Who likes adblock walls?

A wall of red bricks

Who likes adblock walls?

In the last few years, adblock has been one of the most hotly discussed topics in the digital media industry. Publishers who rely heavily on advertising for their revenues see the threat and are trying to fight it in different ways. Adblock wall seemed like the easiest option, but it turned out that users did not like it.

If you have ever seen a request on a website to disable your adblocker, it means the website erected an adblock wall. It detects when a user enters the site and does not let to view any content until the user turns the adblocker off. Some websites also offer to log in, or pay for an ad-free subscription.

The first trials to introduce adblock walls started in 2015. At the beginning, some publishers even reported success and bragged about the number of readers who agreed to disable their adblockers. In February 2016, Forbes said that 4 million of its desktop visitors, or 42.3% of those asked, either disabled their adblockers or whitelisted


The New York Times informed more than 40% nonsubscribers in a test agreed to “whitelist” the Times website – meaning they let the ads through their blockers when presented with a “hard message about the need to pay for high-quality content.” The staff at City AM declared their anti-adblocker trial a success after more than a quarter of selected readers turned off their adblocking software.

But what the publishers neglected to mention was that most of their users left the websites after knocking against adblock walls.

A recent study by PageFair found that adblock walls are highly inefficient. 90% of adblock users surveyed have encountered an adblock wall. 74% of them say that they leave websites when they encounter such an activity.

Adblock walls are ineffective in motivating most users to disable their adblock software, even if only temporarily. Unless the website has valuable content that cannot be obtained elsewhere, an adblock wall is likely to be ineffective in combatting adblock usage at a significant level.