“Apple is killing off the small players.”
“We rely on that ad revenue, we can’t survive without it.”
“They (Apple) are going to ruin the internet!!!”
These are just some things people have said to me since iOS 9 launched last week with adblockers officially supported. Just days after they launched, adblockers are now topping the App Store all over the world. The concern is that a major dent will be put in revenue streams of blogs and websites who depend on that ad revenue to function.
However, Apple has been offering a sanctuary from the dreaded adblockers. They have been reaching out to spooked publishers and striking agreements to have exclusive content on the Apple News app for a limited period of time. Wired is just one example of a publication who has taken Apple up on the offer and you can bet there will be more to come.
However, Apple are not to blame for this. Apple are not the ones who are ‘destroying’ the internet, Apple are not out to kill off blogs and small websites. The only people to really blame for this? Publishers and advertisers.
The internet has become a mess and the blame lies at the feet of publishers and advertisers for the most part. Now, before you get too angry with me let me clarify that not all publishers are to blame and there are many of us that know how to use ads in moderation. However, the majority of sites have allowed themselves to become overloaded with aggressive ads that take up huge page space, slow down load times and suck up data.
Ads which are so in your face by now they just ruin the entire user experience and go well beyond what anyone should have to endure. Pages which have 3-4 adverts all over the place and dreaded popups too. So why are people so surprised that adblockers have become so popular on the App Store?
It was always going to happen this way, advertisers who operate online have gotten away with using aggressive adverts to now and users have just put up with it. As a result, advertising has become more and more aggressive over the past number of years and while you may get some readers on your side, the majority of readers will not be sympathetic to publishers plight because in case you have not figured it out yet, readers hate adverts.
No doubt that there will be some amount of anger towards Apple now as you are essentially going to get parts of the internet which are exclusive to Apple users, which is fine for me as I am an Apple user however if you use an Android or a Windows phone device and you want to read that Wired story….well you will need an iPhone to do it.
So how do we move forward? Well the challenge now lies at the feet of the individual publishers to figure that out. Adblockers are not going away, they are here to stay and they are now becoming more mainstream than before with iOS 9. Some people have suggested to me that a donations based model be put in place on websites. However, there is no guarantee that anyone will actually hit that donate button either.
I have been very impressed with iMore’s recent venture. They have started to write fantastic guides and ebooks for Apple software and products which you can buy from iBooks. Maybe that could be a way forward, it is certainly the best idea I have seen so far.