Will Readers Pay to Support Ad-Free Sites?

Ask any blog reader and they will tell you that they hate ads on websites. But are readers willing to pay to fund their favorite sites to go ad-free?

Though it seems reasonable to assume that readers would be willing to pay a small fee to support an ad-free favorite site, the answer seems far from true. Mike Vorhaus has the answers to this question on Advertising Age

When we asked consumers if they would pay $39.99 a year, which comes out to less than $4 a month, for an ad-free version of one of their favorite sites, only 2.4% said definitely yes, they would be likely to do so. And only 3.5% said they’d be very likely. In fact, 84% of the people said they’d be unlikely or not at all likely. At the lower price of $29.99 a year, or less than $3 a month, only another 1.9% of consumers said they would be very likely to pay for an ad-free version.

Advertising is a major source of income for most websites. Now readers have got so used to seeing ads on websites, that ad blindness sets in and they don’t mind seeing ads (except when publishers have more ads than content). So why should they pay to read free content, while the publisher earns a few ad dollars to support the site and publish the content.

Though most feeds are also getting cluttered by ads, many sites still have ad-free RSS feeds and regular readers prefer this reading mode (here are some videos about what is RSS). I noticed many publishers are switching to services like The Deck, which will only display maximum one high paying ad only.