Developer pulls leading ad-blocking app from Apple Store

19 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Just doesn’t feel good’: Developer pulls leading ad-blocking app from Apple’s App Store.

Many of the features found in the iOS may have been around for a while in other mobile devices, while some of them will not even be available to Indian iOS users for some time to come. •Apple claims moving to iOS 9 will bring up to one hour of additional time before the next charge, a smaller update file size and better optimization of the CPU and GPU for smoother overall system response. Marco Arment, who developed the most popular paid ad-blocker on Apple’s Australian app store, has pulled the product, citing concerns that the tool could hurt independent web publishers.

Yes, it’s the time of the year again, when Apple users are busy downloading the new mobile OS and there are now bound to be obvious comparisons with its predecessor – the iOS 8. In a blog post published on Saturday titled “Just doesn’t feel good”, Arment, of New York, wrote that he was pulling his “Peace” app because he didn’t feel that it was his role to decide what content is blocked. “Adblockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a tonne of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve the hit,” wrote Arment, who co-founded microblogging website Tumblr and the “read later” Instapaper app. But unless you work in media or tech, the brewing battle royal between ad-blockers and publishers (and the ad industry) may seem like a parochial spat. The new OS – available as a free update for device generations starting with the Phone 4S and the iPad 2 – is said to be all about stability, fewer bugs and battery problems.

It’s a complete reversal to previous blog posts he’s written, including a recent one titled “the ethics of modern web ad-blocking”, in which he justified ad blockers as a good idea by saying ads made the user experience terrible and that users never consented to being served ads and being tracked online. Just two days after Apple enabled ad-blocking apps through its new mobile operating system, iOS 9, users are embracing the new technology after long complaining that the ads track them, slow down web browsers and are just plain annoying. Companies including giants such as Google and Facebook, as well as start-ups and media organisations, offer their services free – if users tacitly agree to view targeted ads based on their online habits. “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. Yet some web publishers are now fretting that ads on their sites can’t be viewed because of the blockers, which could threaten these publishers’ livelihoods. Can publishers and advertisers learn to devise ads that people don’t mind, even enjoy? (We think Quartz’s ads show they can.) Or will ad-blocking become so widespread that the ad-based business model that sustains so many websites collapses?

I’m just not built for this business.” Online advertising is part of the fundamental trade-off that powers much of the Web: Almost everything users do online is tracked by advertisers who fund the “free” services consumers have come to expect: email, social networks and access to online news. Arment’s $3.79 ad-blocking app, Peace, reached No. 1 in 12 countries’ paid app stores over the past two days, according to app analytics firm App Annie. Apptopia, a company that tracks app store downloads and revenue, told Fairfax Media the Peace app generated $US113,521 ($157,865) in gross proceeds in the 36 hours it was live. You will now notice a portal on the left side of the homescreen where Apple’s Siri predicts what apps, people or other points of inetrest you may want to head to next.

Ad-blocking tools are designed to help web pages load much faster by stripping out so-called scripts that are used to serve the ads and trackers that are used by web publishers to count how many times a particular article is read, among other information. Another little innovation from Apple this week, Apple News—which collects articles from a wide range of publishers into one app—poses a similar but different problem for publishers: Should they let themselves depend on huge platforms like Apple and Facebook, whose whims and algorithms change like the seasons, to get audiences? However, it still isn’t quite there at getting things done efficiently, say the reviews. “Siri’s new home screen is now my first stop, but it still feels half-baked compared with Google Now. However, many argue that such tools hurt publishers, particularly smaller ones, by forcing them to develop dedicated iPhone apps, rather than relying on mobile-friendly websites. But the number of people installing ad blockers has increased with the arrival of blockers on mobile devices because so much computing has now moved to those devices.

And a wave of “malvertising” attacks have used legitimate advertising exchanges to deliver malware to people visiting even some of the most trusted websites. Some have even suggested that using such apps amounts to theft that will all but destroy the web as we know it. “Ad blocking hurts publishers, prevents businesses from communicating and competing, reduces the diversity of voices in digital media, and hinders consumers from obtaining important information about products, services, even politics and culture,” wrote Randall Rothenberg, president and chief executive officer of the US Interactive Advertising Bureau, in an emailed statement. “All it does is empower the biggest companies, which are the only ones that can afford to end-run the roadblocks and toll gates.” Technology news website The Verge called Apple’s move to enable content blockers “the slow death of the web”, with editor-in-chief Nilay Patel saying “it is going to be a bloodbath of independent media”. “Who’s going to make all that content we love so much, and what will it look like if it only makes money on proprietary platforms?” he asked, referring to Apple News, which doesn’t allow ad blocking. “These are the questions worth asking — and they deserve better answers than simply ‘they’ll adapt’. At Quartz, at least, we take the view that the only way to for quality journalism to survive is to publish on as many platforms as possible, and take none for granted. This is largely because Google’s strategy requires accumulating a great deal of our personal data, something that Apple frowns upon,” writes The Wall Street Journal‘s Joanna Stern.

Ad blockers can mitigate these problems, but they also turn users into freeloaders – getting goods without “paying” for them with their attention, personal data and, ultimately, ad clicks. “The ’implied contract’ theory that we’ve agreed to view ads in exchange for free content is void because we can’t review the terms first – as soon as we follow a link, our browsers load, execute, transfer, and track everything embedded by the publisher,” he wrote. About 16 percent of those who use the Internet in the United States, or 45 million people, have already installed an ad blocker, up 48 percent over the last 12 months, said Sean Blanchfield, who runs PageFair, an Irish start-up that tracks ad blocking. Death.” Some 20 million people used ad blockers last year, up 40 per cent from a year earlier, resulting in $US22 billion ($30.5b) in lost advertising revenue, according to a study by Adobe and PageFair, an anti ad-blocking tech company. When Fairfax Media tested Peace on Friday, we found it worked well the majority of time in blocking ads and tracking software while also speeding up the time it took to load webpages.

In the mornings it will suggest where you can eat breakfast or simply suggest it’s time to access Twitter, or another activity. “Now your phone constantly learns what you want to do and suggests it to you at the exact moment you need it — sometimes the suggestions are so on point that it’s creepy, but it’s more useful than having to search for an app. The Washington Post recently experimented with ways to discourage the use of blockers, redirecting some online readers who installed the programme to a Web page urging them to subscribe. She scouts “dark web” marketplaces, talks to dealers, and concludes that digitizing the drug trade makes it—or at least some parts of it—safer and more economically efficient.

Why block that?” Michael Macher, publisher of the online publication The Awl, said in a story that ran on his site that 75 to 85 percent of the site’s revenue could be blocked by ad blockers. “This will be hard on small publishers,” said David Jacobs, chief executive of 29th Street Publishing, which helps publishers create apps. “There are definitely some small publishers out there that make 50 percent to 75 percent of their revenue from ads, and they have margins of about 10 percent.” He added that some “publishers will really need another way to make money” and that readers should think about what’s happening and how they get a lot of content free. “I think that people have also underestimated how much has to change between the reader and publishers,” he said. The OS also provides detailed information about how your apps are eating away away your battery life. “In our grueling, far-from-typical battery test, which cycles through a series of websites with brightness set to 65%, the iPhone 6 with iOS 9 lasted 40 extra minutes. Matt Phillips explains why the Fed would have been deeply nuts (yes, his words) to do so, and why, when it eventually does, it will be undertaking what one analyst called “the largest monetary policy experiment in human history.” The most crucial item for refugees braving the Mediterranean crossing to reach Europe is… A smartphone, explains Hanna Kozlowska. “Even more important than food,” as one refugee said. While many ad-blocking apps are now basically cudgels that obstruct all ads, he said he expected there would later be “customizable, free ad blockers with a feature that offers a whitelist for some ads.” Whitelists are a list of approved ads that could get past the blocker. Evernote users should like this update as it is much snappier and better designed than Evernote’s app,” adds Techcrunch‘s Romain Dillet. “PiP will engage automatically when you leave an app.

It’s the brainchild of a Nigerian architect, Kunlè Adeyemi, who has a vision of turning entire communities, now precariously balanced on the water’s edge, into fully-fledged, water-based urban developments, as Sibusiso Tshabalala explains on Quartz Africa. There’s better security for apps connecting to the internet too. “Many of iOS 9’s improvements help you do things faster, from Proactive Assistance to the back button that appears when you click on a link.

Mark Warren in Esquire profiles the New York Times reporter who, after 15 years as a Marine and 14 years covering war, abruptly decided to walk away from a life of, as he described it, “studying organized violence and combatants,” when he discovered the one thing that mattered to him more. As iOS 9 supports the same devices as iOS 8, if you’re running iOS 8, there’s no reason to stay on iOS 8 — iOS 9 is a solid update,” Dillet concludes. “The worst thing we can say about the new release is that its biggest, best new contributions—the things that make the iPad feel more like its own device and less like a big iPhone—are only available to a sliver of existing devices. Apple is betting that we’ll want smarter devices that not only provide information when we ask for it, but serve it up before we even know what we’re looking for,” concludes TheVerge.

But his deeply personal account in the New Republic is a thoughtful reflection on our obsessions with self-image and the technology of self-improvement. Julie Beck in the Atlantic dissects how the belief that vaccines cause autism, despite being entirely unfounded, has leapt across the political divide. The New Yorker’s Rebecca Mead lifted the heavily beaded veil on Dolce and Gabbana’s unapologetically hedonistic four-day couture extravaganza on the Mediterranean, where the label’s richest superfans indulge in the pleasures of alta moda, and begins to answer the question: Who buys this stuff?

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