Many mobile tech writers have been able to pursue their passion and write about the products, services, applications, and companies they experience thanks in large part to ad revenue. With the recent changes by Apple and coverage of iOS Safari mobile ad blockers, the survival of some of these writers may be at stake.
The top paid iOS app for the last 36 hours has been the Peace ad blocker, previously sold for $2.99, developed by Marco Arment. This afternoon Marco pulled Peace from the App Store and stated he just didn't feel good about the app.
Given that the app was priced at about $3 and was the top paid app for a couple of days, Marco obviously saw significant sales from Peace. He is now referring buyers to the refund instruction in case they want their money back. He will not be providing any further updates for the app.
Peace took an all-or-nothing approach to ads in Safari. Marco stated, "Ad blockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don't deserve the hit."
While consumers are able to enjoy an ad-free browsing experience, the people creating the content for their consumption are being hurt by ad blocking. For the most part, content is free and while there is a lot of junk out there, there is also an enormous amount of outstanding content availalble for free.
I personally don't mind putting up with ads if it helps those who create the content, but I do have some skin in the game so may be a bit biased as well.
Android smartphone users have had this capability for some time, but it wasn't until Apple provided the capability to developers in Safari and those apps gained in popularity that the discussion heated up. Apple tends to take issues to the masses and the discussion around ad blocking will continue.
Apple doesn't have its own ad blocker app and I'm sure if it released one there would be quite a bit of controversy.
Hopefully, a reasonable approach is taken by both sides so that we can continue to enjoy good content while also enjoying our mobile browsing experience.