Yahoo has started to prevent some of its Yahoo-Mail users accessing their email if they use ad-blocking software in their browser.
Several hundred users in the US have encountered a message that asks them to disable their ad-blocker before being allowed to access their Yahoo Mail.
“Please disable Ad Blocker to continue using Yahoo Mail.”
Yahoo Mail users who encountered the request from Yahoo, were unable to access their email accounts until they disabled their adblockers.
Several users though, quickly managed to find a workaround to circumvent the restrictions.
So like, why?
Well according to a Yahoo spokesman speaking to Endgadget, Yahoo were ‘testing’ a ‘new product experience.’ According to Endgadget, the test may have been targeted at a small number of Yahoo Mail users to gauge public reaction before pushing out the ‘disable adblocker’ message to all Yahoo Mail users.
Needless to say, forums such as the one on Adblock Plus, quickly filled up with complaints, and also quick and simple workarounds.
Yahoo is the 8th most used email service in the world, but its user base is falling.
It lags behind Gmail, Microsoft’s Outlook, as well as the native clients on both Android and iPhone.
The move also comes as Yahoo’s revenue from advertising also continues to fall. Yahoo relies on advertising to earn money from its Yahoo Mail service which is available to use for free.
The last set of financial figures for Yahoo were also disappointing.
While only 16% of desktop computers are reported to use adblocking software in the US, its use has become much more prevalent in other areas of the globe, such as Europe where ad blocking use is widespread.
Technology companies have responded in different ways, and Yahoo has not acted unilaterally.
The ‘disable adblocker’ move by Yahoo is just part of a trend that other websites dependent on revenue from online advertising are utilizing.
Websites reliant on advertising revenue are increasingly starting to lock out users who choose to use ad blockers, such as the Washington Post. Other news websites, such as the Guardian, ‘ask’ their readers to turn off their adblocker, but will still let users read their content.
In September, Apple updated its mobile operating system iOS to allow third-party ad-blockers to be installed for the first time – although they do not remove Apple’s own ads which it serves up in apps.