Stamping feet and shaking fists

The New York Times and Forbes do not like ad-blocking tools.

04 August 2016

“No one who refuses to contribute to the creation of high-quality journalism has the right to consume it,” said Mark Thompson, CEO of the New York Times, at an advertising conference last month. His newspaper will follow in the footsteps of Forbes magazine in trying to prevent users who use ad-blocking extensions in their browsers from accessing their free content.

On the face of it, this seems reasonable. The internet is a graveyard for publishers. Back in 2009, Alan D. Mutter, a lifelong newspaper man and now a new media consultant in Silicon Valley, described free content in stark terms: “The Original Sin among most (but not all) publishers was permitting their content be consumed for free on the web. Now that ad sales are about as low as the belly of the snake who caused the mischief in the Garden of Eden, a growing number of us have concluded that consumers are either going to have to start paying for professionally generated content or there won’t be much of it left. But it isn’t going to be easy getting them to do so, because free is the presumptive price of news, information and entertainment on the web.”

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