There is an oft-stated misconception that if a user never clicks on ads, then blocking them won't hurt a site financially. This is wrong. Most sites, at least sites the size of ours, are paid on a per view basis. If you have an ad blocker running, and you load 10 pages on the site, you consume resources from us (bandwidth being only one of them), but provide us with no revenue. Because we are a technology site, we have a very large base of ad blockers. Imagine running a restaurant where 40% of the people who came and ate didn't pay. In a way, that's what ad blocking is doing to us.
I'm not convinced. What's wrong with the following reasoning: Advertisers are paying for the chance to increase sales. They'll pay for ads when the expected benefit exceeds the cost. But, just as the incidence of 'click fraud' (clicking an ad link just to drive up advertising costs, without any intention to buy the product) causes advertisers to pay less per click than they otherwise would, so the incidence of what we might call 'dud views' (i.e. page loads where the ads won't be clicked or even attended to) reduce the price that advertisers will be willing to pay per pageview. If ad-blocking users have a prior disposition to ignore ads anyway, then convincing these users to disable their adblockers will simply serve to increase the number of 'dud views'. It does nothing to increase the expected sales for advertisers, and hence they won't be willing to pay for these extra views. They'll just react* by cutting the price they pay per view, to keep their expenses commensurate with the expected benefit.
* = [Advertisers' insensitivity to small changes shouldn't alter the expected outcome here -- see my previous post on chunky impacts.]
Maybe ad-blocking users wouldn't just ignore the ads after all. Maybe some would click, and others would at least attend to the ad, and be indirectly influenced to buy the product later (as with television adverts). In either case, the choice to disable our adblockers is not cost-free: it can only be expected to benefit the site-owners if it can also be expected to cause us to buy things from the advertisers. There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Ars Technica doesn't just need more ad views. They need more readers to transfer cash to their advertisers.
(Cf. Holden on gimmicky charity efforts: "If someone tells you you can make a difference without either giving up anything valuable or doing anything useful, they are wrong.")