The debate within the tech and news industries about the moral rights and wrongs of ad-blocking apps is reaching boiling point, fuelled by the fact that within days of Apple allowing these apps for devices running its iOS 9 software, several were hovering near the top of its paid-app chart.
One of those, Peace, has since been removed from the store by its creator, developer Marco Arment. “Achieving this much success with Peace just doesn’t feel good, which I didn’t anticipate, but probably should have,” he wrote in a blog post. “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… Even though I’m ‘winning’, I’ve enjoyed none of it. That’s why I’m withdrawing from the market.”
Arment had been criticised by publishers for making tens of thousands of dollars a day from an app that explicitly enabled iOS users to block ads, and thus reduce the income of free, ad-supported news sites. Yet with plenty of competition remaining on the App Store, the debate isn’t dying down with Peace’s removal.