Apple’s support of mobile ad blocking may upend how the web works

“Apple is coming for ads. It’s coming for publishers. And, in the process, it may be gunning for the web,” Julia Greenberg reports for Wired. “Buried in documentation released after the [WWDC 205] conference, the company revealed another update to iOS 9 — app developers will be able to create ad blocking software for Safari’s mobile browser.”

“Ads don’t exist just to track and annoy consumers. For publishers and entertainment sites, ads pay the bills,” Greenberg reports. “Google depends almost entirely on ads for revenue. By one estimate, the giant may be losing billions of dollars from these kind of browser blocking extensions. Google has tried to fight back by blocking AdBlock Plus — one of the most popular ad blocking browser extensions — in 2013, but, ultimately the company has reportedly opted for paying the service to save its search ads. By incorporating its own ad block capabilities in Safari, Apple could be kneecapping its archrival while innocently claiming its just trying to improve the user experience.”

“If Apple does truly want to get users out of browsers and into its apps, it will need to have publishers and entertainers on board. And the best way to do that may be to force those content creators into a position where they stand to make the most money if they allow Apple to serve as the conduit to their audiences,” Greenberg reports. “While Apple may be fine with blocking ads in Safari, there’s no indication it plans to block ads in its new News app. The company may be betting that if it can make bringing in revenue on mobile even more difficult for publishers, then everyone will be more willing to publish stories directly within News… if more ad blocking does make publishers more dependent on third-party platforms such as Apple News, Facebook Instant Articles, and Snapchat Discover, it could help consolidate those companies’ power as gatekeepers to determine what qualifies as news. While big publishers likely won’t suffer under such a regime, the little guys that form the fabric of the web may slowly start to fade.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hoo boy.

Well, we stand ready to embrace change. We’re Mac users, after all.

Let’s go invent tomorrow instead of worrying about what happened yesterday. – Steve Jobs

As always, thank you so much to our loyal, regular readers, we really appreciate the links you send, your comments, and your support throughout the years!


How Apple’s mobile ad-blocker could backfire on the company and iPhone, iPad users – June 12, 2015
iOS 9 lets app developers make ad blockers for Safari – June 10, 2015


    1. As we wrote on Wednesday:

      As long as you whitelist your favorite free (ad-supported) sites! 😉
      A HUGE THANK YOU to those who do so in their desktop browsers.

      MacDailyNews is a independent website. We’re not owned by a large corporation. Without our advertisers, we wouldn’t be here. As always, thank you so much for visiting and for your support! We really appreciate it!

      You may have noticed that the number of ads have been reduced dramatically in the last month. (Cut by more than half!). The site is loading markedly faster now and our hope is that this enhances our visitors’ experience and, eventually, helps to produce better revenue results. Fewer ad positions makes them more valuable (or so we hope, eventually) which would help make up for the reduction in ad spots – as long as you guys whitelist! Right now, we’re trying to manage our way through the significant revenue decline in the hopes of improving the experience. Thank you for your support!

      We’ve already applied and continue to investigate any opportunities with Apple’s forthcoming News app.

      1. MDN, you get an “A” for effort.

        However, I just tried whitelisting you, and immediately got over half a page of ‘stuff’ inserted above the story I was reading, forcing me to scroll down to read the brief 1/2 page story. You’re not quite there yet… I wouldn’t mind the ads if they weren’t above the story.

        1. It depends on the size of your display, of course. We’re working on ad positions, too. Thanks for bearing with us – some of these ad spots are essential to tide us over while the new system gets up to speed.

          1. MDN 99% of the time I read and interact with all of your posts from your iOS app. I rarely visit your site directly. And I really appreciate the improvements you’ve made to the app and the very clean iAd banner rather than the enormous Google-powered ads you were using before.

    2. I have bought because of ads on a website. Major purchases at times. Corporate purchases at times. It’s because I’m being tracked and they know what I’ve been looking into.

      I look for reviews on the latest firewalls. Next thing I know I’m bombarded with ads from CISCO, WatchGuard, Fortigate and others.

      There have been times though where the amount of ads on MDN make the site look like the public flyer bin in a ghetto apartment complex. It’s much better now.

      One thing that’s really odd is that all the top 10 Mac listings to the right have links that don’t work. At least not for me. Never have.

  1. Why criticize Apple for allowing their customers to do what everyone can already do with any other browser? Frankly, I don’t plan on activating this feature by default, but I could see myself using it when traveling to a foreign country in order to reduce data consumption.

    1. A friend called me 2 weeks ago. He wanted to know how to cut back on data consumption. We installed Little Snitch and more. Now he’s ready to buy a license for it because the trial period is nearly done.

      Websites and advertisers have to learn –> not everybody has a T pipe for internet access.

      1. The title of the Wired article makes it implicit.

        Never mind that desktop browsers have allowed it for years.

        Or that Android already has ad-blockers that might even be be global (i.e. block ads in apps as well as browser).

        Somehow, enabling the *option* for ad-blocking (it won’t even be on by default) on a mobile browser installed in less than 50% of all smartphones (that’s just US, never mind the world) is going to turn the entire web upside down, destroying “free” website access in the process.

    1. You an outlier. Believe it or not, ads do serve a purpose. And targeted ads can be useful. I found an awesome Apple Watch stand/dock that I love through an ad here on MacDailyNews. I sure hope MDN got paid for it!

  2. Ad blocking is similar to fast-forwarding commercials on TV, whether in the days of VCRs or with PVRs: it allows consumers to skip the messages advertisers want to send. TV was not “upended” by fast-forwarding, although it may becoming upended by streaming and the internet, and TV advertising is down as the money flows to the web. Ad blocking won’t upend the web, either.

    1. Not nearly enough data. It depends on what the advertisers are willing to pay the publisher. The publisher has X costs plus profit. They have to be covered or no site.

  3. I don’t mind the amount of advertising. I too have used the ads to make purchases. I do take offense at the type of ads being presented. I get tired of being constantly bombarded with ads that insult my morality. This is a website to find out about current technology, not a place to find someone to cheat on ones spouse with or find out who has been arrested. I know MDN is not the Morality Police. WWJD

  4. Ad-blockers would be unnecessary if not for Mal-Advertising. I’ve had iOS Safari HiJacked her at MDN. To MDN’s credit they removed the offending advert when notified. Also high on the offending list are those %~!!•+>#})9″?,: Pop-up ads! Then there are the Flash based ads that cause problems loading. Last, just large quantities of ads on some sites that take lengthy time to load. The responsibility for Ad-blockers being used lies with the advertisers that do the above. Surfers, readers, web users are merely taking defensive action against aggressive, offending advertisers, that utilize Mal-Advertising, and offensive tactics. The hosting website must take responsibility to remove Mal-Advertising, and limit the number of ads to allow reasonable load times.

    If a website allows anything goes advertising philosophy, then Ad-blockers will be used. If there is a reasonable amount of appropriate, responsible advertising, Ad-blockers are not necessary. 🖖😀⌚️

  5. When people want to shop for something, they appreciate ads about those items or services. When people are engaged in an internet site content or engaged in a game, they are not going to stop for a useless intrusive ad. Advertisers get no revenue from the latter. When are they going to get it?

    1. That is true, but only 1 reason among several.

      Another: declining search results by Google (either deliberately or by semi-accidental, I find fewer valid results) OR search requests are more sophisticated and google cannot keep up. (I find the 2nd one less valid.).

    1. If it’s that important to you, do what I do to support MDN: click on some of the ads. You needn’t buy anything, of course, but there are some good deals to be had. Join Zulily and enjoy wholesale prices for one-of-a-kind Summer garments. And so on…There’s a big world of internet merchandisers who want to be your friend (but avoid the dating sites and the miracle cures).

  6. The ad networks have nobody to blame but themselves for having their market overturned. They do a really poor job of vetting ads. Ads should not have code in them supplied by the advertiser. There are far too many exploits that happen because some ad service allowed malware into their ad network. A friend of mine, who is not very tech savvy, fell for one of those scams where the ad site injects a pop up that tells you you have a virus and you must call Apple at a number. Except it’s of course not Apple; it’s a scammer waiting to let you let them into your computer so they can take it over an install their crapware and get your credit card info. This is illegal, yet ad services allow this company to advertise on their networks.

    The ad networks have to stop being #&%@ and take responsibility for vetting and cleaning up their ads or they will die along with a lot of independent websites as ad blocking becomes more popular.

  7. Interesting.. Apple has their own iAd sales and now is reported to openly support ad-blocking.. Seems somewhat a conflict of interest.. I would think the companies buying ads on Apples iAd now will think a little harder about buying ad space.

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