Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

GigaOm’s Terrible Reporting of the New AdBlock Plus Browser

Nathaniel Mott, in a GigaOm piece titled “AdBlock Plus Comes to iOS Ahead of Apple’s Ad-Blocking Tools”:

The company behind AdBlock Plus, Eyeo, has been trying to make its way into the smartphone market for a while. It has visited Android smartphones a few times over the last several years, and now it’s debuted on the iPhone just a day before Apple is expected to make ad-blocking a part of its mobile web browser.

This is bad reporting for a mainstream publication, but inexcusable for a tech-centric publication like GigaOm.

iOS 9 does not include an ad blocker. Content blockers — some of which will be ad blockers, while others will block other things that junk up the web, such as comment sections — will be available from third-party developers in the App Store. Users must download and activate them manually.

Furthermore, iOS 9 is probably not going to be released tomorrow. If Apple holds true to their year-to-year pattern, as they are wont to do, it will be released on September 16 at 10:00 AM Pacific. At least, that’s what I’m counting on — big reviews take time.

Then there’s this:

…large companies like Microsoft, Taboola, and Google have all paid Eyeo to have their advertisements included on the “whitelist,” effectively making AdBlock Plus an extortion tool.

That explains some of Eyeo’s discomfort about Apple’s new ad-blocking tools, as shown by its attempts to spread fear, uncertainty, and doubt about them. If people use Safari extensions instead of AdBlock Plus’ new dedicated browser, Eyeo can’t convince large companies to pay to have their ads on the whitelist.

Why not? The format for content blockers in Safari is ridiculously easy to understand. All Eyeo needs to do is port their list over to Apple’s format, and use ignore-previous-rules instead of block to show ads from the providers they’ve extorted.

The Guardian article that’s linked in that quote, by the way, is equally stupid:

Apple has not said whether its content blocking system will be used for preventing adverts within browsers. The company runs an advertising service called iAds within applications that run on iPhones and iPads and is unlikely to adopt a system that could damage its own revenue stream.

iAds run in apps. Content blockers apply only to Safari and Safari View Controllers within apps. Why is this so difficult for people to understand?