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On Blocking Ads: Apple Draws a Line

How are advertisements of today like their print ancestors, and what can we learn from how users react to those?

· Mobile Zone

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There's been a discussion on Twitter this evening about ad-blockers now that Apple has enabled users of iOS to install ad-blocking plugins into their Safari browser. Note that this is not at the OS level and there is no default ad-blocker. The user has to choose to go to the App Store, install an ad-blocker app and then go to Settings → Safari and enable the app.

As we all know, Twitter isn't ideal for conversations requiring even a little bit of nuance, so I'm writing my thoughts here on my blog where I have more room!

Personally, I draw parallels with the older printed medium of a magazine. A magazine has adverts printed on the same physical piece of paper as the article and also comes with lots of separate ads that are inserted into the magazine. I think that reader of the magazine is free to remove the paper inserts without looking at them, put them in the bin and then read the magazine.

Translating to the web, I think that an ad that's served as part of the HTML from the web server is conceptually similar to being printed on the same piece of paper as the advert. Similarly, any ad that is served from a different server and inserted via JavaScript can be considered to be like an insert and may be removed without reading. This argument holds for me as the ad is distinct from the HTML content to such an extent that DNS may not even resolve to the other server or the user's web browser may not support JS (e.g. lynx) and the original article is still provided to the user. As such, an ad-blocker is conceptually the same as a personal assistant that removes the inserts before putting the magazine on the boss' desk. However, with computers, we can all afford a PA if we want one.

Hence, if you're an content producer and want to serve ads on the web, then serve them as HTML with your article and do not use JavaScript. If you do this, then your add will be visible to your readers as content blockers won't catch it.

In this particular case, I see it as no different from the Pop-ups section in Chrome:

Chrome pop-ups

Like ads served from a different domain, I see popups as "inserts", so I'm happy to have the browser not show them. Other people feel that disabling pop-ups interferes with the publisher's right to monetise and so allow all sites to show pop-ups.

It's all about where you draw the line.

Thanks @CalEvans, @codeguy, @Oramius & @JT_Grimes for the civilised discussion. Please feel free to continue the discussion via Twitter or write an article your own blog and ping back!

The Mobile Zone is brought to you in partnership with Strongloop and IBM.  Visually compose APIs with easy-to-use tooling. Learn how IBM API Connect provides near-universal access to data and services both on-premises and in the cloud.

mobile,ios 9 feature,apple,advertising relationship

Published at DZone with permission of Rob Allen, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.

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