An editorial chief has hit back at complaints from what he termed “smart arse” readers who will have to pay to use ad blockers on his papers’ websites.
Users of Iliffe Media sites will have to pay 20p a day, £2.50 a week or £9.99 for six months to continue to use the software, which removes advertising links from web pages.
The majority so far have opted to pay the six-month price.
But the company’s editorial director Ian Carter, pictured, has criticised some “obnoxious” web users who disagree with the decision.
In a series of Twitter posts, Ian wrote: “Those who have complained fall broadly into two camps – the naive and the obnoxious. The former seem genuinely bewildered about why we object to them turning off our digital revenue stream while reading the site for free.
“I’ve carefully explained the reasoning to them – ads = money = food on reporters’ tables – and they usually understand. The latter are more intriguing.
“They’re the ones foaming at the mouth because we’ve turned off their ad-free tap. When you explain why, they invariably tell us our journalism isn’t worth paying for, our reporters can’t spell and we are generally really crap at our jobs. And then insist we still let them in free.”
Ian went on to criticise “smart arse” complainers, describing them as “the ones who delight in posting comments advising people on ways of circumnavigating the ad block ban and then howl in outrage when we delete them”.
Speaking to HTFP, Ian said: “Stopping people using ad blockers is a pretty obvious thing to do and also quite hard to argue against – although that hasn’t stopped some people having a good go.
“This is only one very small element of our push to drive readers towards subscription bundles or micropayments.
“We are not really expecting to generate any significant sums from the ad blocker part, but it will at least demonstrate to advertisers that their messages will be seen.
“I also, slightly masochistically perhaps, enjoy arguing the toss with those who do complain. Some completely understand our point and either pay up or turn off. Others rant and rave and we’re better of without them.”
In his tweets, Ian also made reference to a number of regional press editors’ vows to take action against racist commenters, as reported by HTFP last week.
He added: “The response from some readers – and I have to believe they are a minority – to coverage of Black Lives Matters protests across the UK has been equally appalling.
“It comes to something when the editor of Plymouth Live has to threaten to report his own readers to the police. I’ve veered a bit off topic I know, but I do wonder when people got so bloody rude.
“Visit our site using an ad blocker, post racist comments on stories, abuse my colleagues on social media and you’ll be kicked off our platforms without a moment’s hesitation.”