Farewell, ads

Hello, and welcome to 2015: The year that we might view in hindsight as the start of peak display-ad on the web.

We're not immune to this at Emojipedia. As much as we love what we do — documenting emoji changelogs; creating mockups for new emoji candidates; as well as our ever-growing database of emoji images and search terms — all of this is paid for by display ads.

The trade-off for display ads is pretty clear:

  • Site has ads; can remain free to access
  • Site has no ads; must find another source of revenue

With iOS 9 just around the corner, much has been written how it supports ad-blocking apps; and what this means for websites using display ads as their primary source of income1.

In response to an article from Jean-Louis Gassée, Dave Mark on Loop Insight asks:

Where will the revenue come from? As ad blocking becomes standard practice, will mobile ads simply dry up and, eventually, disappear?

Rather than wait around to find out, we're trying something new at Emojipedia. Starting today:

Currently, Emojipedia sees about 12 million pages loaded each month, and this is increasing. In the next year, I expect to see over 160 million emoji searches on Emojipedia.

If you didn't just watch the talented Jonathan Mann tell you about our goal of dropping ads, let me explain:

  • Every emoji page on Emojipedia now has a section for a sponsor
  • When that emoji is adopted, its sponsor gets a space for their name, message, and URL on that page
  • As soon as an emoji is adopted, all the ads disappear from that page: No header ads. No footer ads. No ads in the middle of all those cute-yet-puzzling-emoji-images.

So come take a look at our updated site and tell us what you think of the changes. See how nice the adopted emoji pages look?

Is this a model for all websites looking to avoid the pitfalls of ad blocking? Probably not, but I hope that it is one way for advertisers to get through to users, in a way that doesn't detract from the task at hand.

I will report back.

(if you know a company that should adopt an emoji, point them to our Emoji Adoption page)


  1. Marco Arment also takes a thoughtful look at the so-called "ethics of modern web blocking" which is worth a read.