“Less than a day after the launch of iOS 9, Apple’s latest operating system, content blocking software is at the top of the app charts worldwide,” Alex Alex Herns for The Guardian. “In the UK, two content blockers have hit the top 20 paid apps, with Purify at number 11 and Peace at number 12. In the US, the take-up has been even starker: Purify is at number 5 in the charts, and Peace is the top paid app in the whole country.”
“The rise of adblocking has proved concerning for web publishers, many of whom rely largely or exclusively on display advertising for revenue,” Hern reports. “Publishers argue that blocking display ads hurts their business, and is unethical because it allows users to view content without paying the implied price of an ad impression.”
“The developer of Peace is Marco Arment, a high profile iOS developer known for being the first employee of Tumblr, as well as his previous apps Instapaper and Overcast,” Hern reports. “Arment has expressed his hope that blocking bad ads will lead to publishers being forced to adopt ‘better monetisation methods,’ from selling adverts directly (and so cutting out the data-collecting middlemen) to collecting direct payments from readers. To that effect, Peace offers the ability to ‘whitelist’ sites easily from the share menu in Safari, if a user wants to support a specific publisher.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Marco Arment has since pulled Peace from the App Store writing:
I’ve pulled Peace from the App Store. I’m sorry to all of my fans and customers who bought this on my name, expecting it to be supported for longer than two days. It’ll keep working for a long time if you already have it, but with no updates.
If you want a refund, here’s how you do that.
As I write this, Peace has been the number one paid app in the U.S. App Store for about 36 hours. It’s a massive achievement that should be the highlight of my professional career. If Overcast even broke the top 100, I’d be over the moon.
Achieving this much success with Peace just doesn’t feel good, which I didn’t anticipate, but probably should have. 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.
Peace required that all ads be treated the same — all-or-nothing enforcement for decisions that aren’t black and white. This approach is too blunt, and Ghostery and I have both decided that it doesn’t serve our goals or beliefs well enough. If we’re going to effect positive change overall, a more nuanced, complex approach is required than what I can bring in a simple iOS app.
I still believe that ad blockers are necessary today, and I still think Ghostery is the best one, but I’ve learned over the last few crazy days that I don’t feel good making one and being the arbiter of what’s blocked.
Ad-blocking is a kind of war — a first-world, low-stakes, both-sides-are-fortunate-to-have-this-kind-of-problem war, but a war nonetheless, with damage hitting both sides. I see war in the Tao Te Ching sense: it should be avoided when possible; when that isn’t possible, war should be entered solemnly, not celebrated.
Even though I’m “winning”, I’ve enjoyed none of it. That’s why I’m withdrawing from the market.
It’s simply not worth it. I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to turn away an opportunity like this, and I don’t begrudge anyone else who wants to try it. I’m just not built for this business.
I suggest you use Ghostery on the desktop and one of these competitors on iOS instead, both of which are good apps that were probably about to surpass Peace anyway:
And again, if you want a refund on Peace, here’s how to get it.
I know pulling Peace from the store after just two days is going to be an immensely unpopular move, and subject me to a torrent of unpleasantness. But that’ll end soon enough, and that’s better than how I’d feel if I kept going.
Last night, in an effort to improve my morale, I did some low-level technical work on Overcast, which I greatly enjoy. It was a breath of fresh air: rather than a tricky business of messy distinctions and low technical challenge, I got to engage the technical part of my brain and make something great that doesn’t hurt anyone, with no asterisks or qualifications.
That’s my peace.
Currently, the Top Paid iPhone Apps include the following content blockers:
Tell us which one you like best!
And, of course, as always, thanks for whitelisting us!
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