, Europe’s top-selling tabloid

    Holy shit, if correct, that’s some seriously depressing info right there. I skim their rag once every three years for shits and giggles, and to think that they have subscribers blows my mind. This being said, I have no problems to pay for my news – as long as I’m paying for proper journalism.

  5. Germany’s Axel Springer has banned readers who use adblockers

    This isn’t an issue of ads. It’s an issue of BAD ADS! If Axel’s website foists bad ads at readers, they’re not going to want to visit his site anyway! It comes down to that issue.

    Example: A website shoves MacKeeper abuse ads on readers? Then FSCK that website dead! Good riddance. The only reason such a site would get visitors is because of adblockers. Kind of simple to understand.

    A good, kind, unabusive website with friendly ads? I already turn off my adblocker for you, and thank you for thinking of your reader’s well being!!!

    1. I should also point out that adblockers are evolving:

      1) They’re becoming less geek oriented and more user-friendly.
      2) They’re incorporating White Listing of approved websites.

      Examples:
      – AdBlock Plus (which ripped off the original AdBlock, I must note) doesn’t have any default ability to White List anything. That’s not a good idea.
      – AdBlock (the real original) allows White Listing. It’s still a bit arcane to get at it and understand it, but it’s there. That’s a good idea.

      The same sort of evolution is going on with iOS adblockers as well.

  6. I think the children on this site should focus on how a news organisation might pay for its staff, buildings, expenses without income.

    Bild is being very fair – you can have our expensive-to-produce content for nothing if you accept advertising and then our advertisers are paying for you to read our contents.

    Otherwise pay for it yourself.

    Or, get on a plane and go and find out what is happening on the world…

  7. Capitalism’s core goal is to maximise capital. Sites will block visitors who use ad blockers but will free the visitor if the visitor pays a fee. After the visitor is hooked, the capitalistic site will introduce ads even to paid visitors.

    This is the cable TV model which promised ad-free viewing for a fee, but now “Cable networks have…made room for ads by shortening the opening credits.”

    Therefore, it’s likely true that Bild will demand payment even after you begin to see ads.

  8. I support Bild’s decision to do this. I will continue using ad blocking software. If their content is worth paying for, I will pay for it. The majority of websites (like this one), offer very little exclusive or compelling content (nothing worth paying for). Beyond content, blocking advertising is a good security practice. got Adware?

    With regards to Bild, if it is

    I applaud Apple’s stance on this, but especially with regards to iOS.

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