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Yahoo Mail ad-block ban proves the Web is broken

Bill Snyder | Nov. 24, 2015
Many online publishers view ad blockers as threats, so it should be no surprise that some, including Yahoo, are fighting back. However, such moves could have lasting effects on the modern Web.

Advertisers also use tracking "cookies" and other technologies to determine where users have been online and serve up ads that seem relevant. 

Combine these two tactics — annoying ads and potential assaults on privacy — and it's easy to see why users rebel. They use ad- and cookie blockers like the ones built into the latest version of Mozilla's Firefox browser. Advertising-dependent companies need to make money by selling ads, so it's not hard to understand why these organization, including Yahoo, view such browser add-ons as threats.

That's why Yahoo, a company in serious financial trouble, is experimenting with this no-ad-blocker approach. The test probably won't become official policy — locking email accounts is simply too obnoxious — but it could serve as a warning of things to come. And other companies will likely try other similar tactics in attempts to foil ad- and cookie blockers.

This fight is just getting started, and while Yahoo's tactics may seem over the top, you ultimately get what you pay for. If you pay nothing online, you may eventually get nothing.


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