As mentioned in the post Publishers panic as Apple cleans their mobile platform from banner ad addiction, the creator of "Peace" ad blocker for iOS9, Marco Arment, decided to pull his app from the Apple store because it "Just doesn’t feel good".
Achieving this much success with Peace just doesn’t feel good, which I didn’t anticipate, but probably should have. Ad blockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve the hit.
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.
He bemoans that all ads area treated the same, a simple structure in a blocklist that will sweep good or bad under the same rule. We've seen this before, when Norton Internet Explorer killed entire websites but failed to kill ads, which drove us to switching domains because the whole "Ad-" things is what made our site unbrowsable. Some folks - ironically, Apple included - could buy themselves off the block-list. Now that ever popular Apple have opened their OS to the ability of ad-blocking more people are discovering the downside of the arms race between Ad Blockers and Banner ads. If only we could get along.
I know I wrote a piece similar to this, mid-nineties, warning about how spam might eventually kill email. As advertisers and marketers, it's in our interest to see that there are rules around our advertising spaces, and to enforce them. At this point it is too late. There's no longer a chance of making a "Geneva convention", in our banners & spam vs consumer & device war, when banner-hijacking and likejacking "terrorists", are aiming to get into everyones PC for various nefarious reasons. Consumers need to protect their data, that they are trusting into their device, and the roads out to the open internet are now increasingly patrolled by Apple and Google.
Ad-blocking is a kind of war — a first-world, low-stakes, both-sides-are-fortunate-to-have-this-kind-of-problem war, but a war nonetheless, with damage hitting both sides. I see war in the Tao Te Ching sense: it should be avoided when possible; when that isn’t possible, war should be entered solemnly, not celebrated.
Sadly, when ads have been carrying payloads of maleware for as often and as long as it has, the war already began long ago. Welcome to the wild west known as the internet, where the biggest robber baron wins.