Yahoo declares war on ad blockers, blocks email access

Yahoo has taken ad-blocking personally with a new “experiment” that stops you accessing your email if you block online adverts.

Ad-blocking across the Internet is a problem. No-one seems to mind if we fast-forward through ad breaks on our televisions, but choosing to block adverts displayed on Web pages is a bigger issue.

Many free services including news publications, email service providers and social media networks need to generate cash through ad impressions if they do not go down the subscription service route to keep websites running, but the arrival of the ad-blocker has disrupted this revenue model.

Ad-blockers, such as Adblock Plus and Simple Adblock can be used as standalone apps or browser extensions to clean up our online experiences and prevent adverts from displaying. There is also a security element, too: by forcing adverts to remain hidden, ad networks cannot show malicious ads which may have slipped through the net, endangering your personal privacy and safety.

Yahoo is not the first company to take on the rise of the ad-blocker — joining the likes of Axel Springer and the Washington Post — but the punishment in this case for using an ad-blocker could be considered particularly harsh.

In the United States, users attempting to access their email with ad-blockers running on their browser will now be met with failure.

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Yahoo email users began to notice access problems last week. As reported by the BBC, Yahoo has confirmed the changes, which includes a pop-up box asking users to pause their ad-block software before they could access their inbox.

The tech giant, which is currently suffering low morale with CEO Marissa Meyer at the helm, has called the restrictions a “product experience” test which is only being tested on a small percentage of users in the United States.

In one forum, users have reported frustration that access to Yahoo email did not resume even after ad-blockers were disabled — but either way, the restriction is not difficult to circumvent.

When companies such as Yahoo wage war on ad-blockers in this manner, you have to wonder how long ad-based revenue generation is going to last — and whether a revamp of intrusive ad networks and rampant data collection or a switch to a new revenue model could solve the problem.

We also need to hope that if Yahoo rolls this restriction out worldwide, the company will not have a repeat of the serious malvertising campaign which infected Yahoo pages in 2014.

According to a recent report conducted by Bureau, 18 percent of Web users now use ad blockers, up from 15 percent a few months ago.

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