Yahoo Mail has started to prevent some users from opening their emails until they disable advert-blocking tools in their browser.
The message reads: “Uh oh… We are unable to display Yahoo Mail. Please disable Ad Blocker to continue using Yahoo Mail”. Several workarounds to the block have been suggested online (see box below).
Yahoo explained the message by saying it is testing “a new product experience” for a “small number” of Yahoo Mail users in the US.
The company is probably gauging how people react to having their emails blocked, hoping the majority will turn off their ad-blocking software.
It’s a highly controversial move that will further fuel the debate on ad-blocking tools. Many web companies have attacked how ad-blockers work. They say that the money they get from advertising helps them to keep their online services free.
Without reliable advertising revenue many websites, particularly those run by magazines and newspapers, would probably start charging people to access them.
Some newspapers, including The Guardian and The Washington Post in the US, have displayed messages on their websites to ask visitors to disable their ad-blockers.
HOW TO BEAT YAHOO’S BLOCK
If Yahoo extends the block to the UK, you can try getting round it by opening Yahoo Mail in a browser other than Firefox or Chrome, then clicking the top-right Settings cog. In the dropdown menu, click Settings, then ‘Viewing email’. Change the view to Basic, then click Save and re-open Yahoo Mail. You could also try the solutions suggested by Adblock Plus users on their forum: www.snipca.com/18858