March 7, 2016

The New York Times on Monday joined the ranks of online publishers who are asking readers to consider alternatives to ad blocking.

Multiple tweets began circulating Monday showing that visitors to The New York Times with ad-blockers enabled are asked to become digital subscribers or allow the Times to serve ads.

In a statement, The New York Times said it is opposed to ad blocking on the grounds that it “does not serve the long term interest of consumers.”

Today we began testing various approaches to a relatively small population of subscribers and non subscribers who are using ad blockers. Our goal is to inform users of the harm of ad blocking and to encourage the whitelisting of

We are opposed to ad blocking, which does not serve the long term interest of consumers. The creation of quality news content is expensive and digital advertising is one way that The New York Times and other high quality news providers fund news gathering operations.

Late last month, a piece published in The New York Times’ Sunday Review section hinted that the newspaper was considering instituting ad blockers on its website, joining the ranks of publishers that include Forbes, Ars Technica, Wired and The Washington Post.

News organizations are increasingly launching countermeasures for ad blockers because the software deprives them of revenue they would otherwise receive from impressions on digital advertisements. But the rise of ad blockers — and the tactics to foil them — is also part of a deeper question about who controls access to news, Emily Bell, the director of Columbia University’s Tow Center, wrote Sunday.

Adblocking may be a pressing issue for publishers, but it is only a small piece of a much larger puzzle about who controls news, information and access to the mobile web, and therefore all publishing, revenue and audience on mobile platforms.

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism…
Benjamin Mullin

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