Apple's iOS ad-blocking is a net, not a gun

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Counterpoint: to say advertising and social networking aren’t in Apple’s DNA is an understatement. It has serially failed at both of these things multiple times. From our perspective, Facebook is the immediate, real problem.

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I personally see this as the best thing Apple has done in a while.


until boing boing remembers that it’s reliant on ad revenue

Yeah, but recently even Boing Boing has lowered their standards. The native ads are pretty despicable.

Generally though, I think this will be a good thing. Apple is going to force publishers to demand better from their partners. Page sizes today are getting pretty ridiculous and the CPU load kills battery life on mobile devices.

How is this worse than content blocking in desktop browsers? Or to put it another way, if content blocking in desktop browsers is OK, why shouldn’t it be OK in smartphone browsers?


Less corporate control over desktops, lower prevalence of walled gardens, more freedom of the users to do whatever they please without begging for approval?


Worse? I think it’s the other way around.

Desktop machines typically (but not always) have more available power and bandwidth. Mobile connections often have a low data cap and battery limitations.

Mobile blockers are probably more concerning to publishers simply because that’s becoming the dominant browsing platform.

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I think this is part of a pretty smart move by Apple to distinguish themselves from Google. Apple makes their money by selling hardware and services to their users. The Google model is “We are free!” which means their users are actually their product. With users becoming more aware of the hazards of the loss of privacy and how their data can be monetized this distinction is real. This is the market at work.

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Spending more for an Apple product doesn’t make web sites like Boing Boing free. It still has to be paid for somehow.


To all the publications proclaiming how ad blocking on IOS is a bad thing, or how Apple is threatening their existence by doing this:

Tough. Cookies.

You made the decision to base your revenue model on ads that you did not have any say over. No print publication in the history of the world has ever been so stupid. You allowed the ad companies to shit all over your site, destroy your readers’ enjoyment of your publication, and make you the servant of the advertisers instead of the other way round.

Now you get to lie in it. And you’re crying about how awful and unfair it is, and how stinky the shit is when it grinds into your nice suits. And we are enjoying the sweet, sweet schadenfreude.


The problem is not advertising, but rather obtrusive pop ups, and JavaScript tracking, and flashy banners that are often crude and offensive.

Apple is blocking these things, which are only a subset of ads.

There are plenty of ways to advertise that get through these blocks; for example Daring Fireball has basically paid commercials in the RSS feed. Sometimes they are a commentary from John Gruber saying “I’ve used this, you should too,” or sometimes it is just a direct message from the advertiser addressing the reader directly.

The BoingBoing Store is probably another stab at this, too. Same thing with advertorials.

My point is that there are ways to get around this. I buy tons of stuff as a result of things I read on the net, and nothing from banner ads. How can publishers move away from the robot automata, and cultivate a more curatorial relationship with advertisers?


I don’t use ad-blocking software here. I always come in through the front door. A lot of people do block ads and that is probably why we are seeing more and more “sponsored content.”

The ads did become bloated and slowed things down a lot for awhile. Safari now has a feature that stops Flash from auto-starting. It helps. This move is all about the users retrieving control. Ads have become a nuisance and a hazard. And what do you know, served by Google.


Before I got my ipad I thought it would be a good way to replace my laptop. But having found the walled garden to make some things impossible, I’m now looking it only as a subset of the internet. What I’m really afraid of is when macbooks start becoming walled gardens too. That might bring me back to Windows or whatever the current underdog ends up being.


Don’t forget that advertising channels are a major attack vector for malware and virus distributors. I’ve even seen malware served up on ads from free antivirus websites.

I just can’t feel bad for people who complain that the world does not fit their business model. Adapt or perish.


The question is whether the intent(and regardless of intent, the result) will be less dreadful advertising, or more ‘mobile’ players attempting to go as close to app-only as they can get away with. Apps are at least a pernicious, in terms of their capabilities, frequently more so; with the added delights of being platform specific and usually breaking any semblance of coherent browser UI conventions in an attempt to pretend that they aren’t just a thin candy shell around the same rendering engine as the browser.

I don’t get the obsession with tracking. When you look at what is consuming so many resources, often it’s javascript trackers that have nothing to do with the content of the page. I’d love to see a study that compared the effectiveness of ads driven by tracking vs traditional ads. I wonder if the cost is worth it. Why not just serve up ads and give up on tracking. It would be much faster and less expensive. People magazine and the local tv stations are surviving on ads, why can’t websites?

For 15 years now, I’ve been hearing about how targeted ads will deliver ads that are relevant and useful. I’m still waiting to see this happen. I mostly see ads for stuff I’ve purchased recently.

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I saw that once, with a google search result ad that I actually clicked. It was when I was looking for ultraviolet LEDs, as close to 200 nm as they could get.

…I didn’t buy. They were nauseatingly expensive and still are. AlN deep-UV is useful for germicidal applications and photocuring, so the prices are falling, but not as fast as I would like, so cannot afford yet.

Google has also gone out of its way to keep Adblockers and other extensions out of mobile Chrome.

Seriously, if you don’t want ads on your phone’s default browser, you need to 1) disable “trusted installs only”, 2) find the apk on a webpage, 3) install it, ignoring the warnings that pop up, 4) set the fuckng app to be a proxy for all of your internet traffic.

Thank goodness for mobile Firefox!


Serve me all the ads you want. But expect me to execute whatever code comes down the pike? That’s a whole lotta nope.