, as you have presumably noticed, is free. Which makes us seriously worried about ad blockers.

We're editing reviews in four languages, inputting thousands of listings and continually developing the site. This costs money, which has to come from somewhere, and that means advertising. There are various forms of this, such as sponsored articles and premium listings, but plain vanilla on-page banner advertising has to play its part.

When we've run attitude surveys, the vast majority of respondents have said that they are unwilling to pay for web content. From our standpoint, if you're unwilling to pay for a service and you install software which blocks our main way of earning revenue from it, you're a freerider and causing us a deep existential problem. Bachtrack literally couldn't exist if a majority of our users took this view.

Last week, we introduced a paid membership scheme which, amongst many other things, gives members the option to use the site without ads. Over the week-end, we tried out some code which blocked users from viewing a page if it detected that our ads were not showing 10 seconds after loading the page, sending them to a page explaining why. The results were interesting:

  • Around 14% of users had ad blocking software installed. From trade press stories, we suspect that the 14% figure is rising, maybe quite rapidly.
  • Around half of those, when presented with the article explaining what we'd done and why, appear to have disabled or removed their ad blocker as asked. The other half simply went away: they were unwilling or unable to disable their ad blocker. 
  • Apart from one of our reviewers who couldn't upload his review, no-one contacted us to complain.

So your opinions, please: how should we behave? We're already doing our level best to ensure that our ads are relevant to classical music and opera fans, and we already reject ads that we think are too visually intrusive, so it seems to me that our choices are these:

  1. Implement a policy of "if you don't buy a paid membership, we will stop you reading pages if you have blocked our ads".
  2. Put the whole site behind a paywall.
  3. Bury our heads in the sand.

We think that option (1) looks by far the best of these, but I would love to hear anyone else's views on the subject. You can get to me via the contact form, messaging @bachtrack or @davidkarlin on Twitter or emailing me at webmaster[at] Do say!