Was the Great Ad Blocker Freakout of 2015 Justified?

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Six months ago, after years of power surfers happily using ad blockers with no real problems, Apple decided to ruin things for everyone by supporting ad blocking in its products. Since everything Apple does is, by definition, the most pivotal event ever in the tech world—if you happen to work in the online journalism biz, anyway—this caused instant panic in the online journalism biz. Suddenly you could hardly click your mouse without running into a site nagging you about your ad blocker, or even flatly refusing to allow you in unless you turned the blocker off.

It’s time to take stock. Was this panic justified? The use of ad-blocking apps has certainly grown over the past few years, but has it specifically skyrocketed since Apple’s announcement? I’m unable to find any reliable data on this score, and my gut tells me that the panic over this was probably unjustified, as panic usually is.

Needless to say, though, my gut is not infallible. I’d prefer actual evidence. With the benefit of several months for tempers to calm, I think it’s time for someone to examine this and tell us what’s really happened. Who out there has the data to do this?

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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