The New York Times begins blocking a ‘small amount’ of ad block users

The New York Times is throwing its hat into the ad-blocking wars. Like a number of other publications before it, The Gray Lady will be selecting a “relatively small” amount of readers and asking them to disable the technology.

“The best things in life aren’t free,”the pop-up reads.”You currently have an ad blocker installed. Advertising helps us fund our journalism,” then points readers to two options: purchasing a subscription option, which doesn’t strip the site of ads, or to whitelist the Times, which disables the ad blocker.

The message is appearing to both subscribers and nonsubscribers of the Times.

In a statement to Digiday, a Times spokesperson said that the message is aimed to warn people that using ad blockers hurts its bottom line:

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.

For the Times, online ads in the fourth quarter of 2015 pulled in $70 million, or about a third of its total advertising revenue. The company has set an “ambitious goal” of doubling digital revenue in the next four years to $800 million, a benchmark that might not be achieved if more people use ad blockers.

Times CEO Mark Thompson has openly blasted ad blockers, saying during a discussion at a social media conference last month ad blocker technology companies “essentially are asking for extortion to allow for ads.” Yet, the paper recommended people to use ad blockers to extend their phones’ battery life.

The Times follows other publishers, such as Wired, GQ and Ars Technica in asking people to disable ad blockers. While others, the Huffington Post and Bloomberg, are redesigning its sites so people aren’t tempted to use the technology.

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