Yahoo is reportedly discouraging users of its webmail service from using ad blocking software, by refusing access to emails.
As reported by Mashable, Yahoo is conducting a test run of a feature which locks out any user who has an ad blocker installed. Users who were running ad blocking software were greeted with a screen which instructed them to disable their ad blocking software in order to continue using Yahoo Mail.
On an ad blocking discussion forum, users reported seeing the error message at the end of last week, with one user saying that it pops up even after disabling Adblock Plus.
Yahoo is far from the first to take this action – London free paper City AM, the Washington Post and others have also begun detecting ad blocking software and preventing users from seeing content.
A Yahoo spokesperson said in a statement provided to Mashable that the blocking is only being tested on a portion of Yahoo email users. “At Yahoo, we are continually developing and testing new product experiences,” Yahoo said. “This is a test we’re running for a small number of Yahoo Mail users in the US.”
Ad blockers are big business – according to statistics from PageFair and Adobe, 198 million users are actively using adblocking software globally, and its estimated that their use will cost publishers nearly $22 billion during 2015.
As an alternative to all-out blocking, the Telegraph reports that telco EE is considering introducing technology that will allow smartphone users to control the advertising they see, by creating new tools that would allow them to block some forms of advertising on the mobile web and potentially within apps.
EE chief executive Olaf Swantee said he believes that not all ads are bad, but when they’re intrusive or crass they tend to drive people crazy.
This is not about ad blocking, but about starting an important debate around customer choice, controls and the level of ads customers receive.
Free tools exist which may suit businesses and consumers better, such as Ghostery or the EFF’s Privacy Badger, which block spying ads and invisible trackers.
The move by Yahoo is apparently only impacting a percentage of users but among those users some have either found workarounds to the preventative wall, or are switching to use other webmail services.
If Yahoo determines this exercise to be a success, it will be interesting to see if others adopt a similar model.
30 comments on “Yahoo blocks the ad blockers, while EE gives smartphone users control”
If a 198 million people are using ad-blocking that should tell the industry something. Millions of people don’t want their browsing experience to be bombarded with ads. Ad-blocking is no different than the mute button on the television!
Actually, it’s a *lot* different – TV ads don’t (yet) run the risk of infecting your TV with malware. So an ad-blocker is not just about stopping the onslaught, but at least as much, if not more, about security. If the Daily Mail can get hit by malvertising, then 198 million people are at risk 🙂
This 100 times. I’ve been listening to the backlog of Steve Gibson’s Security Now podcast and he was talking about malvertisig exploiting the WMF vulnerability back in 2006. The industry has had ample time to respond and if anything the malvertising situation has only gotten worse.
Sucks that content producers get caught in the middle but the ad agencies have proven time and again that they have no intention of changing simply because it’s the responsible thing to do. Maybe that 22 billion dollar hit to their wallets will do the trick. If we lose some ad supported sites in meantime so be it.
I have never ran any script blocking, ad blocking, or flash blocking and have never been infected with malware nor have had any malicious software installed on any of my personal computers dating back to 1999. I prefer to have my web experience unhindered and free of anything that may slow that down. I have tried various times through out the last decade several blocking applications, and they were removed within one week as they were a pain in the butt to deal with when trying to stream shows online a multitude of network sites like YouTube, CBS, NBC, Fox, FoxNEWS, and other news sites. The videos failed to load until the blocking software was disabled. So I do not recommend blocking applications to anyone.
Ignore the marketing shill.
I agree that it’s sometimes tedious to get an ad blocker set up just right. Sometimes you have to selectively allow some of the things you want. However, if you think downloading all those ad graphics and videos is faster than blocking them you’re mistaken. In my experience the ad laden pages load much faster with the blocking on.
Dan, when you get to the screen that says you need to disable your add blocker to play the video, just click on That – and the video plays 🙂
I won’t stand around and listen to annoying people and I (and millions of others) won’t put up with annoying adds. If it comes down to not viewing content to avoid said adds, then so be it. There are other sites, and always a good book (with no freaking pop up adds). Can you imagine reading a book, and POP up comes an add loud and, oops, that went in the fire…
You’ve been fortunate. But IT professionals know that poisoned ad networks are a very real risk.
I know that there are poisoned advertiser networks out there that are distributing malware via SQL Injected Ads into those advertiser networks. I wasn’t born yesterday, and I am of the firm believer that if you do get infected by these maybe you should re-evaluate the sites that you visit and change your browsing habits.
How do you know they are not infecting your TV? Like your stuff, by the way…
Because I don’t have a TV 🙂 Used to have one but…one day I realised that I had watched more competitive cookery programmes than I could cope with with, so I put it out for recycling one Green Waste Night.
You should habe put it in the electrical waste bin if you are in an EU country. It’s covered by the WEEE Directive.
True, but my point is if they let you mute tv ads why the hell can’t we block internet ads that contain malware?
Wow, Yahoo is showing how desparate they really are. Marissa’s panicking. Forcing its customers to view the ads. I give her 18 months, tops.
Sounds like a great idea. Lock users out of their email, so they find another email provider that doesn’t block them. That can’t possibly go wrong(!)
I think that blocking ads on a free service really isn’t the solution here. I am quite happy to pay a few dollars each month to thexyz for their ad-free webmail. In this world that is the only viable option to ad-free service.
It’s a matter of updating the filters to block the anti-ad-block scripts.
I’m a write myself, but I also maintain a small list of ABP filters. Those who bother to block the ads will never bother to click ads anyway.
You can whitelist the site on settings of adblock add-on/extension (will be different on browser). Or you can download NoScript (Mozilla/Firefox-based only)
Yahoo has ALWAYS been a rubbish organisation that has managed to mess up every service it has taken over (Flickr, for instance). I can’t believe people really use Yahoo for their primary email, there are so many superior alternatives
I can believe people really use Yahoo for their primary email. After all, AOL is still in business isn’t it?
I believe that software running on your system, is your problem and choice. To detect it on your system then hold you the flames if you don’t disable it, is a bad sign for even a trial. I would have dumped the service. There are many angles, but the normal user is deluged with adds and it’s sometimes difficult to see what’s an add and what’s a link that you may want to follow. Maybe this is where we have to start paying for the services that many of us use, even though, we’ve come to expect them for free. Money drives all of this…. Bummer.
What is “Yahoo”?
Ads that I don’t want to see steal my time and my bandwidth on metered connections. I can live without Yahoo and other ad blocker blockers.
I cannot use Yahoo Mail without an adblocker. The ads for some reason cause my yahoo mail to appear to refresh. When the ads are running I cannot type properly. The words are so delayed I start trying to retype and have to continuously edit or start over. Even worse, as the ads pop up emails that I am trying to send end up in my drafts folder constantly and are not sent. I have lost some lucrative clients because they think I am not responding to them, but my responses got stuck in drafts. Adblocker stops these problems. I can live with the ads, but I cannot live with the poor product Yahoo provides, without the adblocker. Unfortunately my email is established for well over 10 years and I am afraid to change it for business reasons. I am not against paying for a product, but I cannot bring myself to pay for a product if the free version is full of problems. I just don’t trust them.
Anyone know what, if any, effect this has on Yahoo Groups? It’s my understanding that the Groups use entirely different servers from “regular” Yahoo webmail.
They deny me access, I’ll disable the adblocker only for preparation as I leave for another service.
when newspapers went behind a paywall, I can understand it. I don’t visit the sites that withhold content, I just move along. The mail issue is all together different. Because people’s email is their property. This may lead to a legal actions against Yahoo. I hope they reconsider. Or, them may give the users a few months to get their mail and move to another provider. I would move.
To be fair, you can argue that it’s much more understandable for a service provider – who is providing you which free email infrastructure, server time, internet bandwidth, disk storage, and so on – to go behind a paywall. You may not like it, but you are getting the sort of service that, if you were to host it yourself at home, would surely add up to a few $100 a year, even before you factor in your time.
You wouldn’t expect a lock-up self storage company to keep your chattels for free if you stop paying the bills, just because they’re your property, would you? (As for getting your mail and moving to another provider – you could just turn your adblocker off temporarily, download your email and then close your account.)
I have paid Yahoo mail (through my ISP) and I still get ads.
Yup, juts like the crap TV channels. Even on paid TV there are crappy ads. I have stopped subscribing to paid TV as reason…