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#AdblockPlus and the Dodgy #Apple #Deal

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In case you didn't already know, alongside the recent iOS 9 update, Apple brought in a new version of Safari which includes support for the widely used, but controversial Adblock Plus add-on. As many predicted, advertisers have been up in arms about this decision, complaining that while it will make the browsing experience better for users, it will cost them millions in revenue.

The thing is, since the update was released, it's become gradually more clear that Adblock Plus have some pretty nefarious designs motivating them. Reports have suggested that, rather than just blocking everything, Adblock are rolling out an 'Acceptable Ads' scheme, in which advertisers can agree to give them a cut of their earnings in exchange for being struck off the block list. What this essentially means is that advertisers can pay to avoid being blocked, in spite of the fact that the service is touted as a barrier against all advertising.

It gets better though, one particular report claimed that the owners of Adblock Plus are actually paying off other blocking services to use the same policy, but only for advertisers who are on their approved list. Eyeo, the company in question, has disputed the accuracy of these accusations, but not actually denied them. Yikes.

Adblock have taken it further than just an official Safari extension though. Since then, they've released their own official web browser, which comes replete with far more detailed filtration settings for ads and malware. Interestingly, it also allows acceptable ads to be toggled, although it's on by default. It hasn't been out long enough to ascertain exactly how good it is as a browsing service, but having a dedicated browser designed specifically to keep advertising (mostly) at bay will surely appeal to a lot of people.

Morally, it's certainly a grey area. Online ads are intrusive and do a great deal of damage to the browsing experience much of the time, but a lot of sites really heavily on it for the revenue that keeps them running, mostly smaller sites that are still trying to carve out their mark, likely staffed primarily by people who are offering up their time voluntarily. You can, of course, choose to block ads on some sites and not others, but even then some web ads are legitimately for a good cause and worth paying attention to.

Conversely, what this will do is encourage advertisers to steer away from standard web advertising and get more creative. This is part of the reason why Apple did this deal in the first place, since it won't harm their predominantly app-based iAd service. Similarly Google are treating it as an opportunity to get a bit more creative with AdSense, but then it's hardly surprising that such massive, moneyed firms would be unruffled by this sort of thing, it's smaller businesses that are liable to feel the pinch, as is often the case with these sorts of 'adapt to survive' situations.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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#AdblockPlus and the Dodgy #Apple #Deal Reviewed by Callum Davies on Saturday, September 19, 2015 Rating: 5

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