Yahoo Mail users who have installed ad-blocking software might find an unwelcome surprise: In the U.S., at least, Yahoo is blocking their access to email. Earlier this month, Yahoo quietly began testing a system that blocks out people who are using ad-blocking software. It appears Yahoo is doing this not for technical reasons, but to protect revenue.
According to the Financial Times, Yahoo is running a trial with Yahoo Mail users in the United States to block them from accessing mail if ad blockers are enabled. When these users try to access Yahoo Mail, they are greeted by a screen telling them to turn their ad-blockers off. Digiday’s Jordan Vilinsky notes that the problem appears to have started this week.
Yahoo mail users, it seems, are not happy about it.
Free email providers such as Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft, are encountering a problem with users in 2015: Their monetization model is centered around advertising, but obtrusive, bandwidth-hogging, and simply ugly and annoying ads ruin the user experience. Google has largely avoided this problem by keeping in-app advertising discreet, while Microsoft has pivoted free email into a loss leader for its other products. Yahoo appears to be taking a bolder stance at this time.
Fast Company has reached out to Yahoo for comment and will update this article when we hear back.