Ad Blocking iOS: Not The End of the World

Contrary to what a lot of online chatter says I do not believe that ad blocking on iOS 9 will destroy the internet as we know it. It is not the end of the world, although it might feel like it for a lot of lazy online advertising firms.

For a number of years aggressive advertisers have had free rein on iOS, adding as many trackers, scripts and obnoxious pop-ups as they wished. You know who you are! They have cost many millions of iOS device users money and time that they shouldn’t have had to give up. Not only that, they have lowered people’s enjoyment online. I would guess that many of the people most affected by these data-plan/battery-life pits didn’t even realize that a good portion of their monthly data bill was being devoted to processes running in the background. Those who were not even aware of it obviously didn’t explicitly opt into it. I believe that is the clearest argument in favour of ad blocking (content blocking) in iOS.

Content blockers will give the average user a way to tell the advertisers that enough is enough.

There there will probably be a mini-boom on the App Store when apps such as Crystal and Peace become available very shortly and I think that the developers whose apps empower users should be rewarded.

I understand that advertising is necessary to pay for a very large portion of the content online but I strongly object to how that advertising has generally been carried out. The browsing experience on iOS devices has gotten progressively worse since they gained popularity and that is not the fault of the content or perhaps even the advertisements themselves. It is due to the lazy and invasive way that advertising companies attempt to mine as much data from the viewers as possible in hopes that they can gain a slight amount of added revenue. Whether the viewers intend to buy online or not they are essentially being billed by the advertisers, and the revenue is not even going to the sites they view but to their service providers. This does seem wrong and does not fit into any reasonable model of the contract that exists between the viewers of the site content and the content providers. I know that some well-known sites, such as Daring Fireball, do attempt to monetize without resorting to such tactics. It definitely seems like it is possible. It should be possible.

Ad blocking is not the end of the world as some sponsored publications would try to have you believe. It is simply a wake up call for all of those abusers out there. It is time for a renaissance in advertising. It is time for content providers and advertisers to find new and innovative ways to sell products or services while providing the content that users want. It is time for them to take a deep breath, sit back and rethink how they will do business.

Who knows, they might even be able to find effective ways to sell that are not met with the current diminishing returns they are seeing in spite of their aggressive tactics.

Wouldn’t that be a win for all concerned?

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