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.
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
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.