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The adblocking revolution is months away (theoverspill.wordpress.com)
253 points by r0h1n on July 30, 2015 | hide | past | favorite | 350 comments

The overall article is of good quality but it reeks of Apple bias I personally find distasteful.

>>> User experience is what Apple puts above pretty much everything else, and they’ve decided that they don’t like it the experience available through the ad-supported web, and so they’re going to do something about it.

The reason Apple does this is to push content creators away from the Web and into native apps. Apple gets a cut on any money made from apps but not from Web ads. It's a strategic move that's not fueled by wanting better UX for users. I'll bet Apple won't consider "Install from Apple Store" type messages as ads.

>>>That also plays into Apple’s other general message, about how it doesn’t track what you do when you’re using its products

Bullshit. They have their own advertising network they want to push. That's the whole reason they're allowing Web ads to be blocked. So you'll see more of iAds. Nothing to do about "caring for your privacy".

> I'll bet Apple won't consider "Install from Apple Store" type messages as ads.

Apple won't consider anything as ads. What they provided was the hooks for developers to implement "Content Blocking Safari Extensions" [1]. To quote the docs:

"Your app extension is responsible for supplying a JSON file to Safari. The JSON consists of an array of rules (triggers and actions) for blocking specified content. Safari converts the JSON to bytecode, which it applies efficiently to all resource loads without leaking information about the user’s browsing back to the app extension."

There will be competing AdBlocking extensions just like on Firefox, for instance. It will be up to the developers to create the rules of what should be blocked and what should be allowed.

[1] https://developer.apple.com/library/prerelease/ios/releaseno...

Apple provides hooks so that a web page can display an official, system supported "there is an app for this web site, tap here to download it" banner. I will bet $5 that Apple does not provide a way to block those.

Regardless of whether they are ads or not, they

  a) do not track you
  b) do not take up disproportionate amount of network bandwidth and CPU/battery
  c) do not interrupt your viewing after the initial scroll down
which is why I personally would be fine with not blocking those. That being said, I can understand why others might be annoyed by these 'reminders' and want to block them.

His point wasn't that they are ads, it's that they will still be allowed so that users can be funneled into native apps, where there will still be ads. Since they can't make ad impressions on iOS users, maybe some of those sites will start offering a limited experience to iOS web users, inclining them to click that popup and install the app, where they will see ads that make Apple money.

But is that really an ad? If I go to CNN, and CNN tells me I can use the same site in a native app, I'm not sure that quite counts. Now if CNN carries (for a fee) a download link for an app for something different, a brokerage house, or Ford, or something, now that would be interesting to see if they block it.

My guess is that they would initially, then relax the blocking. Seems to be the preferred way to manipulate the populace these days (unless you have fear as a tool- fear is way better).

Why wouldn't it be an ad? They didn't spend a bunch of money developing a native app for no reason. They did it because it provides some sort of advantage for them. One advantage is that it lets them get on your home screen rather than just being another web site you visit, which probably increases the chances that you'll return.

You might disagree, which is fine. Whether something is an "ad" is somewhat in the eye of the beholder. Which is why this stuff ought to be configurable.

I did a few minutes of research into this. The app banners are triggered by a meta tag, so there won't be a way to block those.

Of course not. Apple wants to add support for blocking ads on mobile web to encourage companies to write native apps that can contain unblockable ads. That way Apple gets more content on its platform and potentially a piece of the ad revenue with iAd.

That's too simple. Apple (and others) have relentlessly tried to optimize power saving. People like phones with a good battery time, plus I assume that there can be significant cost saving if you can use smaller capacity batteries.

They have probably come to a point where a significant amount of power use during mobile browsing is caused by ads (both rendering and the extra network use that it incurs). Blocking ads could be a welcome power saver.

Another HN front page story compares Power usage of the worlds most popular websites calculated on different browsers: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9974615

While the article isn't about mobile versions of these browsers, it speaks both to the importance of this issue as well adds to the debate about whether "User experience is what Apple puts above pretty much everything else."

Power usage is interesting. I wonder if there's a case where an ad script consumes more $ in electricity per view than it generates in $ for the advertiser.

I would venture to say that the relentless push to move as much as possible to the client has much more impact on battery life than the handful of ads we typically see.

What do you base this on?

Every measurement (not many) I've seen suggest that screen (size/resolution) and network are the main culprits, outside of very intense CPU/GPU client (e.g. games). I don't think I've seen a really good analysis, though, so would be interested if you've got a reference.

number one killer of my battery with last 2 phones? Wifi enabled. Doesn't matter that much if actually used. Turn it off completely, phone lasts 2-3x more.

Without wifi it might make the phone kind of useless, especially if you are using it outside of your home country.

Definitely. A modern octa-core Exynos shouldn't be chugging along to render a blog post. It's absurd.

No matter how many cores are in your phone, web browsing will always be able to use only a single thread. JS is inherently multi-threaded, the only thing that could use multiple threads is the IndexedDB bullcrap (which ain't properly supported by iOS anyway), and background loading of async resources (which is network constrained on mobile, so MT doesn't help).

This is totally untrue. Layout can run off the main thread if engineered properly. Painting and compositing already do in some browsers. Layout, painting, and compositing are inherently parallel problems, so any one of these tasks can saturate all your cores if done carefully. Iframe JS can run in multiple threads if engineered right.

While this pay be true, at some point profit trumps UX.

Look at how the iPod+iTunes morphed as soon as Apple realized how much money could be generated by adding DRM and a store.

Come on, Apple didn't want DRM, labels insisted on it.


>> Come on, Apple didn't want DRM, labels insisted on it.


> The third alternative is to abolish DRMs entirely. Imagine a world where every online store sells DRM-free music encoded in open licensable formats. In such a world, any player can play music purchased from any store, and any store can sell music which is playable on all players. This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat. If the big four music companies would license Apple their music without the requirement that it be protected with a DRM, we would switch to selling only DRM-free music on our iTunes store. Every iPod ever made will play this DRM-free music.

"Thoughts on Music" | Steve Jobs | February 6, 2007


And I've got a bridge in Alaska to sell you. Taking Jobs 100% at his word (i.e. Apple was dedicated to DRM-free music, was in continual negotiation with the labels to strip it, and was contractually obligated to continue to use it despite their reluctance), here's how the timeline ultimately turned out:

* October 23, 2001 - First iPod introduced

* April 28, 2003 - iTunes Store w/ Fairplay introduced

* February 6, 2007 - Job's "Thoughts on Music" letter

* April 2, 2007 - EMI agrees to sell iTunes catalog DRM free (initially for slightly higher price)

* ~ August, 2007(?) - Universal sells DRM-free tracks on iTunes Store competitors

* January-April 2009 - Apple completely(?) removes Fairplay from all iTunes Store tracks

Now, you can dig up a few different charts concerning Apple's iTunes music sales. Presumably, they're all compiled from SEC filings, so they track fairly closely. Let's use these two: http://www.asymco.com/2014/02/10/fortune-130/ or https://musicindustryblog.wordpress.com/tag/app-store/ (both offer absolute sales, not % breakdown)

The most notable thing to me is that around mid-'07 to '09, you start to see music sales no longer experiencing the same growth. Incidentally, app and video sales begin in approximately the same period and fill in to maintain total growth -- no one ever accused Apple of being stupid. Point being, by the time Apple removed DRM (and debatable in terms of Jobs' letter's timing depending on how their higher-fidelity internal numbers were looking), music was on the decline.

End result: Apple had 4 years of first mover advantage, then did away with DRM at a time when music sales were no longer experiencing growth.

Are savvy business / PR decisions and coincidence from an altruistic Apple both explanations for the above? Yes. Do I personally believe Apple was pushing tooth and nail to undermine a key business strength of their platform the entire time? No.

(Feel free to correct my timeline or numbers if I'm off on something. This isn't exhaustively researched!)

I'm not sure what you think this timeline says but it absolutely doesn't say that doing away with DRM on ITMS was something Apple resisted.

Then we can agree to disagree on our interpretations of the facts. :)

Except your facts are incomplete[1] and you've mixed them in with straw men.[2]

[1] Your original claim ("as soon as Apple realized how much money could be generated by adding DRM") that Apple is the one that wanted DRM on music ignores the facts of (a) every other music store that opened at the time also had DRM and (b) the fairly common knowledge that Apple's money business was selling devices and that, in the time frame we're talking about ($0.99 songs), Apple made very little profit on music sales once you factor in the cuts to the label, artist, publisher, credit card fees and store costs (some discussion at http://ask.metafilter.com/23257/Show-me-their-money).

[2] No one said that Apple didn't want DRM for 'altruistic reasons' or that 'Apple fought tooth and nail to remove DRM', these are straw men you injected. I just made the obvious claim that DRM was a label requirement. Apple would have loved to give away the music for free, they would have sold a lot more ipods. Why would Steve Jobs write a letter about DRM at all if Apple secretly wanted to keep DRM?

[1] You don't believe that there's a direct correlation between (I buy an iPod) -> (I buy even a fraction of my music that only plays on iPods) -> (I'm more likely to buy another iPod in the future)? I figured that business strategy was pretty self-evident when I said "first mover advantage," so didn't explicitly spell it out.

[2] "Apple would have loved to give away the music for free, they would have sold a lot more ipods." This is where we disagree. I believe that they would have sold fewer iPods, as the incentives for purchasing another iPod over the an alternative player in [1] would no longer be present.

Per that belief, I consider the statements "Apple didn't want DRM for altruistic reasons" and "Apple would have loved to give away the music for free, they would have sold a lot more ipods" to be equivalent. If you don't accept the premise that Fairplay was vendor lock-in (as both Realplayer and a few lawsuits alleged), then obviously that wouldn't be altruism.

"Apple fought tooth and nail to remove DRM" is a question of motive and effort. The fact is they eventually did away with DRM because the market dictated it. The question is whether they did away with it (a) as soon as possible, (b) purely as a market response, or (c) as late as possible.

The statement that "Apple didn't want DRM, the labels insisted on it" is largely irrelevant. What matters is whether they made financial gain from employing DRM, and, if so, whether that impacted their timeline and dedication to removing it.

"Why would Steve Jobs write a letter about DRM at all if Apple secretly wanted to keep DRM?" That's where I thought the timeline was interesting. To me, it wasn't that Steve Jobs wrote a letter about DRM, it's that Steve Jobs wrote a letter about DRM after the growth portion of music sales was finished.

*Again, if you don't feel Apple benefited financially from the vendor lock-in provided by Fairplay, all of this is a moot point as we're going to arrive at radically different conclusions anyway.

So iTunes sales slowed down when music streaming started to get traction. Apple did away with DRM when the majority of the record companies agreed to. I don't doubt for a second that Universal might have sold music without DRM elsewhere, why denying iTunes the same. The record industry were always afraid of the monopoly situation iTunes was becoming.

Honestly, aren't your comments as much an example of Apple bias as what you're commenting on, but with the sign reversed?

If you look at moves made by Apple in the iPhone era it becomes quite clear and does not require bias.

- Ban flash. Biggest competition to native apps.

- Cripple the iOS web browser just enough that web apps trying to have native style performance will struggle.

- Release their own map to push Google out of their ecosystem. When that didn't work now they are trying this.

Apple's business model is pretty simple. Aquire a user through very aggressive marketing converted into a device purchase. Use that device purchase a an entry point to take over all points of monetary action of that user. That means nothing(web, flash, credit card) should go through anything but them. You don't need bias to see something as obvious as this now is.

> Ban flash. Biggest competition to native apps

That's not why that happened. Flash wasn't "banned," Apple chose not to allow support for it in Mobile Safari from the beginning. It was never removed or banned.

Flash was a dog. Power hungry, slow, inefficient. I recently had to touch the codebase for an Adobe Air iOS app and the runtime is pretty horrific. Adobe never got flash good enough for mobile, and Apple was right to call them out on it.

Flash was never any good on Android either. Otherwise it'd still be around.

> Cripple the iOS web browser just enough that web apps trying to have native style performance will struggle.

Mobile Safari is a good browser. It's fast and is not crippled. It consistently beats browsers on other mobile platforms despite running on often slower hardware. A great mobile web browser is what made the iPhone a great product.

> Release their own map to push Google out of their ecosystem. When that didn't work now they are trying this.

This is because Apple's contract with Google expired and they had to renew on terms that they could not agree to. My recollection of this is that Google wanted a bigger branding presence on the iOS home screen and refused to license mapping data for turn-by-turn navigation (I believe they wanted the Apple-developed Google Maps application to be branded "Google Maps" rather than just "Maps"). Apple saw no way out aside from investing in their own mapping data and infrastructure.

Flash was not slow, it's just that flash ads were ahead of their time in abusing the system's resources. The supposed slowness of flash relative to browser api's was a myth, although flash content was bloated, in much the same way that modern web pages are bloated. When flash was killed by Jobs I knew it was just a matter of time until people did the same bad things with JavaScript and CSS as they did with flash, and lo it came to pass.

As much as I didn't like installing Adobe's plugin, I have to defend Flash. JavaScript is just recently getting to the speed Flash had years ago. Flash probably still does vector animations better [citation unavailable].

> and lo it came to pass. Yes! Ha!

Flash was slow on mobile. Adobe Air is still slow on iOS compared to UIKit or OpenGL.

Apple wanted turn-by-turn, and Google wanted branding and some influence over the app in exchange. Apple wanted turn-by-turn, but apparently wasn't willing to give up much of anything to get it.

So Apple jettisoned Google to do it themselves. Then Apple discovered that mapping isn't nearly as easy as Google made it look when their users were unhappy with a decidedly inferior product.

Right, Apple and Google really didn't have much of a choice.

There is no way Apple was going to brand iOS, which is understandable — that would be like seeing an "Intel Inside" sticker on a MacBook.

And there was no way Google would just "hand over" a differentiating feature of Android to their biggest competitor.

Will you accuse Google, Mozilla of the same?

Google, Mozilla disable Flash over security concerns http://www.marketwatch.com/story/google-mozilla-disable-flas...

Even this Flash proponent admits, "Jobs was slightly ahead of his time" in You don't have to be a villain to say Flash must die* http://www.macworld.com/article/2948131/software-web/you-don...


Banning Flash has been a boon to HTML5 uptake.

YouTube Switches to the HTML5 Player in Chrome http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2014/05/youtube-switches-to...

RIP Flash: Why HTML5 will finally take over video and the Web this year http://thenextweb.com/dd/2014/04/19/rip-flash-html5-will-tak...

How Adobe Is Moving on From Flash to Embrace HTML5 http://www.cio.com/article/2376661/internet/how-adobe-is-mov...

In other words Apple has helped HTML5. Intentionally crippling the iOS web browser? What usaphp said.


As to Maps, Google pushed themselves out: Apple ditched Google Maps over turn-by-turn navigation spat http://news.yahoo.com/apple-ditched-google-maps-over-turn-tu...

> Google, Mozilla disable Flash over security concerns

That was a version of flash, and after the bug was fixed, it was reenabled. How is that in any way comparable?

It's worth noting what Steve Jobs said at the introduction of the iPhone:

"The full Safari engine is inside of iPhone. And so, you can write amazing Web 2.0 and Ajax apps that look exactly and behave exactly like apps on the iPhone. And these apps can integrate perfectly with iPhone services. They can make a call, they can send an email, they can look up a location on Google Maps.

And guess what? There’s no SDK that you need! You’ve got everything you need if you know how to write apps using the most modern web standards to write amazing apps for the iPhone today. So developers, we think we’ve got a very sweet story for you. You can begin building your iPhone apps today."

There was no SDK initially. Webapps were the _only_ way to put your app on the iPhone. My understanding is that developers demanded an SDK, though.

It seems that part of the reason for not wanting native Apps is because Jobs felt that policing an app store would be too difficult. As to whether the current browser is purposely crippled for the sake of directing people to native apps, I think that might be a bit difficult to prove. Is it perhaps instead that native apps naturally provide better performance, developers demanded it, and so Apple focuses its resources there? Shrug.

Some more detail here: http://www.cultofmac.com/125180/steve-jobs-was-originally-de...

> "Cripple the iOS web browser just enough that web apps trying to have native style performance will struggle."

Are you saying that web apps run on android browser smoother than on iOs Safari? I don't think so...

> "Ban Flash. Biggest competition for apps".

I think Flash was banned because it's crap in terms of security and battery drainer, not much because its a competition to apps.

You seem to be pretty bias in your comments...

The statement of discussion was

> User experience is what Apple puts above pretty much everything else, and they’ve decided that they don’t like it the experience available through the ad-supported web, and so they’re going to do something about it.

My points were evidence to the contrary of that statement. I was not discussing the motivations of Google in regards to their users.

My point is that Apple's business model is about expansive control of a highly profitable user base. It uses an expensive device purchase(which increases the pain point of a user leaving) through aggressive marketing to attempt to be the primary source of as many monetary behaviors of that user as possible.

Flash(and upcoming AIR) was at the time a true contender for becoming the cross platform desktop/native type application interface. Once Apple banned Flash, companies moved away from the platform and it withered.

Since you brought up the Android browser, we can use it as an example of a company who would prefer to increase the use of the web. Google actively tries to increase adoption of the mobile Chrome browser as it cannot control the the updating schedules of phone vendors. Bases upon browser statistics it appears Google is having some success.


Google is not any better, but we can look at the difference in their behavior as an example of a difference in business model. Google and Facebook are somewhat dependent(at this time) on some attributes of the web. This difference in these companies(including Apple) can be shown in their support for deep linking.


And to prove I am not picking on Apple directly, part of Google's business model is to leverage their search results to expand into other monetary behaviors of their users as well.


Technology implementations by large tech companies are typically more indicative of their business intentions as opposed to their abilities. I'm not saying that Apple is any worse than any other company. Only that their particular business model at this time is, in my opinion, the most dangerous to the overall ecosystem and tech economy.

"Flash(and upcoming AIR) was at the time a true contender for becoming the cross platform desktop/native type application interface. Once Apple banned Flash, companies moved away from the platform and it withered."

Simply not true. Flash continued to be made available for Android, and Adobe boasted of the number of installs it would have (200m by the end of 2011, it claimed [1]). Apple had, and has, a small share of the mobile and desktop market. But nobody could get Flash to work well on mobile. That is why it died.

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/technology/blog/2011/feb/14/mobil... (disclosure: by me. I was there.)

Your points offered absolutely no evidence, except to your own bias.

> Ban flash. Biggest competition to native apps.

Well, except native apps didn't exist when the iPhone launched and Steve Jobs was famously opposed to them.

> Cripple the iOS web browser just enough that web apps trying to have native style performance will struggle.

If you think that, you should watch this https://developer.apple.com/videos/wwdc/2015/?id=501

No, it really does require bias.

"Ban flash."

Because Flash was buggy as all hell, and ran like absolute shit on mobile. Remember the short time it was available for Android? Remember how no one really used it, because it was crap? Remember how Adobe gave up because they couldn't do it worth a damn?

"- Cripple the iOS web browser just enough that web apps trying to have native style performance will struggle."

You're gonna need a citation for that one.

"Release their own map to push Google out of their ecosystem. When that didn't work now they are trying this."

Yeah, no. Apple and Google had a dispute over licensing. They were unable to resolve their differences, and so they parted ways amicably. Google Maps is still freely available for iOS, and developers are still able to use it in their apps.

"You don't need bias to see something as obvious as this now is."

No, but apparently you need a tinfoil hat.

No, he made well-reasoned points. You, on the other hand, have yet to.

So looking at facts is a bias now?

How about all the different ways Apple breaks the web for its own sake? Things like the HTTP Protocol are fundamentally broken by Apple, and this is not ok.

They are a despicable company, a dragon only interested in increasing its cash reserves. I do not understand the support they are getting from the developer community, they shit on them constantly, make their life difficult, and forces them to buy Apple.

This latest move is even more despicable as its pushed as positive for the user, landing them good PR, when in fact its all about levering Apple's stronghold on users to push iAds. They are a company for profit, and their history shows they don't do anything for users, they do it for them.

They should be criticized and hounded as a toxic company for the web.

> Things like the HTTP Protocol are fundamentally broken by Apple, and this is not ok.

What do you mean?

An odd statement given it's Google who's been doing this the most recently (QUIC, SPDY).

How have either of those broken HTTP?

For example things like Content-Range are not respected by iOS, or it completely ignores Cache directives. That breaks HTTP, big time.

Do you have more information? I can't find anything, and articles like this don't mention any specific issues https://devcenter.heroku.com/articles/ios-network-caching-ht...

Wow some people really have short memories. - Webkit - Thoughts on flash and the promotion of HTML 5 - Canvas - CSS animations - Web video etc etc

It seems to me that Google has been a better influence with Webkit than Apple has. In my day-to-day work the only time Safari comes up is on iOS, and only then because we have no other choice.

The only time recently I've opened Safari on the desktop is to debug some obscure Javascript deficiency that only existed on that browser that also happened to exist in iOS.

Please remember that Apple created Webkit from KHTML, without them Chrome would have been way behind where they are now, both in terms of technology and pushing a new rendering engine. They may well have purchased Opera...

Toady Google have more resources invested in Blink than Apple do in Safari, but don't forget how we got here.

I know all that and I believe there has been controversy over Apple and KHTML. But, I see it as a matter that Apple started playing but dropped the ball for Google to pick up to move forward.

There's no telling where things would be if Google had gone a different route. What if they bought Opera? What if they forked KHTML themselves? It could have been better, it could have been worse. I don't speculate on that, I just react to what I see. Right now, to me, Google has been better about moving things forward with Webkit than Apple has in quite a while.

I've never understood this.

Safari is just a wrapper around WebKit which is an open source project with many contributors. Yes the engine may be deficient in some areas or make choices not supported by other engines but I have never seen any malicious intent to destroy the web or undermine the standards.

"So looking at facts is a bias now?"

No, but making up your own facts, like you have, is.

"Things like the HTTP Protocol are fundamentally broken by Apple"

[Citation Needed]

"They are a company for profit"

As opposed to whom? Google?

>[Citation Needed]

Content-Range does not work, Cache directive are ignored to speed up user experience on Safari.

> The reason Apple does this is to push content creators away from the Web and into native apps.

This is baloney, Apple hosts free apps at a loss. The idea that Apple wants you to have an app for every website is absolutely ridiculous. Safari is one of the most used iOS apps today and will be so for at least the better part of the next decade.

> Bullshit. They have their own advertising network they want to push.

iAds is a rounding error on Apple's business. In all likelihood Apple sees a competitive browser advantage: people like X, Google will not do X on Android. They'll load up The Verge during the keynote and show that it takes 1/X the time that the top of the line Android phones do and 11 year olds will walk around telling each other that Safari is X times faster than Chrome.

iAds is a rounding error on Apple's business.

It may be now, but I'll bet they don't think it will be in the future.

I doubt it will be around in the future. Apple introduced iAds because they wanted better (i.e., less tacky) mobile ads. Recall their initial messaging around iAds: we design your ads, extremely costly initial ad buys, only big brands. They even enabled WebGL just for iAd.

Unfortunately banner ads are tacky no matter what.

iAds was all about making the rising-in-popularity (at the time) free, ad-supported apps less horrid. Increasing the perceived quality of their platform, and selling more hardware.

Optional, download-it-yourself ad blockers aren't likely to move the needle on iAd growth.

This is the problem with many of the comments here. 90% of iOS users won't use it.

Yes, it is not a coincidence that Apple introduced ad blockers at the same time as their own News app that doesn't allow you to block ads.


That's the real and legitimate conspiracy here. They are trying to leverage their ... qualitative ... market dominance to "urge" news content providers to shift their content to the News app where the Apple ad network is king.

I would also like to point out that Apple is not only strong-arming the news content sector, but they are also actively damaging if not destroying various other app companies that are in that space with their unfair advantage. The unfair advantage basically comes into play because they are the effective governmental regulatory body of the Apple ecosystem and therefore have disproportionate leverage and power over those in their ecosystem.

You may say, so what, it's their ecosystem, but that is inherently contradictory to having a fair and level playing-field where you compete based on merits, value, and worth.

It's quite odd that Apple really doesn't like to compete and is rather lazy when it comes to competing. They would rather strong-arm people to extract profits, which really isn't all that different than a protection racket ... "Oh, you want ad revenue? It would be a shame if you didn't get any ad revenue because something happened to your shitty little store and all the ads were stripped out. But we here at Apple would like to offer you a brand new opportunity to protect your ad revenue with Apple News."

It's a revolution though! Apple finally enabled users of their gimped mobile OS to do something that they've been able to do for 20 years on desktop computers.

That move might backfire, though. If Apple devices offer an ad-free web but not ad-free apps, then users will drift toward the web, just as content creators drift toward apps.

But that specific content going into the apps won't be available on the web. Users who want that content won't find it there. It will be in the apps, where the ads can't be easily blocked (without reverse engineering and altering on an app-by-app basis).

Well, if there's a decent shift in behavior and expectations then it would be possible for that content to shift as well. Once upon a time all that content was in web apps, now it is in native apps, and it's possible for it go back.

> Apple gets a cut on any money made from apps but not from Web ads.

Not if those apps are free and using non-Apple advertising networks like AdMob.

Then they still get the $100 the dev paid to publish the app in the first place.

$100 per year and per company, for unlimited Mac, iOS and Apple Watch apps.

Sorry wasn't saying it was anywhere near as much as a cut of ad revenue. Just that they are still getting something from you as a developer.

They give you value for your $100.

You get two technical support incidents per year: an Apple engineer will assist with code issues. They handle all necessary tax withholding in countries which require it. This is something you had to do yourself with Google Play (unsure if this is still the case). You also get access to CloudKit and various other Apple-hosted services which can be used within your apps.

I don't doubt that they make a profit on your developer enrolment fee, but it's almost nothing in the scheme of things, and you are actually paying for something.

$100 minus the reviewer salary, bandwidth, support, etc etc

At the scale they are operating, those costs are a drop in the bucket.

As is the $100....

Having apps locks you in to the ecosystem. If you're installing one app from the app store you're very likely to install others.

Buying an iPhone locks you into the ecosystem. There can't be many people who own one who've never installed any apps from the app store.

There may be some switching cost, but not much, depending on: - whether the apps are free - whether the same or similar apps are available on Android - whether those apps are critical to you in day to day use

Everything that Apple releases is a "revolution" according to Apple fans. I had guessed it was going to be about Safari from the title.

"Everything that Apple releases is a 'revolution' according to Apple fans" according to Apple haters. See Artie MacStrawman[1].

The article isn't saying that Apple enabling ad blocking in Safari is a "revolutionary" new feature; it's saying that bringing ad blocking into the mainstream could cause a serious disruption in existing online advertising business models.


because everyone who doesn't worship Apple is a "hater".

While the article may have a pro Apple bias this comment exudes a negative Apple bias. Equally distasteful.

It can be both. If people find the ad supported web unpleasant, doing the right thing for the user experience is also something that benefits their bottom line.

I wholeheartedly agree. A convincing argument can be made that the reason Apple is so successful is precisely because Apple business goals are in alignment with their customers' and users' interest.

If people incorrectly assume that the alternative to "free with ads" is "free with no ads" then we will have a market failure.

I think "free with ads" is being done backwards most of the time. It's all about analysing the user to algorithmically determine the best pre-designed ad to serve them. It's tacky and people are extremely good at ignoring it, even without ad blockers.

"Free with ads" should be that my favourite authors get paid to use a product or service and then write about it if they like it. I don't want to see ads for things that a computer predicts I will like, I want to see ads for things that someone I enjoy reading, and share similar tastes with, likes.

How in the hell would that work for some dinky little mobile game?

Yeah I don't think ad-supported is good for mobile games. What are we doing at the moment? Forcing players to watch videos to earn coins, sticking ads in user's faces. No one wants this. It just dilutes the value of advertisements and annoys users.

Just because it generates money doesn't mean it's the right thing to do.

Aren't people already paying out the ass just for the privilege of having an i-device or being in Apple's ecosystem?

Luckily, all market research shows that iOS users buy more apps and content.

You are spot on. Apple's obvious point of view is this: random websites not affiliated with Apple are using our devices to advertize to the user. That must be stopped! We own the device, after all, and if the user is going to be advertized to, we give the permission for that and want a cut. Plus the wild and wooly ads are obnoxious. We can decide what is acceptable to our users and how it is presented, for a better (though not ad-free) experience.

Imagine LG doing something like this with their TVs...

Adblocking? I'd buy it in a heartbeat!

>I'll bet Apple won't consider "Install from Apple Store" type messages as ads."

Which for me, is the worst kind. When you accidentally click an ad (sometimes unbeknownst to you) and suddenly the browser is closing and iTunes is opening, trying to get you to install Game of War...

That said, if ad-blocking works on iOS, I think much of what he writes comes true. It will be interesting.

Please remember that Apple has only said they will support plugins for Safari, no direct mention of ad blocking.

If there is ad blocking it will be provided by a third party.

If it is then it will be up to the third party if they want to block this kind of advert. By their nature however "install banners" are typically part of the content (if it's for the site's own application) so a typical ad blocker wouldn't catch them. If however it's a third party advert showing an app install dialogue/overlay it will likely be blocked, by the fact it will likely come from an ad providing domain.

Apple has at least mentioned ad blocking to developers - the example given on the Apple Developer website for how to make a Safari plugin is called "Declarative Ad Blocker":


"I stand corrected" said the man in the orthopedic shoe!


Install banners are built in to the browser, and just show metadata provided by the site. I strongly doubt they will be blockable.

You could ban a scrip loaded from an "ad" domain that modified the host pages HTML to add that metadata.

However I was referring to the pop up, tap intercepting redirects to the App Store.

The worst are pop up ads that occur in the middle of rapid tapping. Multiple taps can register be the OS responds. At least on Android, it will launch a new tab for each tap on the ad with each tab attempting to launch the Play Store. This is mostly confined to mobile games, but it can also happen when trying to quickly scroll.

Apple was clear when announcing this that their goal was NOT to block ads. It was to block stuff that a) tracked you and b) caused your surfing to slow down. This is what they're aiming for.

I'm an Android user and I didn't really get bias from the article, save a bias against ads and a compliment to Apple for allowing Adblocking.

I block "in-app" ads the same way I block "web" ads.

Most ads use the same third party DNS services which makes blocking even easier.

Apps can be written to refuse to run if they can't fetch their ads. This can be baked into compiled code.

Apps can be written to download and cache ads periodically as part of their "update" process, and display these ads even when you don't have an internet connection. If they are not able to update these ads for some time (say 60 days), they can then refuse to run: "the application has expired and needs an update; please connect to the Internet". New ads are fetched when the user connects and lets the app update.

I can also not use these kinda apps lol. Whats the point of putting in all these features to stop people if it merely results in an uninstall?

The point is that you may have a really good app that users want/need, and which presents ads, but in some unobtrusive way that users don't mind.

If you don't put in "anti-ad-circumvention" methods, then the ads will fall victim to some simple blanket blocking scheme that users set up before they even installed your app, not targetting your app specifically.

Analogy: a website with great content and very unobtrusive ads has them filtered by AdBlock anyway.

Currently the people who block in-app ads are people who have taken the effort to root / jailbreak their device. I find it hard to believe that they would put up with the ads.

90% of users won't uninstall.

Have not encountered any apps like you describe. Examples?

How do you block them?

Hosts file, I assume

But Apple users (who do not "jailbreak") are prevented from accessing their own device's files, e.g., the HOSTS file.

Apple denies the user reasonable control of the device they purchased. (Denying access to the HOSTS file is unreasonble in my opinion.)

But Apple does not (yet) exercise control over the network(s) that the user has joined.

As long as the user can still control at least some aspects of her own network (yes, she still can), then the user can block ads.

In my case, I use DNS to block ads. It is remarkably effective. But there are certainly other ways to do it.

> The overall article is of good quality but it reeks of Apple bias I personally find distasteful

Your entire comment is just anti-apple biased assumptions. How are you any better than the article?

Advertisers hate iAd because it doesn't let you harvest nearly as much users data as most platforms. Advertisers can go suck a lemon as far as I am concerned. It is hard for some people to see past their own Apple hate but success speaks for itself. It doesn't hurt that the competition keeps shooting themselves in the foot.

> success speaks for itself

Our experience as developers should tell us that this isn't true. Success often implies popularity, and popularity is not a very good indicator for quality.

That is true but they consistently are at the top of user satisfaction surveys. I suppose you could argue they were all tricked with marketing, but that doesn't really hold water in the long run. No one even bothers debating who has the best hardware build quality.

If what you were saying had any merit, then Google would be doing the same. Because, in case you forgot, they also have a popular mobile app store.

I completely understand why people use Adblock - it improves the user experience. Ironically hiding adverts is a just a side-effect; the improvement comes from speeding up page loads, and cutting down on cpu usage and bandwidth use. (I install Adblock for my mother to stop her seeing scams, but that's another thing entirely.)

I've spent the past week optimising How a Car Works for speed (mobile is 55% of our traffic now).

The average uncached weight of an article is 1.1 MB, of which 70% is Google Adsense and Facebook (the only two 3rd party scripts I include). I can't trim it any further and it's very frustrating - suggestions welcome btw.

Almost the only suggestions that Google's Page Speed tool has left are to minify the scripts that Google and Facebook themselves are serving.

I use Adsense because it's easy, pays fine, and the ads seem reasonably relevant. But the weight of crap being downloaded is absurd and I hate the idea of wasting some Kenyan's precious data allowance on an irrelevant advert that might earn me $0.01.

In fact, I'm going to use geolocation to not include Adsense in countries where I earn nothing.

One optimization I do often - don't load the FB scripts until someone actually hovers over an FB like button or share box. 99.9% of the time, they never do. In the meantime, just mock the look of the button. We even mocked the like counts et al by polling FB's API from teh server.

Related: Heise's Shariff JS. https://github.com/heiseonline/shariff

Of course, there is no hover on mobile, so you are probably optimizing traffic where it is not so critical.

What if they click the button before the script loads?

If the buttons are rendered on the client, they won't show up at all before the script loads.

That's very considerate of you, thank you. I just clicked an ad on your page as a reward :).

I don't think people are really bothered that there are ads - everyone learns at some point that under current system, people need to earn money to live and websites cost money to keep them up. The problem is with a) the amount of ads, b) obnoxiousness of them, and c) that quite a lot are actually dishonest, annoying and downright malicious. It's because of those people started using ad blockers. The Internet really looks much, much better without all that crap. I'm pretty sure for most the resource use is a secondary consideration to the amount of frustration an ad-laden site can generate.

I don't mind ads. I hate the tracking. I either want a market solution to it, or, failing that, I want it outlawed.

>I can't trim it any further

It seems pretty obvious that you could reduce your page size by 70% by simply removing Google and Facebook scripts.

So obvious that they almost certainly considered it...

It's my (located in USA) precious data allowance, too. At the price I pay for mobile data - my plan comes out to $0.025/MB - I would not be at all surprised to discover that I'm paying more to be advertised to than you're being paid to carry the ad.

Thats one of the reasons I like uBlock origin- supposedly, it says the ad was displayed/clicked on a webpage, which means I don't deal with ads and websites don't deal with money loss.

No it doesn't. This is some bizarre myth that keeps being perpetuated.[0]

[0] https://github.com/gorhill/uBlock/wiki/Does-uBlock-block-ads...

The problem is that even IF it did do this, it wouldn't help publishers. In fact it would probably hurt publishers because ad performance would take a hit. This would lower ad pay rates and possibly even sell-through.

uBlock doesn't click ads in the background.

That would be https://dhowe.github.io/AdNauseam/

> it says the ad was displayed/clicked on a webpage

Where exactly does it say this?

Isn't it reasonable to assume most users already have a CDN version of adsense and facebook cached since 90% of all websites use it?

Try CloudFlare? That should get the page weight down a bit while costing you nothing.

He's not concerned about his bandwidth costs, but about the bandwidth costs (in both money and time) to the users.

>>Of course, at this point we should step back and ask “why were the adverts there in the first place?” Oh yes, because they help pay for the content. In some – well, many, almost all – cases, they pay for all of the content.

Honestly? I don't give a crap. Too many places have abused it and thrown stupid crap in just so they can make money. Just like the idiots who are careless with fireworks and then states ban them, the idiots have ruined it. It may not be fair or completely make sense but I don't want to see your ad NOR do I want your stupid newsletter so I'm going to block the modal window along with every ad on your site just so you end up losing money.

My favorite has been the "Complete survey to continue reading the article" or "Become a member to continue reading the article". Both of which cause me to just go, "Ok, well screw your site then. I'll go find one of the million other publishers of the exact same article on the internet. You don't have a scare resource anymore because you're just another bullshit media rewriter."

My opinion is that they are serving me data, I can view/consume that data however I would like. It's not my responsibility to view the ads they put on their page, and if I want to increase the font size or disable javascript, that's my business.

When I'm presented with "answer a survey to continue" ads, I purposefully don't read the question and pick an answer at random. I hope others do the same, so that the survey results are entirely useless.

Well, I do as well, so that's two at least.

In my case, if I actually answer it, I read the question and pick the exact opposite of what applies.

"What is your age range: 0-17 18-25 26-35 <-Normal 35-50 50+ <- My answer"

That way, if they're using the information for anything then I've hopefully screwed up their targeting at least a little!

Like the New York Times....pretty sure they're not all "bullshit media rewriters" there.

Expect a LOT more "Become a member" or "Subscribe to..." websites as adblockers become more popular.

With all my respect to quality media like NYT, I don't want a full-scale subscription. What I'd like is paying a few cents for a specific article in a hassle-free way.

Micropayments are hard because of the transaction costs, but this seems to slowly change (see e.g. flattr). I wish more sites offered a per-view zero-setup one-click micropayment solution.

What's more interesting is what Google will do if their ads revenue shrinks considerably — I suppose 99% of their income is targeted online context ads.

I don't think micropayments are the future. Flattr has been around since 2010 and I don't think even a single person has made a living wage from it.

The main problem when charging for content is justifying to the user why the price is "fair" before they've actually seen the content. If you can get around that problem, e.g. by using teasers or word of mouth to instill a need, then you can get away with charging much more than a few cents. And if you can't, very few people will be wililng to pay even one cent, because of the huge perceptual gap between zero and one cent.

This model works best for huge chunks of content like books, movies or video games, where you can create compelling teasers that don't give away the whole experience. It's much harder for stuff like music or NYT articles, where the consumable chunks of content are small and teasers don't make much sense. I don't know any good answer for those.

Well, I'm not a representative sample of the general public, but for me NYT's paywall is mostly about the hassle, not the money. I totally won't mind losing 10¢ on an article that was not worth reading, as long as getting to the content was just one paid click, without a monthly subscription or entering details.

What I'd like is a PayPal one-click payment sort of system for that, with limitation of e.g. 50¢ per transaction without authentication (with limits per hour and per domain, etc, preventing money-bleeding exploits).

A huge selling point for me would be an ability to come to a previously unvisited site supporting this system and pay with one click.

The thing is that I don't browse media sites from their home pages, I mostly follow links found in social media. This gives the links some level of trust, because I can assess the poster's credibility before clicking the link.

I think it could be interesting to see if Google could arrange an "ad blocker subscription" pass for websites. The site would block people with ad blockers unless they were a subscriber.

Google would charge 10-15 bucks or whatever the average web user is worth in gooogle adsense.

I guess the hard part is actually effectively detecting ad blocking. I assume you could write an adblocker that downloads and then just never actually displays ads. Without total control over your browser, I'm not sure how ad blocking detection would ever be accurate.

That's a really interesting future option here, hard to see how it will compete with free adblockers though.

There's more problem with per-article payments than transaction costs. E.g., how I know if I want to pay for particular article - maybe it's a useless crap that isn't even worth my time, let alone money? I could pay _after_ reading, but then the publisher has no guarantee I would bother to, after all I've already got what I wanted.

You'd say "well, NYT is so good you would want to pay for _any_ article published there!" - but then why wouldn't I subscribe if I value them so much?

A hassle-free after-reading tipping jar would be welcome!

It could even say "If you liked this article, pay $0.nn and the next article you open on our site will be ads-free for you."

Perhaps written content will end up going down the music route, with subscription based aggregators?

Certainly something that Apple News seems like it could be well placed for.

Which will likely, hopefully, just create a new media. Things like Periscope. Newer generations will ignore the big media garbage and follow citizen reporting. This is all speculation and I'm sure there are problems with it but these big companies will just be digging their own graves with bull crap like that. They already have enough trouble selling print media who's going to pay them for their content (which is 80% useless filler anyway) when they start doing that.

I do understand smaller bloggers and stuff will have a similar problem but it's people like those that will actually GET subscriptions and who I'd actually be willing to pay for their content if they didn't bombard me with bull crap when I loaded their pages.

Which will likely, hopefully, just create a new media. Things like Periscope.

And how would Periscope users get paid, exactly?

"Things like Periscope."

And how do you expect things like Periscope to stay in business without earning revenue?

Then stop using them. Problem solved.

On an unrelated note, we're gonna need you to come in and work for free this weekend.

Some other data points to consider:

a. The AdBlock Plus team has stated, "in it's current state there are still some issues, which render Content Blocking Extensions insufficient" to use as an and blocking platform. [1]

b. Apple states that "if the rule compiler detects that a set of rules would negatively impact user experience, it refuses to load them and returns and error. [2]

So, at least in iOS 9, it doesn't seem to be a complete solution for the type of ad blockers we see on the desktop.

After reading about this, it feels like Apple isn't trying to kill the web in this version of the technology. Instead, it is warning shot across the bow, so to speak, for publishers with really crappy experiences.

[1] https://adblockplus.org/blog/content-blocking-in-safari-9-an...

[2] https://www.hackingwithswift.com/safari-content-blocking-ios... (quote is third paragraph from the bottom...)

Honestly, the experience on some of these mobile websites is so horrible that I've actually started boycotting them when they're just too bad to endure. It's funny, as the screens get larger, the content space stays the same or shrinks. I think, "ooh more content on one page!" and they think "ooh more ads to cram in!"

It's just the worst. Ads with tiny close buttons, ads that mimic the content on the page in order to get you to click, banners at the top and bottom of the screen. I DON'T WANT YOUR SHIT. I can't wait till all of that goes away.

>Ads with tiny close buttons

I recently encountered an ad with a tiny close button that jittered, making it impossible to touch without triggering the ad popup. How clever.

Which is why people want to block them completely lol

Indeed. If you, as a content provider, depend on such ads then I'm sorry, but your business deserves to die.

I wonder how long it takes for people to learn that they can earn money by not being assholes to their customers?

AT least many vloggers are moving to Patreon or similar services. I've funded vloggers whose content I've enjoyed and I've seen many make a living that way. I think that's the modal we should shoot for. You build an audience and then you monetize that audience in non-intrusive ways.

Indeed, even my favourite blogger whose articles I enjoy moved to Patreon and I'm planning to budget money for him from next paycheck :). I'm much happier to support people this way than through ads.

I'll be very happy to pay for content now that I am an adult and earn money (there's a problem though; I owe my career in part thanks to a lot of free content I could use as a kid). But I suspect that prices will have to drop - the typical use pattern of the Internet is that of breadth, not depth. Myself I visit many dozen different sites daily, often different the next day than the day before. I derive value from all of them, but not enough to pay each of them a few dollars of monthly subscription.

Or maybe this will finally incentivize people to build their websites to attract and keep customers instead of clickbaiting and carpet-bombing with unwanted ads.

"Or maybe this will finally incentivize people to build their websites to attract and keep customers instead of clickbaiting and carpet-bombing with unwanted ads."

This is it. We're suffering from the effects the "Content is king" mantra. Instead of sites having highly focused content, the drive is to constantly have fresh content. It's easy for a monthly magazine to have focused content due to the schedule. When a site has to have new content every single day, or worse, multiple pieces of content every day, of course that's going to lead to excessive fluff of all sorts. The sites with the best content I visit seem less concerned with frequency and more focused on quality. We're in a quantity > quality phase of the web.

Ever visited one of those free live streaming websites? 20 layers of ads with tiny close buttons, that sometimes themselves trigger redirects. It's the perfect example of how ads make you want to punch your screen.

I think the worst are social clickjacking ads. This is a whole new genre of scumbaggery. Every now and then I see a friend of mine embarrass themselves on social media. You open your Facebook and suddenly see the newest status update of a lady or a gentleman that says something like "HEY! I JUST GOT A $10 FREE TOP UP ! HOW FUCKING COOL IS THAT?".

Aside from ads, mobile websites in general are complete garbage. So then adding a banner to the bottom is just icing on the cake.

Ok, you don't want their shit. How do you propose to give the creators of the content you're visiting revenue so they can continue?

I think we know what a post-ad (or "blocked") landscape looks like ... just look to NPR and boingboing.

At NPR: major movies, product launches, etc., are framed as stories and are given decent editorial treatment. But it's just part of the PR Blitz package that the advertiser is taking out into the marketplace. There's a TV commercial, a magazine ad, a Charlie Rose booking, a Terry Gross segment ... and a pre-written 80 second slot for "Here and Now". It's just part of the blitz and it's just pacakged slightly differently when it plays on NPR. But make no mistake that Terry Gross interview with Mr. Phoenix as "Her" was moving into theaters was not a coincidence.[1]

at boingboing: constant, never-ending "stories" that are nothing but frames of words for amazon affiliate links. They've gotten very brazen about it[2], but other outfits could be more subtle and I think you'll see it.

[1] Highly recommended. Hilarious interview. At one point, Phoenix forgets what her name is and at no point does he even know what show he's on. Classic.

[2] Regular postings along the lines of "remember that one movie ... man that was great ... two more lines of content ... affiliate link to the DVD".

I remember when "Here and Now" first appeared on my local npr affiliate. I was taken aback at how out of step with their other content it was-- unintellectual, poorly informed host(s), focused on the latest 'hot' media topics du jour (minus the insightful introspection found on other npr programs)... for me, it added nothing of value, and felt like a waste of my time, so I stopped listening and assumed others did the same. I can't believe it's still airing.

"But wait, what about the moral dimension? The fact that if you block the ads, the sites lose their income?"

What a ridiculous point. Sure the advertisers want to make this into a moral issue, but is it? No. It's not. Advertisers just feel entitled. They are not actually entitled to display their ads or make money. Even bringing up this point like it's a valid point for debate drags the quality of the article down.

Advertisers not making money off people using ad blockers is NOT a moral issue. It's a failing of their business model. Nothing more and nothing less. Are we now going to say that they are too "insert adjective of choice here" to fail? Insanity!

Forget ethical questions, then, and let's talk economics.

If you're not generating revenue for them, why should anybody who hopes to make money off of content choose to show you anything? What value do you represent to them? Why should they believe you?

I'll take "your broken business model is not my problem" for 200 points.

There are plenty of places that I can buy content that I'm interested in. I'd far rather pay for quality content than put up with ads all over the web. As a plus side, paid for content might fix the journalism crisis.

The death of content farms is not going to be a huge loss to the web ecosystem. Anything useful enough that people are willing to pay for it will survive.

No, that's a fucking cop out. Answer the question: why do you feel entitled to view the content that others have worked to create for free? Why should we not expect the same of you? Why should we not expect you to work for free?

It's not a fucking cop out. You make your content available on the web without a paywall, on the assumption that my client will serve ads. Well, guess what, it doesn't.

At no point did you contract with me to require me to view ads. Your terms of service (which you didn't even require me to agree to) did not require that I don't block ads.

Your business model is based on the assumption that I will gladly view ads. I won't. Hundreds of millions of others won't. Your business model is broken. The market is clearly not supporting the amount of content that is available. Don't try to play the ethics card; the advertising industry is as sleazy as they come.

If your content is valuable enough, put up a paywall and people will pay for it.

> I'd far rather pay for quality content than put up with ads all over the web.

Completely contradicts your claim of "for free".

How do I know it's worth my money before I try it? When I'm purchasing a car, I can take it off the lot for a test drive. In the 90's, video games had demos (and now that demos are rare, I almost never buy video games I haven't played at a friends' first). When I purchase food - I know what I'm paying for. I know what I'm getting. Many purchases I make "guarantee my money back if I'm not totally satisfied with the product or service".

When I purchase a journalistic article - I have no idea if the quality would be worth my money. I have no idea if it's going to be well written.

Nowadays most articles I read contain factual errors, stretches of the truth, extreme political slants, author biases, and general muckery of something I would not pay for. But I didn't know that it was something so bad I would use to wipe my ass instead of reading it until after I had already read it.

There are websites I use that are 100% free and donation-only supported. They not only meet but exceed their monthly donation goals consistently. These are sites where the users give a damn whether the server is still online next month or not. The website has been online for the past 5 years and there has never been financial troubles.

Perhaps instead of using an "ad-based" business model websites should use a "value-based" business model. Where, if the website is valuable enough to the users, the users will choose to sustain it out of their own desire to continue to use the site.

If your journalistic site doesn't offer any additional value to users. You sink - and nobody would care.

I wouldn't bat an eyelid if the entire Gawker media conglomerate crashed and burned and had to shut down. I wouldn't care at all - and you wouldn't see me donating money to keep it online - because they provide no value to me.

Hang on, if this content is so precious to you, why are you forcing three "click the monkey"s and a cryptowall on me? If we're talking responsibility, that's where the greater harm lies.

Fix ads and the adblocker problem goes away.

> why should anybody who hopes to make money off of content choose to show you anything?

Nobody is forcing them to use advertizing to support their work/site. If they're not making money, they should change their business model.

Apparently just like you feel entitled to enjoy the content others have made for free.

When a webpage is served to you, you are under no obligation to not modify that webpage in any way. They gave the bytes to you for free. You can do whatever you want to them once you get them.

If my modification of that content is depriving them of income, then that's a flaw in their business model, not my ethics.

No, it's entirely a violation of your ethics. You are explicitly modifying them for the express purpose of denying them income.

> No, it's entirely a violation of your ethics.

Your ethics, perhaps.

> express purpose of denying them income.

No, the "express purpose" is to deny the creator's intent for how to interpret the markup, which has a side effect of denying content. Saying that the "express purpose" is to deny content isn't a fair characterization.

I see all you can do is stoop to calling names, but I'll give you a proper reply regardless of the fact that you don't deserve one.

No, it's the artists who feel entitled to make money off their work, work that oftentimes is quite worthless or poor. Others are not required to offer content for free and I don't feel entitled to it. If it's there for free, maybe I'll consume it, maybe not. It's only the content creators who think their consumers feel entitled to free content because they're too stupid to come up with better business models to market their content. As a writer, musician, and artist, I offer a lot of my content for free with no ads and have no problem with that. I actually enjoy creating it and don't do it for the ad revenue. If other content creators want to charge for their content or wrap it up in ads, it's up to them to figure out a business model that works for their purpose. Their failing to do so does in no way reflect a failing in anyone's morality except possibly theirs.

tl;dr: If my ad-blocking is hurting these content creators so much, they should figure out a way to deliver ads that can't be blocked and stop calling the consumers names like "entitled" (because that's another reason the consumers don't want to pay for that mediocre two-paragraph piece surrounded by 10 megs of ads). Period.

And the Ad-network rearchetechture is probably already built. The way all of these adblockers are typically implemented is an IP/DNS Name black list where the requests to those locations are stopped short. There is a super simple solution though, those who want to leverage ads for revenue can just bundle the advertising material into the content of the page rather than including the ads via third party ajax calls. Sure perhaps you could then play another iteration of cat and mouse by trying to tease out ads from NLP or with some sort of visual hashing, but at the end of the day, that is a much more difficult technical challenge than blocking ajax calls or bundling content.

Apparently the reason they're loaded separately in the first place is fraud detection. Bundling it into the page provides no easy way of independently verifying impressions.

That makes some sense. So if I understand the logic, loading the resource (perhaps executing some js) = verified impression. Its interesting because it seems like you could come up with some sort of phone home to the original contents domain to validate the ad loaded as well. So it sounds like the real innovation here is going to be figuring out a way to validate impressions through the content sites. It doesn't seem much more difficult than going to the independent directly but can't say I have a super obvious solution in hand. With that said, I can think of at least a few ways it could be done and in fact might have some interesting incentive changes for that industry. Seems like a big opportunity.

This can be done with Pay per action and referral links

such as site X has sent us 1000 users and 10 of those have signed up so we pay them for these 10 signups/purchases whatever

interestingly amazon are the leaders here...

Theoretically, you could shift the responsibility of displaying ads and tracking users to the publishers, with requirements to publish back to the ad networks granular information about every impression. The ad networks could then check for cheating by randomly accessing the publishing website to make sure all the requests are reported back by the publishers.

Right, its basically just inserting the publisher as a man in the middle and coming up with a decent enough validation scheme. And I don't think the current system is perfect, so the bar not be any higher - seems like right now its easy to fake impressions with scrapers/virtual devices etc.

Indeed, there are many things that could be improved about the current system. I am personally hoping that the uptake in ad blocking software will lead publishers to diversify their revenue streams and find better ways to monetize their content. Companies like Blendle are making great progress in that direction and I hope we will see more innovation in that space.

Or shift the responsibility for displaying content onto the ad network! At least the page might load more quickly if Google are serving it.

This inversion seems likely to be the way it goes. Networks buying content (TV model), rather than publishers buying ads (newspaper model).

People keep trying to start paid-for publishing networks. Maybe Netflix will start reaching out to prominent youtubers and take them on as series? Maybe Reddit should find a way of giving "gold" to the link target of a post as well as just commentators?

The Facebook Instant Articles thing is in a good position for this. Move content to special-purpose browsers controlled by the company serving the ads.

Indeed, I'm surprised that people never mention this. Google probably has been working on this for a while now. Just bundle the ad and the video in the same stream and check timing to see if the ad has been watched or clicked on, same could be done for text ads, just serve them from the same ip as regular results, at least on mobile native apps. They're probably not pushing it for now as adblocking is not yet that much of a problem on their bottom line and they don't want to give hackers the time to work around these anti-adblocking techniques.

While in theory it is possible, in practice making it work smoothly over hundreds of content generation platforms and design templates would be much harder and marginal costs of adding ads to your site would increase significantly. It won't be "insert that piece of HTML code into your site" anymore.

Yup. If everyone starts blocking all ads, I hope you like native ads that look and feel just like content.

That would probably get some regulators' attention pretty soon. And would create some serious reputation problems for those who have it - it's one thing reading WaPo article, another reading WaPo article where each paragraph could be an ad insert instead.

How long will this revolution last if content providers decide to not show content to iOS users? I mean if they exist to make money and they can't on iOS would it matter that there were hundreds of millions of them? With ad blocking it would be as if they never existed in first place.

Perhaps the idea is for Apple to get the content providers to make apps so they get their cut? Perhaps it is better for the content providers if they make content for-pay only for iOS users and make it work because Apple's users don't mind paying for stuff?

This is definitely not about Apple's good will for its users or love for the UX though - interesting how Apple and its fans like the perpetuate everything under "because Apple cares" banner!

> How long will this revolution last if content providers decide to not show content to iOS users?

Which begs the question:

How long will content providers last if they decide to not show content to iOS users?

More like how long will content providers last if iOS users block their ads? Showing the content doesn't mean anything if they can't monetize it.

Someone has to pay the bills. It's conceivable that the iOS users are all loss-leaders telling their non-ad-blocking friends to read the article, but that's kind of stretching it.

Considering how ios is the last platform to gain ad blocking, something android, the majority platform has had for years, it's definitely stretching it.

I don't think anyone would be able to make that argument with a straight face.

I'm sure Facebook and Google will land on their feet.

depends on the market share and monetization I think.

It would hurt content providers targeting the US much more than those who target the global market where iOS has a much lower market share...

> Perhaps the idea is for Apple to get the content providers to make apps so they get their cut?

I don't see how that would work. When you visit the New York Times website on iOS it will simply say, "Sorry web not supported on iOS; please download our app". The NYT app will be free but will show NYT ads - Apple will not get any extra revenue.

It might not be a bad thing if it did trigger a more above-board means of both paying for content and producing content that people want to pay for. At the moment it's a clickbait race to the bottom.

Also, bear in mind that we're having this discussion on an ad-free website.

> Also, bear in mind that we're having this discussion on an ad-free website.

That's a totally wrong comparison however. Nothing fits.

HN has ads. They are rare (and mostly job postings), but they do exist.

Which job links are paid for on HN? That's news to me.

I have no problem with this actually, because such things are on a separate page and its obvious the content you are getting is relevant to you (unlike lots of online advertising). Good luck to pg and the devs and mods behind HN if they want to generate cash to keep the site going.

I think the parent post is talking about the occasional job ads for YC companies, in the normal link list on the front page. You can recognize them since they cannot be upvoted. It's not like they pay money I guess, but get visibility to find talented workers.

> How long will this revolution last if content providers decide to not show content to iOS users?

It's also not just iOS. It's a feature of Safari so it would also impact desktop visits to websites as well.

This is the start of an arms race. I expect by the time this launches there will be tools provided by the ad-networks to detect blockers and allow the content provider to block access.

Exactly - that will hurt the UX like nothing else ever has. If people find out web sites don't work on their phone or tablet - the dumping of that platform to the competitor will be rather quick. Partly why Windows Phone didn't fly was IE - the websites looked crap compared to WebKit based browsers. Microsoft had to do unprecedented stuff like emulating WebKit to get over it.

They will only break if people have manually installed an ad blocker. I imagine this will be the vast minority of users, but will give the content owners and ad networks a reason to think about what they are doing to the UX of their website.

> How long will this revolution last if content providers decide to not show content to iOS users?

Good luck with that. iOS users make up a significant percentage of web traffic and are demographically the most valuable (generally of a higher socio-economic status). By alienating them they won't be coming to your site which means no opportunity to upsell them to a paid version of the content.

Advertisers don't deserve much sympathy from me. They have trashed the customer experience.

"higher socio-economic status" - might be outside US but aren't the mobile subsidized in US. There was discussion in reddit about an article about Moto on how its going to change the way mobiles are purchased. One of the top commented reply was about people not willing to buy $400+ mobiles.

"There was discussion in reddit about an article about Moto on how its going to change the way mobiles are purchased. One of the top commented reply was about people not willing to buy $400+ mobiles."

Motorola is not going to change the way the vast majority of mobiles are purchased in the US, which is through carriers. No matter how many comments an article might have had on Reddit. Emerging markets (specifically: India) might have lots of people buying phones online, but the US has a long-established system which is extremely resistant to disruption. According to ComScore [1] in May 2015 Apple+Samsung had over 72% of the installed base of smartphones in the US. No reason for that to change in any hurry.

Observation: don't use the number of comments on articles on Reddit as a metric of anything except the number of comments on articles on Reddit.

[1] http://www.comscore.com/Insights/Market-Rankings/comScore-Re...

I pointed it out since the Op mentioned high society-economic classes buy iPhones. When in reality most are not willing to pay full price. If you see a user using iPhone in India then there is a good chance that he belongs to high income class(iPhone is a status symbol here since most are willing to buy older models for less price).

" iOS users make up a significant percentage of web traffic and are demographically the most valuable (generally of a higher socio-economic status)."

What good is that if they're blocking ads, so you can't monetize them?

As expected this is going to have a negative affect on ad revenues but what people forget is that publishers won't just accept lower revenues.

They're going innovate. The easiest thing to implement would be a paywall but after the paywall we are going to see a rise in microtransactions for content.

That being said there are advantages to the subscription model. Maybe, publishers will stop posting click-baity headlines and misleading content if they know they've got users locked down and dont have to worry about them going to other sources as much.

But, on the other hand microtransactions are going to make content even more click-baity in order to convince users to pay for the content based on a headline and abstract.

The web is 20 years old. I think if this was going to happen, it would have happened by now.

Outside of a few niches, people just aren't willing to pay to read websites.

What I could see happening is premium content being bundled by ISPs. Pay for X package from Y ISP, get content from A, B and C websites. Kind-of like how TV channels are bundled.

In all likelihood though, I think advertising will continue as is. Advertisers will just come up with cleverer ways of presenting it.

>The web is 20 years old. I think if this was going to happen, it would have happened by now.

That's a failure of imagination right there. It took decades for cable to come along and disrupt broadcast television. You never know what's going to happen.

Honestly, I think that we're already moving that direction-- Patreon is comparatively recent, but more and more people are finding that it's actually a viable "microtransaction/subscription" model for online content. The idea of paying a subscription model for some of the things on Patreon would have seemed silly a couple years ago, but I think we're starting to hit the ads-to-content noise/ratio level where people are actually seeing what the alternative looks like.

Before the web, it was quite standard for nearly everyone to pay for their daily newspaper. People obviously have no problem paying a little for the news. Take away quality free content, and natural human interest will lead to a successful pay model, possibly.

True, but I don't think it necessarily follows that they'd pay for the same content digitally.

One thing the web has shown us is that people still value tangible things differently to non-tangible things.

You also have to consider the reason's people paid for newspapers... it might have been the only way to get reliable content... to purport a certain image, social status or political allegiance... to keep in-line with peers - did you see this? did you read that?.. simply to pass time.

If you have a smartphone and five minutes to waste, you can cover all those bases without paying for a news article. You can use Facebook, Reddit, Youtube and discussion forums for subjects that interest you, for example.

Remember in the 90s when online store catalogues were pretty much just uploads of print catalogues - designed with pages of content and no search functionality. Or when people tried to make 'online malls' - directories of stores people might want to use in one visit, like they would a brick and mortar mall? They didn't work because the analog to digital conversion isn't just a straight upload process. It's much more complicated than that.

People interact with and consume digital content different to paper content. Just uploading and charging a few pence to read isn't going to work IMHO.

Music is somewhat intangible and widely available for free, but it appears it is also moving to a pay subscription model successfully.

But newspaper carried ads as well. It is where i live.

    What I could see happening is premium content being bundled
    by ISPs. Pay for X package from Y ISP, get content from A, B
    and C websites. Kind-of like how TV channels are bundled.
That's a different can of worms: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Net_neutrality

People need to stop using "net neutrality" whenever the idea of paying for something on the Internet comes up.

Paying _ISPs_ for content is exactly what net neutrality is about. I already pay my ISP to deliver bits. I'm not giving them a microcent more for the privilege of having all content that isn't in some "package" blocked or throttled.

The GP didn't say anything about blocking or throttling, merely that you'd pay to have access to content you wouldn't get otherwise and that ISPs could offer subscription bundles to their customers--pay $5/month and get unlimited access to the NYT and a bunch of other paywalled news sites.

Ah, I see. In that case, yes - there's no connection to net neutrality as long as they don't penalize anyone in any way for buying those subscriptions directly from the sites themselves (EDIT: or other sources... if i buy a sub on my ISP it should still be valid when I visit my parents who have a different ISP, etc).

That's a fair point: I didn't read the original suggestion to mean, "Your ISP acts as an agent to manage your paid site subscriptions" -- which, you're right, has nothing to do with net neutrality -- I just instantly jumped to the blocking/throttling conclusion.

Good, no more blogspam/clickbait crap.

Precisely! I'm all for this quite honestly.

Another way publishers can fight this, is to not show the content if they detect ad blocking.

Good. The 2015 web sucks for mobile. Advertising is out of control and there's never going to be regulation to control.

Thank you Apple!

Previous discussion https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9940202

I don't necessarily disagree, but there's also the possibility that mobile (and touch) is just a generally worse interface for navigation and content that a laptop or desktop PC.

It has been a while since I used a phone or even an iPad for anything, the quality of the interface seems more like a gimmick or something that you would only use as a last resort. To me touch is the part that doesn't work, combined with the small screen size.

Mobile Safari account for 10% of the whole browser market share (desktop + mobile) and ALL other platform already had the possibility of installing an adblocker, so I don't share the sensationalism of the article.

what is pushing the adblockers is the resurgence of annoying ads that spam windows all over the place and/or redirect the current page to a temporary site.

internet population at large can now use a search engine and look up 'block annoying advertisement' (first result, adblock plus) and 90% of them are in a position of installing an adblocker, Mobile Safari is just jumping late on the trend because awareness of it's customer, not because apple is ahead of the game.

Adblocking is already a thing on desktops/laptops and iOS 9 isn't going to ship with an Adblocker turned on or included. People will have to go download one in the App Store just like how they'd currently do in their desktop browsers.

The only thing happening is that the functionality is going to be added letting people do this. I suppose the fact that the App Store is really simple to use will make it easier on top of likely having a good Adblocker featured on top.

I'm already running iOS 9 dev build and have built my own Adblocker using the new APIs and it's been great, personally it makes me actually want to browse more content on my iPhone than before. Previously I'd just give up on some sites and switch to the laptop or not even load the content to begin with because of long loads and too many ads.

The amount of companies that are providing some form of tracking or advanced analytics based on traditional mobile advertising is pretty huge.

This could eventually be an event significant enough to kill a number of companies.

And when that happens it will be interesting to see what happens to all the user data they amassed. Good chances it will be a cross between the user data sale by RadioShack [1] and the scramble to acquire Nortel patents [2].

[1] http://www.forbes.com/sites/paularosenblum/2015/03/24/bankru...

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/jul/01/nortel-pat...

I think it is safe to assume that they will lobby to make ad blocking illegal before they go down.

And I for one would say: good riddance.

I've been a happy Android user for a long time, but mobile ads are so bad that I'm seriously considering switching to iOS just for the adblocking.

I use adblocking on Android for years. Have you tried this? https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdid=org.adaway

>Requires root: Yes

Some of us can't be bothered.

You are missing out.

No, not really.

On my desktop, I use Firefox with uBlock Origin. On my Android phone, I also use Firefox with uBlock Origin. shrug

If you're on Android, there are so many possible different solutions to the problem. You're not crippled to what Apple deem fit for you to have.

Off the top of my head, I can think of four more, other the suggestions in that blogpost.

- Firefox + uBlock. (Superb. Best mobile browsing experience.)

- Xposed Framework and something like UnbelovedHosts. (Probably root required)

- Ad-Free Time with MobiDNS. (Like $3 a month, additional benefits included. VPN/DNS redirect hybrid.)

- An ad-blocking proxy or VPN.

You aren't stuck waiting for a solution from a competitor that's late to the party.

We've been blocking adverts on Android for longer than Apple have let users change their onscreen keyboards...

Seconding Firefox with uBlock. Mozilla has made a big push, and Firefox for Android is a really great experience these days.

Good idea. Vote with your feet!

(Just switched, never looking back)

I see it as changing my phone from having 3 "pimps" (mobile operator + Samsung + Google) to having just 1 (Apple fending off the others). And for the price of a cup of coffee you get quite decent apps instead of freemium ad-supported, slow as hell, ugly garbage apps.

If you don't feel like enabling superuser (root) on the devices you own for system-wide ad blocking, Firefox for Android lets you install AdBlock Plus/Edge/etc. like any other extension and works quite well in my experience. When they stopped allowing those addons in mobile Chrome I started using mobile Firefox as my main browser and have been perfectly satisfied.

But yeah, if you don't mind setting it up so you can grant superuser permissions to something like Adfree Android, you get system-wide ad blocking which also gets rid of ads in most apps. Still, I haven't bothered in a while because good apps don't include really obnoxious ads and the good ones that offer free versions with unobtrusive ads deserve to make some money. If they're truly good apps, then I sorta feel bad when I don't even notice I'm using the free version because ads are blocked. There are a handful of apps where I fired them up on a new device before setting up Adfree and was reminded that I really ought to just shell out the $2-3 for the full version.

Why not use Firefox and an Ad-Blocking plugin?

They could be referring to the app landscape too.

There's adblocking for that as well. Adaway works decently. Xposed can even do more.

I'm a bit more torn on this one. I've used Adfree Android before in this way but for the most part, if an app is good, I'll buy the full version. If it's something I just use a few times for a single purpose (and it's still useful), I'd like the dev to at least see some payment for it. If it's utter shit and full of obtrusive and annoying ads, I'd rather just uninstall it and give it a bad rating.

So root it and get a device-wide ad blocker?

The security implications and trust you would have to give to such a tool is frighting. The adverts seem like the lesser of two evils.

Are you saying that iOS9 has hooks for ad blocking in Apps? I doubt that.

No but typically applications on iOS are more likely to off a non-ad supported version. So perhaps they just mean in general.

If you have SU/root, or build your own system.img you can use a hosts file to kill 99.9% of all in-app ads or apparently Adblock Plus has this feature too. The only time my hosts file failed was some simple weather app that refused to work when it detected no access to it's ad server so I rewrote it myself.

If you don't have root you can build your own VPN that can kill all ad traffic, a service that offers this must exist somewhere. If this all sounds too complicated buy an iPhone until Android enables an easy way to kill annoying mobile ads.

Another option is to use something like AdFree Android which includes a hosts file/blacklist that is frequently updated if you don't feel like making your own.

I use Privoxy at home to block Ads, only works connected on wifi at home but it's easy to setup.

There is adblocking on Android.

Ad blocking is very expensive. The iOS approach is the best idea. Have you seen the cost in memory and CPU of browser ad blocker extensions? That's prohibitive in mobile.

Adaway just modifies your /etc/hosts file to redirect ad domains to localhost. That definitely doesn't seem expensive...

Parsing a huge /etc/hosts for every single hostname lookup certainly is expensive.

I'm not sure what the practical limits are on host file size, but I just checked my phone with up to date AdAway lists and it's sitting at 56429 lines (with about 10 or so of those being comments)

It seems unlikely that it's actually implemented that way.

Have you tried Firefox and uBlock (maybe uBlock0, I forget) on a reasonable Android phone? It is amazing, and vastly superior to any other mobile browsing I've tried. Including Safari on an iPad.

If you can get root on your phone you can easily block 90% of advertising. The AdAway already mentioned is great but I also would suggest DroidWall and then you can effectively whitelist or blacklist any Android applications from using the network at all. Some apps only use your network connection to serve ads and in that case you just block those apps.

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