The Conflicting Cost of Rejecting Ad Revenue

May 9, 2016

4:00 pm

As many sites scramble to find alternatives for income after ad revenue begins to falter, one direction may be drawing readers away from popular content sites.

In a thread posted late Sunday, Reddit may be considering banning certain sites entirely. Forbes and Wired were both named specifically, as they have both revamped their sites to include pay-walls and requiring users to disable ad blocking. While these may seem like natural next steps for publications looking to keep their sites running, concerns do arise on whether these practices have favorable long-term effects for both readers and the site content creators.

The fact that Reddit is considering to instate a block on referencing these sites could mean a shift in reader support of these sites, causing a chain reaction on how many of these sites operate. Rejecting ad revenue may be a smart move as its influence drops, but what does that mean when other solutions to raising site revenue alienate their readers?

Pay-walls, in particular, are controversial in that they create a prominent class bias divide. With the assumption that all interested readers will have the means to pay the website directly to have access to content is dangerous thinking. But even resorting to mandatory disabling of ad blocking can cause issues – readers still want to feel secure that they’re reaading experience will be a positive one, and don’t want to expose themselves to malware and security issues in exchange for reading content.

So what are content created sites to do? Finding a middle ground, unfortunately, isn’t an easy action to take. Ultimately, sites have to be creative with finding solutions that work for everyone involved. But to secure readership, that risk may very well pay off in the long run, even with shifting digital trends.

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Cameron is a tech and culture journalist, comic book enthusiast, and lives near New York City. A graduate of Stockton University, she’s using her words to shift the world of online journalism, one byline at a time. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading sci-fi novels, collecting succulents, and planning her next obnoxious hair color.

Cameron is an editorial fellow at Tech.Co. Send your tips to [email protected] or tweet @BlkGirlManifest.

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