YC-backed CoinTent says it can help publishers deal with ad blockers

CoinTent might be the solution for publishers worried about the money they’re losing to ad blocking.

The San Francisco-based company started with a focus on paywalls, but it’s recently moved into offering publishers (including GQ) a broader range of solutions to deal with ad blockers.

That doesn’t just mean inserting more ads. CEO Bradley Ross described CoinTent as “the full stack of ad-block detection, user engagement and recovery measures.” That can mean asking ad-blocked users to turn off the blocker or whitelist the site, hiding content from anyone with an ad blocker turned on or asking readers subscribe or pay for individual articles.

Ross said CoinTent is also working with some publishers to create “ad-light” experiences so that they can still show ads without annoying readers with an aggressive, flashy experience.

As for whether these types of solutions might turn into an arms race or cat-and-mouse game (or another metaphor of your choice) against ad blockers, Ross said he doesn’t see it that way. Rather than simply circumventing ad blockers, he said that at CoinTent, “Our focus is on, how do you create the right choices for the right users?”

Ross said publishers can install CoinTent on their sites in just 15 minutes, then recover 30 percent of the revenue lost to ad blocking.

A former product manager at Zynga, Ross emphasized the importance of testing different strategies and using different approaches for different types of visitors.

“If you look at the game world, you segment your audience — who are our new installs … who are our users who come back every so often … and who are the whales who are just obsessed with our game?” he said. “That just wasn’t going on in the media space — everyone’s seen as the same eyeballs.”

CoinTent is part of the current class of startups at Y Combinator. In fact, it’s on-stage today at Demo Day.