This was quite interesting development from the realm of online advertising. Now it seems websites or UGC sites are giving more preferences to consumers in terms of being served ads online. At least that’s what one site is doing – enter wikiHow, a user contributed how-to site founded by Jack Herrick.

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Recently Mr. Herrick decided to let users turn off their ads i.e. let users opt out of seeing ads. Infact, wikiHow is the first high traffic site which claims to offer a “hide ads” button.

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According to their post:

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wikiHow pays its bills with money we get from advertising. In fact, advertising is our only source of cash since we do not seek or accept financial donations. However, we don’t think that ads should be shoved down your throat. If you don’t like advertising, you should have the ability to turn it off. And that is why we were the first high traffic website to offer a “hide ads” button.

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By clicking “hide ads”, we won’t show you ads on wikiHow for 24 hours. If you wish to permanently disable advertising on wikiHow, just register an account and login. All it takes is a username and password, and no more ads ever again!

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Infact, according to a WSJ article, Mr. Herrick created the opt-out buttons on individual ads way back in 2005, but decided to make the single opt-out button last December, and found that the page in which he explains the decision received more than 6,000 hits over the past month (wikiHow attracts 14 Mn unique users a month, it says). 

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Moreover, wikiHow is not the only site who is following the opt-out feature button, there are few more sites which are following suit like AboutUs and Kayak.com

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But if you’re wondering from where wikiHow will make its money since its the only way till now they rely heavily on to have the cash pull, then here’s some stats – wikiHow’s revenue comes from advertising but it was found that when he created a button that turns off the ads for 24 hours, revenue fell less than just 1%. 

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Personally I think it’s just better than behavioral or targeted advertising that most ad networks rely on to scrutize netizens since most users don’t like it that ways. Even big shots started listening to consumers who worry that their Web-surfing tactics are being monitored and rolled into customized advertising. The Network Advertising Initiative, a coalition of online-ad networks like BlueLithium and Atlas, created an an opt-out tool for users to examine their computers for ad network cookie files, giving them the option to opt out of targeted ads from individual ad networks or from all participating networks.

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Finally, I don’t think that many sites will follow suit in terms of letting consumers decide whether to be ad-fed but surely this trend of ad opt-out is growing especially from Facebook’s Beacon days.

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So what do you think- as a user would you like to have opt-out feature or the present state of things are fine with you?

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