Digital news outlets, blogs, and other content creators on the internet are being hit increasingly hard by users’ ad-blocking software. Bitcoin microtransactions could prove to be the solution to this problem.
PageFair is a website devoted to finding solutions to the problem of ad-blocking. In their global report on ad-blocking, ‘The 2015 Ad Blocking Report’, they released the following surprising figures:
- Ad blocking was estimated to cost publishers nearly $22 billion during 2015.
- There are now 198 million active adblock users around the world.
- Ad blocking grew by 41% globally in the last 12 months.
- US ad blocking grew by 48% to reach 45 million active users in 12 months up to June 2015.
- UK ad blocking grew by 82% to reach 12 million active users in 12 months up to June 2015.
As a result, content creators must adapt to a generation of people who are not necessarily prepared to accept advertising on their favourite websites. Bitcoin could provide a solution to this problem.
Due to Bitcoin’s low transactional fees, it would be ideal for microtransaction payments for viewing sites on the internet. There are multiple startups in the cryptocurrency community who are looking to see widespread implementation.
PopChest, as discussed in a previous article, “is a service that allows YouTubers and video producers to earn money from their videos without the need for advertising. Users pay a very small fee in Bitcoin, usually $0.25 (approximately 0.000414 BTC at the time of my writing), to watch the content producer’s video. This directly supports the creator, and also allows users to see exclusive content. PopChest has had limited success, but recently, a YouTuber with 600,000 subscribers signed up for the service, creating a surge in interest.”
However, PopChest only solves the issue of ad-blocking on videos. Another startup, Satoshipay, hopes to address ad-blocking across all content. Their website states that they “process nanopayments of 1c or less and enable content providers to monetise their digital goods in completely new ways.” This essentially means content is put behind a Bitcoin paywall before users can access it.
The final startup, ADZcoin, proposes to do something completely different. Instead of using Bitcoin, ADZcoin uses its own cryptocurrency and a social network to pay content creators, without any cost to the user. As explained on their website:
“Startpeeps (the social network) members earn free ADZcoins. Website owners add some code to their site and an ADZcoin donation widget will be displayed instead of advertisements when ad block is enabled. Visitors can donate ADZcoins to the website owner if they like the content and/or want to support the site. There are also other options for website owners, like blocking some premium content and ask an ADZcoin donation to unlock it, or simply ban ads all together and solely use the ADZcoin donation widget.”
The question of how ADZcoin will be able to distribute free ADZcoins to the users of Startpeeps is an interesting one, but the website explains that, even though Startpeeps, “won’t sell advertisements, won’t collect data of members and sell this to advertisers, [or] sell anything directly to its members,” it will still be able to achieve its goal through simple affiliate marketing.
Affiliate marketing in the context of ADZcoin means:
“There will be 1000s of sites listed and each site will have the latest coupons added to it. Whenever somebody wants to buy something online, they can use the coupon available, save some money, and Startpeepscoupons will earn a referral commission (this will be automated)...Startpeeps members won’t even need to take an extra step, except for installing a lightweight browser extension in a couple of clicks.”
Of the ad-blocking solutions listed above, ADZcoin definitely seems to be the most innovative, and would seem to please both those who simply object to invasive advertising, and those who refuse to see advertising all together. However, its success is yet to be seen.