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Mobile Ad-blockers Finally Give Consumers Control

Every year we are presented with increasingly faster smartphones and tablets; however, our mobile browsing experience has stayed essentially the same. Most mobile websites assault our eyes with enormous banner ads or ugly pop-up ads, and slow our web-surfing to a crawl as they leisurely loaded their poorly optimized advertising trackers. For the most part, users have had no real way protest these intrusive ads.

With iOS 9, however, Apple upended the equation by giving users the option to speed up browsing by blocking unwanted content on the web. The day iOS 9 was released, ad-blocking and anti-tracking apps such as Crystal, Purify, and Peace shot to the top of the App Store’s most downloaded list.

Unsurprisingly, most advertisers and online publishers criticized the development of iOS ad-blockers. Given that Safari is the most popular mobile web browser, they argued that overuse of the software would hurt their revenues and force them to lock their content behind paywalls or into bankruptcy. As a result, the developer of Peace was pressured into removing his app, which, right before removal, had earned the title of top paid app in the United States. News websites also used their influence to tarnish the reputation of Crystal by writing overly negative articles about the app when its developer attempted to implement limited ad whitelisting.

Although this dirty conflict between ad blockers and advertisers will continue for the foreseeable future, the results are already yielding benefits. Websites such as AppleInsider have pledged to improve the quality of their ads. As long as consumers wield ad-blockers, websites will continually refine their advertising habits and the mobile Internet will drastically improve.



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