Here’s The Thing With Your Paywall — Micropayment as an alternative to Ad Blockers ?

Jean-Marie Grange
Dec 20, 2016 · 3 min read

So, I was clicking on a link posted by a trusted professional contact and was looking forward to read that article on Wired that would tell me how Ad Blockers are making money (probably on my back)… but

Ad Block pop-up on Wired website

Wired won’t let me access the content unless I disable my Ad Blocker for their website, or I pay a subscription of 4$/month or 45$/year to have access to an ad-free version of Wired.

Wired launched this ad-free option a few months ago, acknowledging that the ads can be very annoying, like big videos with sound in the middle of an article.

I totally understand that a website publishing good content needs to make money out of advertisement or paying readers, but you also have to look at it from the reader point of view :

  • I don’t want to be interrupted or annoyed by big intrusive ads, that is the reason I installed an ad-blocker in the first place
  • I just wanted to read that one article. I might come back to read more of Wired content if I like what I find on the website, or not…
  • Why can’t I just pay a fair price to just access this one article?

But what would be a fair price to read only one article ? Let’s start with what the site is losing by removing the ads. How much money would Wired have made with the advertisements on this page ?

It is difficult to know exactly the price of an ad impression because it varies depending on different factors, like the media (banner, video…), the size and position of the ad, the distribution platform (Google Adwords, proprietary…), but it usually averages between 10$ and 15$ per 1000 impressions (1.5¢ per impression max). Ad Block informs me that 8 ads were present on the page, so one page view would more or less drive 8 x 1.5 = 12¢ of advertisement revenue.

I would be OK to pay 15¢ to read that article without ads, but I won’t commit to pay recurring subscription.

Publishers should consider offering the choice to navigate without ads with an easy way of paying a small amount for the content that is viewed.

Jean-Marie Grange

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Focused on digital tranformation of Business, micropayment believer