With more and more users accessing websites through mobile devices, and news that Apple is going to let users block ads on websites on those devices, what comes next?
What will the web look like if the advertising market dries up and websites can no longer turn a profit from it? Will we see more and more subscription plans? How many websites do you currently use that you would you actually pay for? For me, that number is not very high. Going to that model will kill off quite a number of sites, I think.
Or will access be blocked unless you agree to not block the ads? That’s a tough game to get into, an arms race, if you will, between site owners and ad-blockers to one-up the technology.
Will it simply become accepted that most people won’t block ads in exchange for leaving things as they are? Again, I doubt it. Online advertising has become completely annoying, even as it’s generally accepted. If you hand every iOS user an easy to use tool to block them, most will take it.
So what comes after the advertising model? What will the web look like when there’s no longer big money to be made in the advertising space? Will the small sites run by hobbyists who aren’t trying to make money become the go-to resources online? Will a handful of large companies, the ones we’re willing to pay for, simply swallow up everything?
Of course, on the flip side, many of us have been predicting the death of online advertising for years, and yet it’s still around, and still a robust market. Perhaps it’s simply here to stay, and no amount of blocking technology will change that, short of simply blocking by default and never giving users the option to turn it off. We’ll see if it ever comes to that.
I’ll still be here though, since I’m not in this to make money, but it will be hard to truly use other areas of the web if they wind up in a pay model, and that will make things quite different for all of us!