Why Ad Blocking Hurts Slate, and How You Can Help
If you are reading this article, you are, by definition, a person who reads Slate. That means you’re a person who derives value—information, insight, distraction in the Starbucks line—from the work we present here for free.
You might also be a person who has an ad blocker enabled. If you are, please take a moment to read this. Ad blocking makes it difficult for us to produce the work that you value. I want to explain why that is, and two things you can do to help us keep producing the journalism you enjoy.
Advertising is a crucial source of revenue for us. When you look at a Slate page without loading the ads next to it, we don’t get paid, and that makes it harder for us to pay the great people—reporters and writers, designers and engineers, producers and sales reps—who make Slate what it is. We lost between $1.5 million and $2 million from ad blocking last year. That’s money that we need to cover the salaries of our team.
We know you don’t use an ad blocker because you want to weaken Slate. You probably just want a clean, easy browsing experience. That’s a reasonable desire, and we’ve been working to improve the user experience on our site, with “fewer, better ads” as our operating goal. We’re vigilant about keeping bad ads off Slate. We won’t make you click a close button on advertising to see the article you came to read. We work with The Media Trust to flag ads that cause slow load times and block ads suspected of malware. We don’t allow ads that autoplay sound. We eliminated pagination across the site. And we removed the “Around the Web” links from Outbrain that were a steady source of income because users felt they were a poor experience.
So here’s one way to support us: If you’ve been using an ad blocker for a while, try whitelisting Slate so that you see ads on our site. (You can check if you still have an ad blocker turned on by looking to see if you have an ad on this page.) You’ll find that the experience is much better than it used to be, and we’re making more improvements all the time.
If you want to keep using an ad blocker and reading Slate, though, please support our work directly with an annual subscription to Slate Plus. For $49 a year, you’ll help fund our journalism and enjoy a suite of benefits that include ad-free podcasts, exclusive bonus podcasts, entertaining newsletters, and more. It’s the strongest way to show you value the work we do.
This is a crucial time for Slate. We’re working hard to produce some of the most important work in our 20-year history. We strive to hold the Trump administration accountable with accurate, fair and rigorous reporting, and to give you the smartest ways to think about the world around us as it changes. We’re devoting more resources this year to ambitious reporting projects in Washington and around the country and the world. We’re launching new features, like Today in Conservative Media and Is This Normal and This Week in Trump, that help you pierce your filter bubble and keep an eye on the administration at the same time. We’re launching new podcasts, including our latest, I Have to Ask, an interview show from our brilliant resident interrogator Isaac Chotiner. So if you want to understand how to think about Neil Gorsuch or Paul Manafort or Twitter or Jake Tapper or clear-knee jeans or Get Out, join Slate Plus.
We value our readers for making Slate the community it is—full of smart, curious, thoughtful people who want to understand the world. Our goal every day is to help you understand it better. Please consider supporting us in this mission by joining Slate Plus.
Thanks for your consideration. If you have any questions, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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