Friday, October 6, 2017

More major German media sites blocking ad blockers - good riddance

Over the past few years, major German news sites have moved to denying access to folks who use ad blockers.

The principle is as simple as it is German: Unblock or pay, or we give you no access.

Nasty German tabloid rag BILD was the first of the majors, the blogster recalls. This one was a godsend. Finally, no more late night peek at the latest screaming headlines designed to rile up readers and stir anger and divisiveness.

More respectable papers followed, such as Sueddeutsche Zeitung, and more recently Spiegel Online. The funny things about Spiegel Online is that its international, i.e. English language, section is still accessible to users with active ad blockers at the time of this post.

Maybe they don't want to seem provincial, maybe they haven't gotten around to modifying the site.

In a little over a week, Frankfurter Allgemeine will be next. To their credit, they are nice enough to notify readers of the upcoming policy change.

Die Welt has a free section and a "Plus" section.  Economics weekly Handelsblatt refuses active ad blockers too.

What does this mean to the blogster?

Should it* be worried about missing insightful discourse or crucial news?

Absolutely not. There are still freely available German news sites, both general and specialized ones. To be honest, only a few authors of all these papers will be missed. Much of the news is not just predictable but also almost indistinguishable at times anyway, no matter if you read Spiegel or Frankfurter Allgemeine,
The huge German public television system has been receiving the blogster's contribution for years, paid grudgingly, but the blogster's household has neither a TV nor a radio. So, why not finally use some of the 'services'?

And then there is the small matter of not being limited to German or English. French and Spanish work just as well, and over the next few years, they will have the distinct advantage of not covering the populist right AfD excessively, while it will dominate much of the German native news.
Lastly, exploring other German news sources may offer the opportunity to expand the blogster's view of country and culture.

So, thanks for all the fish.

* Gender neutrality rules!

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