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You Won’t Believe Why A Popular Ad-Blocker Was Pulled

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015 by | Filed Under: In The News, iOS, Security Help
 
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The most popular ad-blocking software in the Apple App store has been pulled from distribution.

In iOS 9, users can now download add blocking apps and users were more than ready. They quickly made ad-blocking apps among the most popular items available in the app store.

peace-app-screen-shot

The most popular of those apps was one called Peace, which quickly became the most downloaded app out there even with a $2.99 price tag

peace-app-screen-shot-2

But you can’t download it any more. And the reason why may surprise you. It wasn’t a decision on Apple’s part due to an outcry from developers. It was the choice of the creator of the app, Marco Arment.

Arment calls himself a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast on his blog. But he also says that he “just doesn’t feel good” about the app.

He had previously defended ad-blocking by saying that web advertising was out of control. According to Arment,  “They’re unacceptably creepy, bloated, annoying, and insecure, and they’re getting worse at an alarming pace.”

He said there was no reason to feel bad about blocking ads. “The “implied contract” theory that we’ve agreed to view ads in exchange for free content is void because we can’t review the terms first — as soon as we follow a link, our browsers load, execute, transfer, and track everything embedded by the publisher.”

But it only took a couple of days and several thousand downloads for him to change his mind.

Arment pulled Peace from the App store just days after its release. He said that he would offer refunds to anyone that requested it. Apple then decided to just refund all of the purchases automatically.

According to Arment, he worried that while ad blockers benefit a lot of users, they also hurt a lot of people who depend on those ads to make a living. He said that unfortunately, ad blockers tend to be an all or nothing prospect, that treat all ads the same.

He says that a “more complex and nuanced approach” is required, and that you can’t achieve that in a simple iOS app.  He also said he didn’t enjoy making the decision as to what typed of content is blocked.

Arment came to the conclusion that he just wasn’t built for that type of business and suggested users turn to other apps in the app store.

The problem with ad blockers has always been that the Internet remains largely free because it is supported by ads – without the revenue there’s really no reason to keep sites going. On mobile, many apps are also ad-supported. Take away the ads and you take away the reason for providing the service and also the income for the people that do the work.

~ Cynthia

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4 Responses to “You Won’t Believe Why A Popular Ad-Blocker Was Pulled”

  1. Derek says:

    Whilst this approach is reasonable and understandable for non aggressive advertising, such as banner ads that that can be ignored, the real culprits are the whole screen hogging ads that demand a response. Sometimes these obnoxious ads will only accept ‘yes’ responses just to clear them off the screen, sometimes even forcing you to their online site – unfortunately I have been unable to detect which App(s) are generating these ads so am unable to delete them from my phone. Ad blocker and virus detection apps prove to be ineffective in this respect. Maybe this guy should be more selective with his App as to what is deemed acceptable for developers to include in their software.

  2. […] are entirely supported by advertising, this can be a problem.  I told you in a previous article about how the developer of the most popular ad-blocking app in the Apple Store, pulled his product even though it was topping the download list because he felt bad about blocking the ads that fellow […]

  3. Keith Smith says:

    Adblock was sold to an unknown company,Ad Block won’t say who.I unintstalled adblock after these ads started showing up on Firefox and installed ublock instead.Stops the ads dead in their tracks

  4. […] of weeks ago we told you how the most popular app in the Apple App Store, an ad-blocker called Peace was pulled by its developer over concerns that it would deprive fellow developers from receiving the income they depend on from […]

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