Visitors using ad blocking software were hit with a surprise on Monday when accessing popular anime community MyAnimeList. According to multiple reports, the site replaced blocked banner ads with various images that ranged from insulting to horrifying. The messages ranged from mindless profanity, seizure-inducing flashes, extreme pornography, and teasers for the upcoming Irregular at Magic High School Movie.
As evidenced by the multiple profanity-laced messages to disable ad blocker, these changes were implemented to combat the prevalence of ad blocking software. Like many other online outlets, MyAnimeList has felt the impact of reduced advertising revenue thanks to the ubiquitous plugins that prevent paid banner advertisements for displaying. According to a Reuters Institute Digital News Survey, nearly half of American internet users block ads.
These trends are concerning for the standard online media revenue model, and digital outlets have reacted in a variety of ways. While Forbes notoriously by blocked access to its site altogether if the user was blocking ads, MyAnimeList implemented a more lenient policy by replacing all the ads with passive-aggressive pleas to turn off the plugin.
“It was more of an annoyance than anything, because it still cluttered the page the same way ads do,” user Sergio “NarutomasterX29” told Anime Maru.
But now the world’s largest anime and manga database and community resolved to confront the issue more aggressively.
“We figure that if make the replacement as annoying and horrifying as possible, people would rather just have ads,” MyAnimeList director of marketing Angela Inkster told Anime Maru. “It’s not that we’re intimidating our userbase, we’re just giving them other options to support us!”