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Adblock and Destructoid
by Patrick Miller on 03/09/13 05:44:00 pm   Expert Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.


Just popping in here to point out something that showed up on Reddit earlier. Destructoid EIC put up a post about how half its readers use adblock. The post itself isn't anything new (it's not the first time that D-toid has engaged with this issue, either, I don't think). But read the Reddit comments thread for stuff like this:

Sorry guys, people are willing to do your job for free. Maybe not to the same standard but they'll always be free press and accountability on the internet regardless of whether people are paid to do it.

My hobby is video gaming, reading about them on sites is a nice extra but nothing that I couldn't do without.

I might seem like an arsehole but it's the truth.

Or these:


There are people willing to write articles, post content and the like which adds to the hobby without being paid. Many even pay their own hosting site fees for the privelege. It isn't to say that there's no place for professional game sites, but in an age where gaming has never had more hobbyists and everyone has access to the internet, do we really need RPS, GiantBomb, Destructoid, Kotaku, IGN, GameSpot, Polygon, the Escapist and god only knows how many other sites to all basically either regurgitate the same news stories or provide reviews on games? The willingness to make a professional site does not entitle a company to the right to succeed. Not in this field.


I could quite happily make do with community-based discussion and reviews as you might find on Reddit (outside of r/gaming, naturally). In fact, many times I get a more accurate impression of a game this way than via professional games journalists - e.g. Skyrim (the fact that that game was universally praised just baffles me).


I don't adblock this website or that website. I am not a "reader" for a specific website. I browse the web. I read from aggregate and crowd-source curated internet. I adblock the entire internet, because it's not one segregated website anymore, its one giant mess of information, and you can't trust any of it. I think publishers trying to make money on the internet are fighting a losing battle against people who are willing to do it for free. If Destructoid can't afford to pay its writers what they deserve, then the writers should leave, Destuctoid should shrink and become a smaller more focused entity, or make way for Joe Blow in his basement doing it for free after his 9-5 job. After he quits his job, grows his website, sells it to a conglomerate and then complains that it doesn't make enough money, he can do the same and John Doe can start his turn at the wheel.


The thing is, none of the gaming websites need to exist. We have intelligent redditors and bloggers in the wild that are passionate about talking about video games that don't need ad revenue; since they write about games as a hobby.

Some of the gaming journalists do a decent job, but I'm not going to lament their extinction either. There will always be passionate fans that will fill the gaming discussion void for free.

Folks, this is your readership (or the readership you're trying to get). And this is how they think about your work. Ten more years of the same stuff isn't going to cut it.

--patrick miller

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Ian Richard
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I want to point out that I'm not defending adblock and I don't use it myself. But if a site uses too many obtrusive ads... I will NOT return there. I understand that people need to make money and that's why I don't adblock.

But the problem that I have is when publisher's forget the #1 rule. IT"S ABOUT THE USER EXPERIENCE!

I've been to sites where I need to close 3 pop-up windows, watch seconds of an advertisement before I can skip to to the article, to a page that has 17 animated flash banners... one annoying roll-over that keeps taking over my screen, and a video playing somewhere hidden in this mess. This is a lot of hassle for an article that I was only mildly interested in. You can be darn sure that I won't be returning to this site... EVER.

The same goes for DRM and micro-transactions. People don't rebel because businesses are trying to make money and protect themselves. The trouble is that companies sacrifice the user's experience in doing so. This makes the product a bother and less valuable to the end user,,, who is then expected to pay more.

I don't condone ad-blocking or other forms of taking control over your own experience, but I do understand it.

Chris Clogg
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How about the site that does a full page ad that you have to click-through to 'continue' lol. Seems like the 90's was full of popups, but now it's all page ads and distractions... of which in my life I think I've only ever clicked on ONE display ad.

I feel like the whole model of advertising on the internet (aside from maybe google adwords) just doesn't really work. They all feel scammy, get in the way, and never seem to genuinely present me with something I want. But I don't have a different solution for this :/

But back on topic, I think Adblock is so widespread for much the same reason piracy is: The system is inefficient, it puts burden on the user just to get to their content, when that's all they want (in a quick, simple, and easy way).

Bisse Mayrakoira
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You don't condone forms of taking control of one's own experience? :)

Jeremy Reaban
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To be completely honest, I actually wouldn't have a problem if all the "professional" sites disappeared. A lot of them, especially Polygon, seem like they were set up by the game industry themselves

When I'm interested in a game, I typically read the reviews at Gamefaqs instead of any professional reviewer.

And lots of so called professional sites really lack professionalism. Destructoid and Kotaku would be at the top of that list.

Yeah, the site I write for has ads, but I don't think they even cover the server costs. I write just because I enjoy reviewing games and digging up news, not because it makes me any money.


Kevin Fredericks
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I think Destructoid is trying to boost its community blogs to fulfill this perspective, though that's been pretty spotty and the promoted blogs are never too great.

Concerning professionalism, people want to be entertained by writing, so humor is a huge commodity and being overly professional can result in some severe dullness.

Christian Nutt
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Can't say I have an overall opinion of Destructoid's editorial quality -- I only read scattered articles here and there -- but the enthusiast sites did this to themselves. In other words, it's not just Destructoid's fault. It's the fault of IGN and everybody else, for employing a huge number of people who were no better than the average dude on the internet, basically. FOR YEARS. It created the impression this was true. When that met up with today's "hey, there are talented people out there blogging for no pay" reality, well, yeah. This happens.

a c
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Ads are annoying, thats why they are blocked. And the vast majority of ad content is either useless or deceptive. I don't see how mobile developers can sleep at night when the vast majority of their revenue comes from tricking gullible people into clicking "you have 2 messages" lie-alog boxes.

Penny Arcade is one site that did it right. The ads are vetted in house. I have no qualms about blocking the portion of a site's content that the publisher refuses to take responsibility for.