Daily newspaper City AM has become the first UK publication to ban people using advert blocking software from viewing its website. As part of a trial beginning this week, readers using browser plugins such as AdBlock on the Firefox web browser will be greeted with a page of blurred content and a message explaining why they have been prevented from viewing the page.
Less than 20,000 online readers of City AM will be affected by the trial, according to the newspaper's digital director Martin Ashplant, as only 8% of the site's 1.2 million monthly browsers use Firefox and only 20% of those use ad blocking software.
"We are having trouble showing you adverts on this page, which may be a result of ad blocker software being installed on your device," the message on City AM states. "As City AM relies on advertising to fund its journalism, please disable any ad blockers from running on cityam.com to see the rest of this content."
City AM's website was experiencing difficulties for a prolonged period on Wednesday (21 October) morning, though it is not clear whether this is related to the ad blocking trial. IBTimes UK contacted City Am but had not heard back at the time of publication.
Ashplant said that the purpose of the trial is to see what impact the instruction to switch off ad blocking software will have on the bounce rate of readers. The "see how it goes" plan will see the policy rolled out across other browsers if it proves to be successful.
City AM follows in the footsteps of Europe's top-selling tabloid, after German publication Bild banned readers who use ad blocking software from viewing its website.