Is Ad-Blocking software ruining our earning potential on HP?

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  1. CatherineGiordano profile image76
    CatherineGiordanoposted 8 years ago

    I was totally dismayed to learn that Ad-Blocking software is used by 41% of people. (The statistic appeared in "The Week" magazine.) That reduces impressions. We get 60% of views, but only 59% of those views yield ad impressions so only 35% of our views gives us earnings. If you get 1000 views only 350 of them will earn from ads.

    Worse, I learned that amazon capsules are blocked by this software. So again only 59% of readers see the capsules, and we get earnings from the sales made on 60% of those. So again we have the opportunity to earn from an amazon sale on only 35% of our total views.

    This is bad because not only do the hubbers have reduced earnings but HP loses income also. Coupled with the losses due to google biases against content-farms, is there still enough money in this to sustain HP as a business.

    (If I got the math or anything else wrong, I welcome your corrections.)

    Even more worse, I use my amazon capsules not just because I want o make sales, but because they are part of the information I want to convey  I might put a book in the amazon capsule and then use the description feature to explain how that book supports the point I am making in the hub. This means I have to do my hubs differently. If I want to use the book by Mr Famous Expert to prove my point, I have to work the book title and discussion into the text capsule

    I also use the amazon capsule the same as an image to break up blocks of text, especially when I can't find or create a suitable image. Now, that option is not good for 41% of my readers.

    It seems to me there should be some kind of work-around for the blocking of the amazon capsules. I could mention a book in my text and then link the book title to my own amazon affiliate account, but that is not allowed by HP. Why hasn't HP found a way to get around this--fix it so amazon capsules don't look like ads or lets us put a special link on mentions of amazon items so that HP can collect the commission and give us our share.

    Somewhat off-topic, I wish amazon would give us 60% of the total commissions paid by amazon on orders made via our hubs instead of 100% of the commission on 60% of the orders a hubber generates.

    1. paradigm search profile image56
      paradigm searchposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      If some of the advertisers didn't use such obnoxious ads, then we wouldn't have had the resulting consumer rebellion. Just another example of the few wrecking it for the rest of us.

      1. makingamark profile image66
        makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I totally agree. Those people who use AdBlockers do so because of the gross adverts and the websites loaded down with adverts.

    2. newbizmau profile image89
      newbizmauposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I agree on the Amazon commissions. That percentage is wrong on so many levels. Taking advantage of this community of writers is what comes to mind when I look at the structure of our pay. Yet we agree to it just by using the service.

  2. Paul Edmondson profile imageSTAFF
    Paul Edmondsonposted 8 years ago

    Our best guess is ad blockers represent less than 20% on desktop.  A large publisher like hubpages just shared some data with me. I do think ad blockers present some long term challenges if consumers adopt them rapidly.

    With Amazon, there are things we can do that we are reviewing now. No promises on when, but I'd like to figure it out.

    1. CatherineGiordano profile image76
      CatherineGiordanoposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you so much for letting me know that you are working on the amazon capsules being blocked problem.

    2. makingamark profile image66
      makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Expert comment says otherwise Paul.

      a 2013 post on Forbes - … -the-rise/

      a September 2014 article in The Guardian … g-industry

      This was based on this report
      which stated
      Ad-blocking goes mainstream]Quick Facts:
      There are about 144 million active adblock users around the world.
      Adblock usage grew by nearly 70% between June 2013 – June 2014.
      Growth is driven by Google Chrome, on which adblock penetration nearly doubled between June 2013 – June 2014.
      Adblock usage varies by country. In some countries nearly one quarter of the online population has it installed.
      Adblock usage is driven by young internet users. 41% of 18-29 year olds polled said they use adblock.
      Adblock usage is higher with males, but female usage is still very significant.
      A majority of adblockers expressed some willingness to receive less intrusive ad formats (however they strongly rejected intrusive ad formats such as interstitials and popovers).

      an April 2015 post in Adweek (a  leading source of news for marketing, media and advertising professionals) … del-163983

      ....and here's a really interesting comment from that article

      Each U.S. Internet user is worth more than $215 a year in digital ad revenue, according to eMarketer stats. However, ad-blocking users are likely much more valuable because they are typically heavy Internet consumers

      All of this is BEFORE the launch of the next generation of Apple Operating Software which will include an embedded ad blocker

      Apple listens to its customers and gives them what they want - websites without adverts.

      Bottom line - the more adverts you put on a site, the more you drive people away. Oddly I find people are happier to view Amazon modules - but are very resistant to unrelated adverts - particularly those which are totally GROSS!

    3. toptengamer profile image87
      toptengamerposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      There are definitely some easy things you can do on the amazon side. Amazon advertisements are not blocked at all on the websites which I run. Fixing this in time for the Christmas holiday season would be huge.

  3. Glenn Stok profile image97
    Glenn Stokposted 8 years ago

    Catherine, You brought up an interesting and important point to consider. I just read yesterday that Apple will be making it easier to block ads on mobile devices soon. So it's going to get worse.

    But the point you made about text in the Amazon description being blocked worries me. I also place a lot of text in Amazon capsules. This works for me because the reader continues following my train of thought while in the sales capsule. My Amazon sales do quite well and I think this may be the reason. You might say I'm secretly leading them into the ad.

    However, I never thought about the fact that visitors who use ad blockers may not see all the text of my hub, and the text I have in the Amazon capsules are an important part of it all. For that matter, the meaning of what I may be discussing in a hub can be lost if those portions of text are not visible.

    So all this leads me to a question that HP staff needs to answer...

    Is the text description in an Amazon capsule treated as part of the ad, and therefore be blocked by ad blockers?

    If so, then I'll have to change everything around as you are thinking now of doing, and stop using the description field.

    One last important thought...  When HP made the major changes to the Amazon capsule a year or two ago, there was a bug where the text in the description was not being counted towards the total word count for the article. I had reported this bug and they fixed it. So since that is the case, I'm thinking that the text of the description may be handled "outside" of the actual ad.  If that is the case, then we are good to go and people using ad blockers should still see our description text.  But as I said, we need HP staff to confirm this.

    1. CatherineGiordano profile image76
      CatherineGiordanoposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I have ad blocking software on my chrome browser, but not on my IE and Firefox. The whole amazon capsule disappears when I look at my hub with chrome. Like you, I use the description in the capsule as part of the hub.

      We can put the description outside of the amazon capsule, but that won't help us make a sale.

      My amazon sales are terrible. Only a couple per month. I usually only use 1 or 2 amazon capsules and the products are highly relevant. I'm going to go study your hubs to see if I can figure out why you do so well.

      1. Glenn Stok profile image97
        Glenn Stokposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Since you have ad blocking on Chrome and not on IE, try comparing my hub you just commented on. Notice the text inside the Amazon capsule near the end of the hub and see if it's missing on your Chrome where you have ad blocking enabled. Maybe I should set up ad blocking on one browser so I can compare too.

      2. Glenn Stok profile image97
        Glenn Stokposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Catherine, No need to compare. I just installed an ad blocker on Firefox and I continue to not have one on Safari. So now I compared a few hubs.

        In some cases it works out okay that the reader is missing part of my hub. But in other cases, such as my hub on Tea Kettles, the hub makes no sense at all without the text I have in the description field. I'll have to spend some time fixing hubs, moving that text into a regular text capsule and leaving the Amazon description field blank, or with something not so important.

        I just saw makingamark's post with reference to some authoritive articles that indicate how quickly ad blocking is growing.

        1. makingamark profile image66
          makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          It's a fact of life and it won't be retrenching.

          Websites which depend on advertising for their survival need a Plan B.

        2. jodijoyous profile image61
          jodijoyousposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Well, Squidoo had a workaround, and since HP bought Squidoo, they would presumably have access to that code.

  4. makingamark profile image66
    makingamarkposted 8 years ago

    This is the one of the best articles I've read so far about what's on the horizon re the upcoming ad blocking by Apple. When the Ad Blockers start crying foul you know something BIG is about to happen!

    The Guardian - "Adblock Plus cries foul over Apple plan to stop ads" (June 2015) … n-stop-ads

    "The developer of Adblock Plus has cried foul over new features in Apple’s next update for its mobile operating system that could come equipped with ad-blocking built-in.

    The update for iOS 9 used on the iPhone and iPad and the Safari web browser was announced at Apple’s developer conference on Monday."

    The reason Apple is going down this road is because of the load that adverts place on mobile devices and the way they take up screen space and slow down user experience.

    1. Mark Ewbie profile image81
      Mark Ewbieposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      The reason Apple are doing it is to keep the money within Apple.  They don't want users going outside the Apple experience for their music or goods.

      It is funny though - the Adblock assholes getting upset over it.  I have read their spiel and they are most up themselves people - "saving the internet".  But actually they are operating a blackmail scam in order to whitelist those who pay them to allow their adverts.  Time for a court case I suspect.

      As for HubPages users who use adblock and then complain others do too.  That is kind of hypocritical.  The truth is no one wants those spammy adverts and more people are getting rid of them.  The Goose cooked it's own eggs - whatever.

      I would not take Apple's or the Guardian's word alone on anything.  There is a LOT of material on this out there and a lot of conflicting views.

      For example - most people who use adblock don't click on adverts anyway.  That makes you think it does not matter so much.

      It probably matters less than Apple trying to lock their users in to an Apple world.  But hey - that's their stupid problem for blindly worshipping the company that makes a fortune from child labour in China manufacturing overpriced tat.

      Coincidentally, I recently removed ALL Adsense from my website.  It is pointless irritating spam. Whether people have Adblock or not.

      1. NateB11 profile image89
        NateB11posted 8 years agoin reply to this

        That's interesting you removed adsense from your site. It made me think I should do the same. It (adsense) doesn't do much of anything for me or my visitors. In fact, I'm tempted, lately, because of lack of success with the site, to make my martial arts site purely for sharing information; imagine that. Not sure yet, but it almost makes more sense to me than trying to make money on it at this point.

        1. Mark Ewbie profile image81
          Mark Ewbieposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Hi Nate,  I am having a proper go at selling MY product rather than being a conduit for Adsense.  So instead of Adsense I am saying "Buy this stickman mug" or whatever.  Any visitors I get  came for a reason and it was not to invest in retirement homes or buy a new shampoo.

          One great thing about removing Adsense is getting rid of that stupid Cookie message which they were insisting on.

          1. makingamark profile image66
            makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            Actually if you are selling anything DIRECT from your site then there's a bunch of other things you need to do relating to the Federal Regulations on Ecommerce. If it's via a third party site then things are less challenging.

            Plus if your website is viewed in the EU then it needs a cookie message for that geographical area irrespective of where you are based in order to be compliant with the EU Regs on cookies, privacy and ecommerce.

            That said - that's simpler said than done!

            1. Mark Ewbie profile image81
              Mark Ewbieposted 8 years agoin reply to this

              Third party Zazzle, Cafepress.  Peasy.

              As for the EU.  I only put the stupid and pointless cookie message on because of the recent hoo-hah from Google Adsense.  No Adsense, no cookie.

              I will wait for a warning letter from some idiot civil servant in Brussels.  My guess is they have about 1 billion to send out.  Should keep them in work for a while.

              EU v Ewbie 2015.
              "Did your client knowingly offer innocent web visitors a chance to buy a stickman mug without first displaying an incomprehensible warning message designed to destroy small business commerce?"

              1. makingamark profile image66
                makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                I don't suppose for a moment that it will be an EU civil servant

                Google thought it could get away with ignoring the requirement and then got its hands smacked very hard by the EU. They want to stay in business in the EU - and that's why the cookie banner went up on all Google products (it's not just adsense - my blogs have one too)

                I imagine what will happen is that Google will have already revised its algorithm to downgrade all websites which do not display the required cookie banner to EU based readers

                If the EU audience is of no consequence to you then this is an irrelevance.

                1. Mark Ewbie profile image81
                  Mark Ewbieposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                  The EU users are no use to me.  Since a small problem with handles falling off my mugs have already been banned in Italy and the wealthier parts of Greece.

                  I tried blaming it on the useless kids who work long hours sticking the handles on but apparently I need a two foot warning message "Handles may drop off" if I am to continue trading.

                  What with that and the latest Google mail that tells me I need to pray to Matt Cutts three time daily I have nearly had enough.

                  I don't mind flagellating myself - in fact I quite enjoy it - but will be voting "No" to everything next time around.

                  1. makingamark profile image66
                    makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

                    You think voting counts for anything? Try telling that to some of the so-called democracies around the world! wink

          2. NateB11 profile image89
            NateB11posted 8 years agoin reply to this

            My understanding is that selling products is the way to go if you want to make money on the Web. I'm heading in that direction too.

      2. makingamark profile image66
        makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I think we need to distinguish between people who will tolerate advertising which is acceptable and those who object to loud, brash, tasteless adverts which behave like teenage oiks.

        For example if I'm watching a television programme and the programme seems to attract a certain sort of advertising I hit the mute button and study my iPhone for 3 minutes.

        I have browsers with ad blockers on and browsers with ad blockers off.

        It all depends on the site and what sort of adverts I see - and that frankly is down to the website and the nature of the adverts they allow.

        I'm not averse to advertising so long as I don't feel visually or aurally assaulted - or want to puke at yet another really bad taste advert.

        1. integrater profile image61
          integraterposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          If you don't like a site, do not visit the site.

          1. makingamark profile image66
            makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

            That's exactly what happens - and the impact is that a site gets less traffic

            HubPages might want to ponder on its ratio of adverts to content and the impact on the number of visitors to the site!

      3. integrater profile image61
        integraterposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Clicking is just one part of the adverts, the impressions also matter. If the ad does not load there are no impressions .

  5. Will Apse profile image87
    Will Apseposted 8 years ago

    Five years ago you could say 'the kind of people who install ad-blockers will never click an ad so it does not affect income'. Pay per view advertising is obviously a  different story and is a big element for HP these days. As for Amazon ads, it is very noticeable that tech does not sell anymore (and it is tech users who are the biggest fans of Adblock Plus).

    Ultimately, I think it needs the top few hundred sites to get together, agree ad regimes that will not drive people crazy and then block the blockers from their pages.

    Probably never happen.

    1. makingamark profile image66
      makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      At the moment Google is acting as some sort of proxy for advertisers and their hosts who won't listen to the public and its view on advertising.

      Hence why it's got a big down on any site which overuses adverts.

      It's curious that a website which makes so much income from advertising should be acting as the policeman on the beat when it comes to how adverts are displayed on sites - but I guess Google's focus groups have made it very clear to them that advertising has got out of control and needs to be reined in.

      It's a message which all websites hosting adverts should listen to.
      It's not as if any of this is new! … lgo-108613

      1. CatherineGiordano profile image76
        CatherineGiordanoposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Google wants to killl the competition. First more people will see their ads if others are blocked; second more advertisers will buy their ad spaces since others are being blocked.

        1. makingamark profile image66
          makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          I don't understand why you say this.

          The AdBlockers are not owned by Google and they don't differentiate between Google AdSense and everything else.

  6. relache profile image71
    relacheposted 8 years ago

    Millenials, who are devoted to mobile devices, and the computer audience of the now and future, use ad blockers at a rate nearly double the rest of the Internet population. … scenarios/

    1. makingamark profile image66
      makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      ...and if you match up HubPages demographics (as per Quantcast - i.e. 53% of global visitors are aged under 34 … OBAL#!demo )...
      ...with that fact should we be surprised if Google AdSense income is plummeting....?

  7. integrater profile image61
    integraterposted 8 years ago

    Sometime back, I was using Ad block on Google search and surprisingly Google still managed to sneak in ads on their  search results.  How did they do it ?

    1. makingamark profile image66
      makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Because Ad Blockers have a number of settings and the user determines what they want to see and not see.

      In general they're set up to block all the obnoxious ones only and then you have to decide what else you want to block.

  8. Glenn Stok profile image97
    Glenn Stokposted 8 years ago

    Something changed in the last day or so. Amazon ads are no longer being blocked by Adblock Plus on Firefox. A few days ago it blocked my Amazon capsules entirely and I was almost going to change them in my hubs as I mentioned earlier in the thread. Now I guess I don't have to.

    I didn't change any of the ad block settings. I just left it as the default. But I'm not sure if  other ad blockers still block it. And I don't know what changed on the HP side. Maybe HP just changed the code as jodijoyous mentioned above in this thread.

    Catherine, have you noticed this too?

  9. Will Apse profile image87
    Will Apseposted 8 years ago

    The Amazon ads are back in Chrome, too. That is a result. The  revenue source should pick up a little, hopefully.

    Now HP needs to find a way to get rid of Amazon ads on pages where they are almost never clicked. I have a few of those myself but I would not mind losing them.

    1. KarenHC profile image81
      KarenHCposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      This is very good news!   Adblock blocking my Amazon ads since I've been on Hubpages (I'm a Squidoo transfer) has been one reason that I have strongly thought about moving my work to my own sites.   Now it is less of an issue.

      1. CatherineGiordano profile image76
        CatherineGiordanoposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        I also see the amazon capsules once again when I use chrome--it is the only browser that I use that has ad blocking software on it.

        1. relache profile image71
          relacheposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          Catherine, ad blocking software was already an issue and was already reducing earnings before you ever started on this site. 

          Please note that every and all web browsers have ad blocking options and/or related add-ons at this time, regardless of whether the user is aware of these functions or not. 

          Mobile phones often have ad blocking software automatically set because the screens are so small, and it is this view of the site that HubPages has made their entire main focus.  They are playing to nothing but the user who wants to see the site with no ads.

  10. SimilarSam profile image50
    SimilarSamposted 8 years ago

    It's a crazy number but not surprised. I think it's also something that will vary on your audience. Tech savy topics are more likely to have a higher ad-block ratio then others.

  11. Kylyssa profile image91
    Kylyssaposted 8 years ago

    My ISP is blocking ads and some content online such as the Recommended Hubs section on hubs and all of HP's ads. I wonder if it will catch on or if my ISP is just doing it to squeeze the last dregs of usefulness from old infrastructure and equipment?

  12. lisavollrath profile image88
    lisavollrathposted 8 years ago

    I use an ad blocker, and I'm not sorry. It doesn't block every ad, and I have the option of disabling it on sites where I either want to see them, or have to see them to access content (Hulu and CBS both block ad block users from continuing videos until they disable the software.)

    I have AdSense ads on my own web sites, and I don't care if my readers use an ad blocker. When I post products from Amazon, I do it by posting an image of the item, with a short link to the product, which bypasses the ad blocker problem.

    1. makingamark profile image66
      makingamarkposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Do you mean you make a shortlink out of the Amazon code which includes your Associate name?

      1. lisavollrath profile image88
        lisavollrathposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        On my own sites, yes, this is the method I use. I post a photo of the product, and a text link, using the short code. Ad blockers accept this as a photo and link, rather than an Amazon ad.

        Here on HubPages? I'm down to 9 hubs. I think one or two of them have an Amazon capsule, which I can't see with my ad blocker on.

  13. cherylone profile image89
    cheryloneposted 8 years ago

    This is a scary forum.  I have been writing on HubPages for several years and my income goes up and down with the economy, seasons, etc.  However, this year they have gone down to pennies.  I thought it was me until I read this forum.  I understand the frustration with people when ads pop-up when they are trying to read something.  They have to find the little "X" and close the stupid ad.  Or when the ad follows you no matter how far down the page you go.  Yeah, those things drive me nuts.  Then you get the ones that are advertising sexy books on a story for kids.  HubPages, please, we need this to work for us and you need this to work for you.  I also use my advertisements as a part of the hub.  Losing that part will hurt even more.  ARE there ways around this?

    1. CatherineGiordano profile image76
      CatherineGiordanoposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      The amazon capsules are now showing even with ad-block software. So amazon sales are not being affected.

      1. cherylone profile image89
        cheryloneposted 8 years agoin reply to this

        Yeah for that one.  What will we have to battle next?

        1. Kylyssa profile image91
          Kylyssaposted 8 years agoin reply to this

          The next thing is probably the thing I mentioned about some ISPs blocking ads and content that their system misidentifies as ads.

          My ISP, which has a monopoly in the apartment complex where I live, has blocked all HubPages ads plus the "Recommended Hubs" section, and, as far as I can tell, about 25% of the ads on other sites I use, judging by the weird, blanks spaces I'm seeing. 

          If this catches on with other ISPs, sites like HubPages that rely on slow-loading ads will fall unless they adapt and use different types of ads.

  14. LindaSmith1 profile image61
    LindaSmith1posted 8 years ago

    I have read on Amazon Discussion Boards that people are using an image and then using a text link to bypass AdBlock.

    1. CatherineGiordano profile image76
      CatherineGiordanoposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      That is what I do on my blogs.


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