Adblock Plus and (a little) more

Peace out ... and long live Crystal · 2015-09-20 12:31 by Ben Williams

A lot of people have been asking us what we think about Marco Arment pulling his Peace iOS ad blocking app out of the Apple App Store after just two days. The answer is …

I applaud him. But probably not for the reason that you think.

Marco is an upstanding guy, and as he watched his ad blocker race to the top of the App Store leaderboard, he started to feel uneasy about what he had wrought. But if you look beyond the media headlines and actually read Marco’s original post, you’ll see that he clearly says, “I still believe that ad blockers are necessary today …”

In fact, Marco outlines a brilliant argument for why ad blockers should not be demonized in his post on the ethics of modern ad blocking. Like I said, I really applaud this guy!

The reason why he pulled Peace from the store is because this particular implementation of ad blocking was “too blunt.” That’s what he was feeling uneasy about. In Marco’s own words:

Peace required that all ads be treated the same — all-or-nothing enforcement for decisions that aren’t black and white. This approach is too blunt, and Ghostery and I have both decided that it doesn’t serve our goals or beliefs well enough. If we’re going to effect positive change overall, a more nuanced, complex approach is required than what I can bring in a simple iOS app.

A more nuanced approach is, of course, allowing some Acceptable Ads like we do at Adblock Plus. In fact, Dean Murphy, the developer of the other iOS ad blocker success story Crystal, is planning on integrating Acceptable Ads and our whitelist into his app so that Crystal isn’t an all-or-nothing enforcement. Crystal is a well-engineered app and if you don’t want to wait for our Adblock Plus for iOS app to launch (Apple tells us it will be approved “any day” now), we can recommend Crystal with confidence.

On a final note, in the passage above you might have picked up that Marco/Peace was working with Ghostery. There’s nothing sinister about that, as those of us in the ad blocking community share quite a bit with each other. Dean/Crystal is working with us at Adblock Plus on the Acceptable Ads integration. In fact we’re helping several developers out with integration logistics and even paying some of their costs when they want to incorporate Acceptable Ads. We’re proud to be able to help them, because at the end of the day we’re all fighting on the same side for consumers’ rights. We have this massive open-source effort that creates the EasyList and EasyPrivacy, and we want everyone (even our ‘competitors’, if you can even call them that, since our app is free) to enjoy the fruits of that effort. It’s the will of the people.

So … the power is in your hands, people. Install Crystal … or wait for Adblock Plus for iOS … and, Peace out.

Comment [5]

  1. Mattias · 2015-09-20 21:56 · #

    I just checked the ad block browser, which I’m not interested in using, and noticed that you have the Romanian list for example but not the swedish one. Why is that? Will you please add the swedish list to the content blocker?

    Reply from Wladimir Palant:

    Our filter lists are created and maintained by volunteers. For whatever reason, there is currently no active filter list for Swedish websites. There were some in the past but I guess that these contributors lots interest.

  2. Ben Deho · 2015-09-21 18:26 · #

    Will the list of acceptable whitelisted ads be de-selectable like it is in the current browser version of adblock plus, in the iOS extension? For those of us who find no ads to be acceptable? ;-)

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Of course :) That will never change in any new ABP product.

  3. Mark 2000 · 2015-09-22 17:07 · #

    I’ve got to say, I’m a little annoyed at the condescension of ad blockers toward their customers. I don’t understand why it’s up to you or anyone else to decide what an acceptable ad is. I’m glad there is a way to turn off whitelists and also create your own filters on the desktop (there are other annoying things on webpages besides ads). That isn’t looking likely on iOS.

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Appreciate the concern, Mark, but you’ll of course be able to turn off the whitelist on iOS 9.

  4. Jesse · 2015-09-27 21:25 · #

    Still in review?

    Reply from Ben Williams:

    Afraid so :/ At this point it CAN“T be too much longer. Hang in there!

  5. Lily · 2015-10-24 06:51 · #

    Adblockers are definitely needed today. These popups are really annoying. Thanks for the post!

    Reply from Ben Williams:


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