A trial banning readers using ad blockers from viewing stories on newspaper websites has been launched by a regional publisher.
The trial by Newsquest means people using the software, which removes advertising links from web pages, are unable to view individual stories on some of its websites.
Instead, readers are confronted with a message explaining that the revenue from advertising funds local journalism and a guide to removing ad blockers.
The trial is being conducted on several Newsquest-owned websites, including those of the Croydon Guardian and Warrington Guardian, while the publisher has also said the idea of paywalls is under review at the group.
Andrew Parkes, group managing editor for Newsquest South London, said: “We want to persuade our users not to use ad blocking on our sites so we’re trialling technology which identifies people using ad blockers and explains to them that it is advertising which funds the local journalism they enjoy for free.
“It’s early days but so far we’ve seen a positive response with a significant percentage of users turning their ad blockers off.”
When readers using ad blockers are confronted with the message, they can click a link which takes them to a Frequently Asked Questions page.
Among the questions asked are whether it is “really reasonable to expect people to work hard and then not be paid for it”.
The frequently page also acknowledges there is a “balance to be struck” when it comes to adverts getting in the way of content, and urges anyone concerned about specific types of ads to get in touch.
It also poses the question: “Would you be willing to take the ads off completely if I paid you?” The response states this is something “under review”.
Newsquest-owned daily the Northern Echo and titles at its Glasgow-based Herald & Times Group have both introduced metered paywall systems in recent years, which allow readers to view a certain number of stories for free each month before being charged to see more.