“So normally there would be an ad in this spot. But you’re using an ad-blocker like a boss. Here’s a solution: You donate $5 to us once, & we remove all ads from the site forever.” That’s the text from a sidebar banner appearing on dating site OkCupid to users with ad-blocking software installed.
This is not about offering a premium option with extra features and services. That’s old news. It’s about directly courting those with ad-blockers to pay for what they consume and uphold their end of the value exchange. And I think it’s going to catch on with other sites too.
The fact is that ads are the lifeblood of innovation in consumer software. Sure, sites and apps don’t want to clutter their user experience with ads, but they have to keep cash flowing. Not every site or service is a good fit for premium options. Some waste resources shoe-horning in ones that add little value, and they still might not sell enough to make ends meet.
That’s why ad blockers really hurt developers, and they’re especially hard on sites with smart users who are aware these browser extensions exist. Ars Technica explains why you should think twice about installing an ad-blocker, “Imagine running a restaurant where 40% of the people who came and ate didn’t pay.”
This is why what OkCupid is doing is so brilliant. It’s not asking users to whitelist them and endure ads they hate. It’s not asking them to pay $10 a month for premium services they might never use just to dismiss the ads. And it’s not trying to change its whole business model. OkCupid is simply asking ad-blocking users to support the site on their own terms. Don’t want to see ads? Fine. But you’re getting something out of the service (in this case, maybe getting laid), so throw us a few bucks and you’ll never see ads again, guilt-free.
And of course, this is OKCupid we’re talking about — the team that created the OkTrends blog aka the funniest and most useful set of online dating tips in the universe, (though sadly it hasn’t been updated since the site was bought by Match.com). So naturally the messaging of its request is smart, humorous, and direct.
When a friend showed me the banner, I installed an ad-blocker just to see if for myself, and though I’m not an active OkCupid user I’ve happily donated. How could I resist such a cheeky, earnest plea:
So normally there would be an ad in this spot. But you’re using an ad-blocker like a boss; like a boss who hates ads. & that’s cool, except that OkCupid is ad-supported, & we need money to run this beast. Here’s a solution: You donate $5 to us once, & we remove all ads from the site forever. You don’t have to see garbage ads; we make a little of the money back that we’re losing from the blocker. Everyone wins.