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Peace adblocker for iOS 9 is pulled by its author

September 18, 2015


Peace, the instant best-selling adblocker for iOS 9 devices, has been pulled from the iTunes App Store after less than two days by its author, Marco Arment, who now feels that his app blocks ads too indiscriminately and therefore does more harm than good.

Peace was one of the first adblockers to appear in the iTunes app store after the September 16 release of iOS 9 made it possible for the first time to block content in the mobile Safari web browser.

Marco Arment’s crisis of conscience, seemingly brought on by the huge success of his app, was reported Friday (September 18) in the Guardian newspaper.

No Peace for the wicked on iOS 9 or the developer

On Friday, Arment wrote a post on his blog titled “Just doesn’t feel good” in which he explained his sudden decision to pull Peace from the App Store.

“As I write this, Peace has been the number one paid app in the U.S. App Store for about 36 hours. It’s a massive achievement that should be the highlight of my professional career”.

But, Arment goes on to say, that the unanticipated degree of his success just doesn’t feel good.

“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”.

An inability on the part of his app to discriminate between those websites that do and those websites that don’t “deserve the financial “hit” of having their ads blocked, appears to be at the heart of his decision to pull it from the App Store.

Peace appears to be unable to allow users to unblock or “whitelist” specific websites — a discretionary feature common enough in desktop adblockers, such as AdBlock Plus and uBlock.

On iOS, explains Arment:

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.

So Arment is saying that Peace is too crude a tool — that it effectively punishes both the wicked and the just — and he appears to be laying much of the blame for that crudity at the feet of Apple’s mobile operating system for not being sophisticated enough to allow him to write a better app.

To all the people who purchased Peace, Arment says that the app will continue to work a long time for anyone who wants to continue using it; otherwise he is offering to refund the purchase price.

He suggests that Peace users consider switching to the competing iOS 9 adblock apps: Purify or Crystal and he recommends that on their desktop computers, people use the privacy add-on Ghostery, which Arment licensed for his Peace app. Click the image to enlarge it.

From → Apple, Internet

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