Apple’s iOS 9 ad blocking threatens Google’s lifeblood

“For iOS 9 Apple introduced a couple of new technologies related to its Safari web browser. The first is the ability of developers to write extensions for Safari that would be approved by Apple and distributed through the App Store,” Mark Hibben writes for Seeking Alpha. “The second is the ability to write a content blocking extension for Safari.”

An article in AppleInsider pointed out that web publishers stand to lose over $20 billion in advertising revenue this year, and almost double that in 2016, presumably due to the impact of iOS 9,” Hibben writes. “Marco Arment posted a blog piece predicting the demise of the web advertising business model: ‘Web publishers had things pretty nice for a while. Those days are over. It won’t be easy for many to move on, and not everyone will make it.'”

“The use of ad blockers will only accelerate a process that is already underway in Internet content delivery. This is a shift away from advertising supported content delivery (the general purpose web page, but also advertising supported video and music services), to subscription based content,” Hibben writes. “In the new subscription model, the general purpose web browser will tend to be less preferred as a means of access than custom created apps. Even though content delivery will still be Internet based, the user client will tend to be an app downloaded from an app store. This makes the accessing process more secure for the provider and will tend to reduce fraud and hacking.”

“If Apple’s iOS profitability is any indication, revenue and profits will be quickly drained out of the advertising supported tier of the Internet,” Hibben writes. “In the June quarter, Google made $3.6 billion (20% of total) in revenue from its Network category, which is mostly from partner sites’ display advertising. Losing a significant portion of this revenue could produce something most Google investors don’t anticipate: negative growth.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Somewhere there’s a happy medium in the land of free-to-visit websites, where the ads support the publishers’ operating costs (and even – gasp! – some profit) and actually work for the users (you find a good deal on an SSD drive, for example), yet don’t bombard the user with too many ads, etc. At MacDailyNews, we’re working diligently to get there (more info here) and we thank you for your support!

Hopefully, Apple’s tools can assist users in getting better experiences without harming their favorite sites and there is never anything even remotely close to the backlash a Jeffries analyst described in June “where certain sites are ‘not optimized for use with Safari.'”

(MacDailyNews is a independent website. We’re not owned by a large corporation. Without our advertisers, we wouldn’t be here. Even the act of allowing an ad to load – whitelisting – helps MacDailyNews continue to operate. As always, thank you so much for visiting and for your support! We really appreciate it!)

Apple News is fast, responsive, enjoyable, and it might become your only news app – July 15, 2015
Apple News shows that Apple wants to bolster and profit from ads, not eliminate them – July 10, 2015
How Apple’s mobile ad-blocker could backfire on the company and iPhone, iPad users – June 12, 2015
Hats off to Web advertising – no, really – July 6, 2015
Apple’s support of mobile ad blocking may upend how the web works – June 12, 2015
iOS 9 lets app developers make ad blockers for Safari – June 10, 2015


    1. Do not use profanity against Google. Why are you so angry with them? Is it because they are successful and you are jealous. Google is the best web in the world. They are awesome, generous, and also very kind. DO NOT wish death for them ok.

  1. Many of us do not object to ads, we actually get value from them by learning about products and services. What we object to is the business model of Google and others who spy on our every move to profile us and then sell our personal information to advertisers (and others?) for $Hundreds per year.

    Why not let us volunteer information about ourselves and our interests so that we can SELECT for ourselves what ads or ad groups we want to see?

    1. I don’t have a problem with ads. I have a problem with the type of ads so often displayed on websites. If a site promised the following, I might consider unblocking them:

      — No intrusive ads. That means no ads that move, no ads that play sound, no ads that play video. Just sit there motionless like the rest of the website and let me read it I want to.
      — No ads for transparently obvious scams. That means no “mom discovers amazing trick”, no teeth-whitening bullsh*t, no ads promising prizes.

      And that applies to ads delivered through third-parties. I don’t want to hear “We can’t control what our ad provider sends us!”

      You do that for me, I’ll consider whitelisting your site.


      1. I had recently white-listed MDN after reading their reasoning behind it. But after trying it for a couple weeks I couldn’t take it any more. It was the boobs; seriously, there were bazooms all over the place. I’m no spring chicken, but I ain’t dead yet, or gay. And when I see hot chicks, I have to fight to keep from clicking. Sorry MDN, but I just had to bail. Forgive me for my weakness.

    1. I have to agree with this. I started reading this article on my iPad mini 1st generation (it’s currently restarting) and I’m finishing it on my Mac. I guess that no one ever bothered at MDN to test their website on *ALL* supported iOS devices, including the iPad mini 1st generation. When read from Flipboard, it’s absolutely horrible. An entire page can easily take 30 seconds to load and put in place (on a company’s LAN, not a shitty phone line). When I initially tried to type my comment on my iPad mini, it was unbearable. I would tap the text field, the keyboard would appear and then would disappear! Over and over and over, for over 10 minutes!

      I like MDN but, seriously, it’s the worst website I’ve been visiting so far, as far as ads and design are concerned.

  2. The worst thing about internet ads are that some of them them are resource hungry and burden the battery, and the hardware. Seriously, why should I upgrade my hardware and shorten my battery life so you can throw content my way that I did not invite or want?

  3. I don’t mind ads — I used to work in the ad business — but I DO mind the tracking by Google and others. If I search for a mattress one day, my web browsing for the next three weeks will be dominated by mattress ads.

    I understand this is now the Standard Operating Procedure for websites, but I find it intrusive and a little creepy.

    1. That’s always been a head-scratcher for me why it hasn’t long been offered. The most Apple centric website has the least Apple like behavior when it comes to Ads.

      I am more likely to pay an annual (not automatically recurring) fee for ad-free content than I am to whitelist on an ad blocker. I try to surf MDN without an ad blocker as much as I can stand it, but especially when on mobile devices the page load performance just sucks, so block I do, sadly. Also agree with LordRobin above about most of the obtrusiveness of ads that is also a sore spot.

      MDN…can you please address the repeated question of why you haven’t made available the option to purchase an ad-free experience? I truly want to support you, but you don’t always make it easy to do so. There’s no seamlessness here.

  4. What I don’t like is seeing follow up ads (here on MDN of all places!) to things I’ve been looking at or researching elsewhere. I don’t need that kind of annoying “help” or encouragement to buy. I probably don’t have something turned off to prevent this…

  5. I wouldn’t want to block ads if the people who run the websites (MDN very much included) didn’t pack in so many ads that it distracts from the content. MDN is the worst out of all of them. The site looks ugly and almost unreadable with all of the ads taking up more space than the content. Put up relevant ads that don’t distract from the content, and I will happily stop blocking ads. I often click on ads that interest me. Most don’t.

  6. It may be hard to remember, some of your readers may not have been born yet, but when the internet was born, there were no ads because, well, there wasn’t much of an audience. Most of us web pioneers were just thinking of how great it was that we were working on a technology that promised to make information accessible and free, like wikipedia or gutenberg have done, without advertising.
    Our biggest concern at the time, around 1993, was how were we ever going to make any money doing it?
    At first, it was straight push. Problem was, not many people had internet, and if they did, the speeds were somewhat appalling. We had to keep our content to a minimum, text and a few GIFs and the pipe was full. Another problem, how do you let people know you’re on the internet? Believe it or not, at one time you could list all the sites on the entire internet on one not-too-lengthy page, and people did, for a while, but it became unwieldy quickly. You could build a webcrawler to do this and automate the process, forming a kind of “White Pages” – ask your grandparents what that means if you don’t know. Soon, as AOL and others got on board, they began to offer web searches. Alta Vista was originally set up by Digital Equipment Corp in 1995 to provide a “search engine”.

    Amusing nerd callout – here’s their own description of the “massive” task at hand: “Alta Vista is a very large project, requiring the cooperation of at least 5 servers”

    Yahoo eventually bought them out and replaced the original engine. Google began as benignly as Alta Vista, but they were struggling with the same issue as most internet startups – how to monetize. Their solution – ad tracking and distribution. The per-impression model from print magazines was imposed on advertisers. Ads were seeded from Google based on your web history, and tracked so hosts could get paid for views and clicks and receive some demographic info as well.
    It all seemed so new and exciting, and was kind of useful to advertisers and website owners, but not that useful to users. Some sites stayed with the magazine model, soliciting specific advertisers for their own demographic, e.g. travel planning sites would hit up airlines, hotels, etc, and run those ads on their sites. Some companies still do this. But how does a little special-interest site, like MDN, attract the kind of numbers that advertisers want to see? Thay can’t, hence Google. Google would allow small sites to run adboxes whose content was delivered based on demographic, or at times, seemingly random criteria. There just wasn’t enough of a base yet, but it was coming, slowly but surely internet traffic and volume were increasing in leaps and bounds.
    This increase made it harder and harder to find what you were looking for, and hard to be heard if you were a web publisher. Search a common term and you would get thousands of unranked hits. Lucky if you found what you were looking for by 1998.
    This is when things began to go sideways – the introduction of SEO – Search Engine Optimization. If you followed the hints given by search engine providers you could bubble your result closer to the top of the pond. As Google matured and extended their techniques, they began to dominate the search engine space. Of course, we could fool the search engines in many ways, and each method would cause Google and the others to up their game, causing the SEO-spoofers to come up with new ways to cheat the system, poison the pool, etc. This game is still being played as I write this.
    As Google began to dominate, they also found they could build and sell their “profiles” to advertisers who could also pay to circumvent the whole SEO problem.
    In the beginning, search engines were invaluable tools, and many still are – DuckDuckGo is a good example. Google has morphed into the do-no-evil empire – some kind of Orwellian newspeak there – and I’d have to say in retrospect, changed the whole internet experience for the worse.
    Sure, you can find things, but pointless, semi-targeted ads with little respect for the reader plague the experience.
    Unfortunately, small publishers with big dreams are taken in by the whole Google and AdWords carrot – money for nothing. The static advertiser is a hard sell these days, you need lots of steady traffic to be able to sell to those advertisers. It’s just easier, and maybe lazier, to use Google to supply you with ads you will get paid minuscule amounts for, if ever.
    Then there’s the whole issue of using our bandwidth to advertise to us – we are in effect paying for the delivery of these ads, the delivery mechanism is far from benign. And the security issue – what is being delivered and what will happen when you click? And finally, the privacy issue. We’re assured that we’re as anonymous as possible, but anyone with an inkling of how data analysis works these days, knows this just isn’t so and can and will be used against you in a court of law.
    We’ve come a long way in such a short time that no sober second thought has been allowed. If Apple, and others, begin to block these tactics, we will be returning to the early days to revisit those questions we had then – how do we make money doing this? Hopefully, with the history behind us, we will make the internet a better place. If this kills Google’s business, so be it, business is more ruthless than nature when it comes to survival of the fittest.
    I for one, look forward to putting this behind me.


    1. Great post 👏👏👏 I first met the internet in 1983 when I was working for a telco and it was exactly as you wrote. It was unbelievably exciting to be able to jump from computer to computer all over the world. Thanks for the history lesson.

      1. I think you meant 1993, right? Back then, the web was only a small part of the Internet, there was Gopher, newsgroups and list serve and all manner of Internet protocols, but it was http that emerged as the dominant vehicle people jumped on.

        I didn’t discuss the whole subscription-based model some are already using and being discussed here. Nor did I mention just how hard it was to get secure online payment systems approved and working, and how slow the uptake was once it got going. This was a big factor in shaping the early practices. People could not easily pay a subscription so that model wasn’t immediately available.
        It was amusing to watch print publications, especially newspapers, try to adapt to the early Internet. Some simply mirrored their print content online, perhaps delayed or partial articles only, but didn’t charge or couldn’t figure out how to charge. This nearly killed their print distribution, they quickly adjusted a la New York Times, so they are a good example of subscription-based systems that work.
        Interesting problem arose – could the audited print ads be re-used on the web? As it turned out in most cases, they could not, so your subscription bought you the equivalent of the magazine or newspaper with the added bonus of being ad-free.
        Can’t wait to see how this adjustment will be made…

        Thanks for the compliment!


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