War and Peace: Ad blocker dev Marco Arment pulls #1 rated app over guilty conscience

Ad Blocker 2-1

Apple’s support for building Safari ad blockers in iOS 9 was sure to be controversial as they negatively and directly impact writers/publications like us here at 9to5Mac and others that rely on advertising for revenue. And while a few ad blockers climbed the App Store’s top paid chart this week, the highest ranked Safari content blocker has been pulled after being sold for just 48 hours. Developer Marco Arment announced today that he decided to pull his ad blocker app Peace from sale, citing that it “just doesn’t feel good” to [profit from] the negative impact to “many who don’t deserve the hit.”

Notably, the Peace content blocking app was a paid utility, which in itself is controversial as it requires readers to pay for the ability to view already free content on the web while preventing writers from accessing a key revenue stream.

Quartz’s Dan Frommer wrote yesterday that the $2.99 app had already sold 12,000 copies in its short run, which amounts to over $35,000 in sales (with 30% going to Apple). Now as the ad blocker will no longer be actively supported (although it will continue to work), Arment is actively encouraging customers to request a refund through the App Store.

That process isn’t completely straightforward, however, as the App Store doesn’t encourage buyer refunds. Users that did purchase the now dead ad blocker can follow Apple’s support document for steps on how to request a refund for an App Store purchase. The process begins at reportaproblem.apple.com to start.


As ever, we actively encourage 9to5Mac readers to avoid using ad blockers when reading our work, whitelisting 9to5 channels if running one, and providing feedback when ads are presented in a distasteful way as we want to create a fair and positive experience. We’re working all the time to reduce the ads and scripts that our site uses and have recently begun sponsored partner posts which remove all house ads for the day. 

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

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  1. Poyan P Varg - 8 years ago

    Why oh why. If people support ads and want to see ads they don’t have to install ad-blockers. This thing has gotten out of hands..people are so emo right now. Wow..seriously, you have the choice NOT to install ad-blockers..and you have the option to do it if you don’t want an ugly and slow and expensive web experience. Simple.

    I mean, seriously fuck these writers, they should have to go out and get jobs like the rest of us.

    • Tony Bowens - 8 years ago

      You left out the part where if everyone installed an ad blocker this and most other sites would go out of business.

      • Poyan P Varg - 8 years ago

        Eh, if you want to play that game.. this site and most other sites would go out of business if people didn’t have smartphones.. lets get real instead…You think these writers care about your kids eating? I hope this site goes down in flames.

      • This, and other sites like this, could just create an app and host in-app ads instead. You don’t have to use a browser.

      • Tony Bowens - 8 years ago


        That is in fact Apple’s plan around all of this.
        Adding ad blockers is a ploy to force content blockers into it’s newly minted News app, which does have ads, but apple takes a cut of them.

      • srgmac - 8 years ago

        Everyone said that when the internet was really getting popular, that journalism would be dead, and print newspapers would all die off, it would change everything for the worst, everyone’s going to go out of business, lose money, etc. etc. etc. etc. NY Times is still around, so is Washington Post, so are 1000s of smaller papers — if anything, they’ve gotten more viewers now because they offer more content online. Some charge subscription fees for back dated content, I think that’s the way to go. There has got to be a better way to support a site you like than allowing them to invade your privacy with these ridiculous ads and trackers — I’m not saying that’s what 9to5Mac does, I’m just saying that it’s become absolutely unbearable with these targeted ads, and these ad tracking companies. If they could, they would install a microphone / video camera in your house and sell off viewing / listening time to their customers, and make it so every time you say some kind of brand name, they would know about it. Where does it end? I want my privacy back, that’s why I use an ad blocker. If you want me to support your website, I’ll donate — but don’t ask me to give up my privacy.

      • auntietroal - 8 years ago

        “Free with obnoxious ads” is not the only allowed business model on this planet.
        Innovate already.

      • suchkunt - 8 years ago

        Tony do you even think before you post?

        There was this thing called the internet way back in 1996. MOST of the content was completely user-created and 100% ad-free.

        And somehow it survived, shocking I know. ANd believe it or not, your searches back then didn’t have nothing but garbage for the first three pages of results.

        The only thing that would happen if adblockers became universal? The best content would switch to a subscription model and a bunch of barely-educated or worthless-degree-having “writers” would have to try to get real jobs.

      • Jurgis Ŝalna - 8 years ago

        This website started as a small blog focused on Apple rumours.
        Later on it started to bloat and owners got greedy.

      • Kenneth Worthington - 8 years ago

        Well if they go out of business, then they didn’t have a product that was worth charging for. Just because their business model doesn’t work, doesn’t mean I have to carry the weight. I want to be a fashion model, but since I’m 4’5 and just as wide, do I need to adjust my expectations, or do people need to accept more types of people as fashionable? If you want to be a paid writer, either work somewhere for a paycheck, or charge for your work. If people won’t pay, then you don’t have a business. It’s as simple as that.

      • iSRS - 8 years ago

        Completely disagree, Kenneth, that if there were no ads, and they went out of business, then they didn’t have a product worth paying for.

        TV, radio, and then Google set the expectations long ago. Certain things people are conditioned to not pay for.

        I’d argue the Google is the “worst” when it comes to “everything should be free” mindset because most people are fine paying for cable tv, many for satellite radio, but far fewer for apps and web content. And I do blame, not exclusively, but certainly largely, Google

    • Tony Bowens - 8 years ago

      Are you saying web sites wouldn’t exist if there weren’t content to write about?
      And that means people shouldn’t get compensated for the content they create?
      You’ve lost me entirely.

      • Komrad - 8 years ago

        The market decides who gets paid and who doesn’t. The act of doing work by itself does not result in getting paid. There’s more to it. Try it. Go outside and mow someone’s lawn and see if they pay you for doing something that they did not agree to pay you for beforehand. Or pick up garbage from the grocery store parking lot and ask the store manager to compensate you. You did useful work that store owner appreciated, but you did not get paid.

        Imagine that.

        Truth is, that game has changed and if you need to adapt or change occupations. I went through this myself when I was a computer parts wholesaler before sites like Amazon and Newegg existed. Once they came online, I discovered that I could not compete with their prices and so I got out of the business.

    • Tony Bowens - 8 years ago

      I mean as far as I can tell your argument is that if things didn’t exist in the world there wouldn’t be anything to talk about.
      While that’s certainly true I’m having a hard time understanding what you’re trying to assert with that.

    • Rio (@Crzy_rio) - 8 years ago

      If that is the case then I say, people who use AdBlockers should pay a fee to view websites.

      No reason those enjoying a better experience for free.

      • suchkunt - 8 years ago

        Leftist thinking in action ladies and gentlemen. “Let’s make something so shitty that people will pay money to get a less-shitty version of it.”

        Or rather “Let’s punish technically savvy users for daring to do better for themselves”

        The thing about this model is that if consuming content becomes too irritating, people will stop consuming that content.

      • Kenneth Worthington - 8 years ago

        I agree. There should be a Log-in-and-pay-here portal, or there should be a “view here for free” with ads side. But there isn’t.

  2. iSRS - 8 years ago

    “As ever, we actively encourage 9to5Mac readers to avoid using ad blockers when reading our work, whitelisting 9to5 channels if running one, and providing feedback when ads are presented in a distasteful way as we want to create a fair and positive experience.”

    I haven’t installed any. And I won’t. Sites that use crappy cover ads, I screen shot and report to them. No response? No future visits. A response that accepts zero responsibility? No future visits. Sites that acknowledge the issue and work to prevent it in the future? I’ll keep visiting.

    Treat me right as a reader/customer? I can deal with your ads.

    • Seth Weintraub - 8 years ago

      Thanks. I feel this way too. I wish more people did.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 8 years ago

      Great attitude – thanks.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      This is a great response. Thanks for reading and supporting!

    • Komrad - 8 years ago

      Technology is killing our business model. Stop using technology!

      Instead, I say, let the market decide what stays and what goes. When cable tv disappears , cable companies will have to adapt. When self driving cars become mainstream , taxi drivers will have to adapt .

      When web advertisements become obsolete , businesses that rely on ad income will have to adapt.

  3. markbyrn (@markbyrn) - 8 years ago

    Why is it that only iOS users should be guilty? Ad-blockers have been used on desktop browsers and Android long before Apple allowed it with iOS 9. Spare us the guilty conscience.

    • Tony Bowens - 8 years ago

      Because despite being 70% of the market mobile Chrome users are only 35% of the market.
      Safari is over 40% and iOS users use it far more extensively, and both have more money and are more likely to spend money than their Android counterparts.
      They aren’t equivalent markets so the impact is not the same, so it’s not an understatement to note this as a much larger deal.

      • markbyrn (@markbyrn) - 8 years ago

        so you’re saying that only iOS users should be prevented from using ad blockers because they have the majority of mobile market share? Nah, that kind of logic buffoonery only firms the commitment to use the ad blockers and there’s plenty of other choices such as Purify. As somebody else noted, Armant should of thought this thru before releasing the app instead of confirming to me that he’s a flake.

      • epicflyingcat - 8 years ago

        @markbyrn adblockers for Chrome are actually blocked on Google Play. It’s really not very easy to block ads on Android so most people don’t do it. On iOS it’s now a lot easier to install an adblocker than on Android (I doubt that’ll change anytime soon) so this is a big deal.

    • Tony Bowens - 8 years ago

      No I’m not saying that at all.
      I’m saying the impact of one group outsizes the other by a large degree and nothing more.

    • nelson1112233 - 8 years ago

      This extensions are free, he’s writing an extension that’s paid.

  4. Tayseer (@taedouni) - 8 years ago

    Ad blockers were created because of the abuse of advertisers and websites that used horrendous advertising methods. Some of them being redirects to the app store, malicious advertisements (mostly on Windows PC), ads that slow down the web browser. In the past there have been some websites that I just couldn’t stand viewing on iOS due to the ads causing instabilities.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      We’ve always tried to be proactive in making sure those types of ads never get through on 9to5. When that annoying rash of ads that redirect to the App Store automatically was going around a while back, we were reporting the culprits and making sure Google didn’t serve them here anymore as often as possible. Same for those kind that take over the screen or redirect readers. We want our ads to be as non-intrusive as possible because we respect you guys and don’t want you to have a crappy experience.

      • You have a large enough following, that you could start direct ad placement (i.e. place an ad from the company selling the product), instead of intrusive Google Ads and other crap. There are other methods, but instead sites like this and other far worse offenders like the Verge (the worst) and the new Heroic Hollywood, have ads in the header, footer, over images (see Droid-Life), side bars and Pop-Usp. The worst are the pop-ups that take a little while to load, so that when viewing on a mobile device, you wait a second and then touch the display to scroll down, then the ad pops up causing an accidental click/tap and then re-directs you to another page, another site or worse, out of that browser into another app altogether. Let’s not forget those fun ads that play sound automatically. The ones you can’t figure out which one it is and where it is, so you’re scrolling all over the place to find it. I would have paid Apple $10 to let me just click one button to mute them instantly, instead, they gave me the option for free.

        It is frustrations like these, that drive people to want to use ad blockers. I’m REALLY sorry, truly I am, that it takes money out of your pocket. But the annoyance level has been intolerable and I’m just not going to deal with it anymore. For .99, I can avoid all the intrusive ads, have a faster, safer web browsing experience. It’s the best .99 I have ever spent.

      • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

        Hey Mike, you may have noticed that we’re actually doing a bit of direct advertising already. We offer different types of direct ad sales (9to5mac.com/advertise) and on the days where we have a sponsor campaign, we shut off all but one google ad (specifically, it’s the google ad in the middle of each post, which belongs to the individual author and lets them get paid).

        We think this is a pretty good setup for us and for readers, and we’re hoping to run many more campaigns like it in the future. However, since we don’t have those types of campaigns running every day right now, google ads are currently more effective at allowing us to keep paying our bills (this is a full time job for just about everyone working here, and our primary source of income). On the days when we’re running google ads, we make sure that they’re done in as non-intrusive a way as possible.

        BTW, if you spot any ads playing sound automatically, please email us and let us know which one it is. We don’t allow those, but sometimes crafty advertisers try to sneak them by us. We report them whenever we find out about them to ensure they don’t run here.

      • In that case Mike, I’ll add 9to5Mac to my list of “unblocked” sites. I love the site and as I said, you’re not the worst offenders. The Verge and their damn drop down ads and heroic hollywood are two that stand out to me.

        So I’ll toss you all a bone. You’re good with me.

      • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago


      • scogre - 8 years ago

        I have to give smal. Props. About a month and a half ago you had an ad on the mobile site that started being stuck to the bottom of the screen that even when you hit close, wouldn’t close. I emailed you guys and it seemed to be fixed quickly.

        But I have to tell you, when I go on Amazon and buy something, the next two-three months I get ads on your site about it. It’s just annoying. The ads are not effective. They are not what I want to be advertised to about.

        Another great example is AT&T. If I use the mobile site to go public my bill, I get ads for you then on your site for the next month.

        The ad networks you are using are just annoying more than anything. It’s also a travesty the amount of data and battery power that are being wasted on this stuff.

        I am one of your loyal readers that has installed the Peace content-blocker. I am torn what to do because I value the site and I really value the content. You have a great stable of writers. But I compare this to another experience I had recently. I am not a big Facebook user, but I logged on a couple months back after two years and it was shocking how much crap and advertising was on the page. I was blown away at how cluttered it had become.

        I compare this to 9to5mac. Great site. With an adblocker, even more incredible. But I want to support you. So here I am in a limbo world. Loving what I have now and dreading going back to what you want me to experience. I wish there was a better way.

      • scogre - 8 years ago

        Lots of autocorrect issues in that. Sorry. I hope you can understand what I was trying to say. :)

  5. Paul Allen (@starxd) - 8 years ago

    Wow, this is some BS. I’m one of the 12,000 people who got suckered by Marco into buying his now dead app. F*** you. And he wants me to waste valuable time and energy to request a refund? F*** you again! Why don’t YOU go through the hassle with Apple and arrange for a refund to all 12,000 of us who bought it? YOU are the one who caused this mess so you should fix it.

    Marco, you should have thought this through before you developed this app. You knew exactly what the consequences of an ad blocker would be. Blogs and sites will lose money. That’s NO surprise to anyone. So why put it out in the first place if that is something you’re so worried about? You’re just upset because a few of your friends are losing money and saying bad things about you, so you screw over 12,000 paying customers. Well guess what? I’m uninstalling Overcast and I will never buy anything else you put out. Not that it matters because you’re stupid rich… which makes me wonder again, why the hell did you make this app in the first place???

    • He doesn’t want his tech / blogger bum buddies to lose money.

      • srgmac - 8 years ago

        He should have thought of that before submitting the App to Apple then — come on now, how long did he have to think about this before he even started development work!?

      • The funny thing is all his tech/blogger buddies promoted the hell out of Peace and encouraged people using content blockers to use Marco’s. Then Marco pulls the app and is very vague as to why. We may never know the actual reasons. I think it’s possible Ghostery decided they didn’t want him using their database once they saw how successful the app became. Ghostery may want to build their own blocker and be the only one using their database.

    • My theory, someone or some entity paid him to remove it. Why do I believe this? Well, it’s one thing to remove the app and be happy you made 35K (minus Apple’s cut), it’s another thing to highly encourage people to request a refund from Apple. Unless…. you’re being compensated for taking the app down in the first place.

      For you naysayers, don’t give me the BS spin that he felt bad after the fact. If he had a conscience, he wouldn’t have made the app in the first place. You really want me to believe that while sitting behind his computer, making this app, programing it, designing the icon and whatnot, the thought never occurred to him, that he’d be hurting blogs who make money on ads? BS. He knew, he just didn’t care. He didn’t care until a big offer came his way. He took the pay day and walked.

    • Inaba-kun (@Inaba_kun) - 8 years ago

      Well said, the guy is frankly an idiot and I’ll certainly never buy anything he writes again.

    • Mile Kitic - 8 years ago

      I’ve always considered Arment to be a hypocritical b***h, so this comes as no surprise. I am truly sorry for every cent you and the thousands of other people have wasted.

  6. technicalconclusions - 8 years ago

    While I’m a fan of Marco’s ATP podcast, I feel this was a poor decision on his part. The time to consider whether making an ad block was right or wrong has passed. Once he committed to posting it on the Apple Store and people purchased his product in good faith, I believe there is more shame in declaring the product will no longer be supported. Shame on you Marco.. that was a lousy move.

    • It’s not his podcast. It’s his, Casey’s and Siracusa’s. And frankly, Siracusa is the only one who really knows what he’s talking about

      • I listen to ATP for Casey and Suracusa. Marco chimes in from time to time, but his opinions are pretty pompous at times. I wouldn’t complain he he left the podcast altogether.

  7. Kaloyan (@hellokalo) - 8 years ago

    I use Ghostery on desktop safari to block trackers from google and facebook, and Crystal isn’t very straightforward about its tracker-blocking..

  8. rogifan - 8 years ago

    Can someone explain why he put the app out there in the first place? He had to have some idea what the impact would be. Pulling it from the store after thousands of people have downloaded it is kind of a dick-ish move imo.

  9. cevatkerim - 8 years ago

    if the ads were not so obtrusive, I’d have no problem letting them be but they are not. That’s why I set up a vpn server with thousands of dans rules and I don’t see any ads now anywhere. In-app ads are also gone. A few ruined it for all others the way I see it. I also block all analytics sites too. I don’t feel bad at all. I support sites I like, like 9to5, by buying stuff using their affiliate links.

  10. Tom@L (@_ArcTic_FiRe) - 8 years ago

    well he got paid out by ad generating companies. Simple as that. Simple business.

    • markbyrn (@markbyrn) - 8 years ago

      yeah, you might be right about; the guilty conscience scenario doesn’t compute.

    • Komrad - 8 years ago

      What a sell out. At least give me the code and the $35k so that everyone who bought it isn’t shafted.

      Then I will be the evil guy with the ad blocker app and he will be innocent.

      He’s happy, customers are happy , I’m $35k richer happy…. See? Everyone’s happy!

  11. hydrovacing - 8 years ago

    Sure I’ll ask Apple for a refund but it’s going to be a least $100.00 for that app, not what I paid for it.

  12. dennyc69 - 8 years ago

    I’m going to re-post my comments from MacWorld here, because I believe this strongly about the subject:

    Yeah I bought it, and was glad I did but not for the reasons you might think. Agencies like DoubleClick and other Ad networks put up offense and otherwise bad ads. They leave a website open to malware attacks and the content is as relevant as a lump of rock.

    Like other users, It’s my business where I go on the internet, and don’t need something tracking me to give out data I don’t want anyone to have especially when I’m not asked if it’s okay to do.

    Ad agencies have taken advantage of website owners and users to support their own gains to raise their profit margins at the expense of other people. It’s time to change this and I hope the companies feel the burn ad blockers are leaving in their wake.

    I have and will always be supportive of websites like (9to5 Mac), and see this as an opportunity for (9to5 Mac) and it’s team to take it to the next level offering better and richer ways to get content out in a more creative way, not just adding a pay wall.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      Unfortunately right now ads are the most effective way to ensure that we have a large reader base (free content is always more popular, and in my opinion a better way to go when possible) but there are very few ways to get paid for free content.

      All the brainstorming in the world won’t change the fact the money has to come from somewhere, whether that’s your pocket or from advertisers. For most people, paying out-of-pocket for every site they read wouldn’t be feasible, and if the costs were low enough that it could be feasible to those people, the sites would likely suffer.

      • auntietroal - 8 years ago

        The world is waiting for a subscription network or good microtransaction system to step in here.
        There’s a big opportunity to be had.

        Ads are not the be-all-end-all.

      • I don’t think the word “free” means what you think it does. What publishers charge their visitors to view their “content” is OUTRAGEOUS. No less than the unlimited and unquestioning permission to violate reader’s privacy, expose them to malware, track them, trick them, and annoy them. You have the nerve to sit here and talk about readers getting their content for “free”? It just shows the complete lack of responsibility that online publishers feel toward their readers.

        The problem is, you ACTUALLY think that your little website here makes money from advertising; that advertisers are who pay your bills, it’s not Mike. You know who pays your bills? We do. It’s the permission your readers give to be advertised TO. Hence, why when that permission is revoked (in the form of ad-blocking), you make no money.

        Of course everyone knows what Apple is doing, and stop acting like you have some moral objection to apple methods or attempts to rule a walled garden. Google and Facebook own ~76% of the online ad market, don’t pretend publishers are suddenly afraid of consolidated power. I found your quote from below pretty eye opening actually:

        “The difference between how Google and Apple make money off of ads is that Apple does it in a way that is VERY harmful to content producers and publishers, while Google does it in a way that benefits them.”

        I almost spit up my NOS when I read that. As “content producers” you sold out your readers to the current web advertising status-quo. You don’t just get to own and take responsibility for the “content” that falls in-between paragraphs on your website. You own every single ad and vulnerability that you shoot over with it, it’s your name on it and by contracting it out you think somehow it’s not. Apple may make money off ads in a way that is VERY harmful to publisher and “content producers”, but it’s you and Google that do it in a way VERY harmful to readers and the general web public. Excuse us if we pick a different kingmaker.

      • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

        “Free” means you’re not paying for it, and you’re not. Whether you want to believe in some fairytale conspiracy theory that Google is spying on you and cares what you do online, that’s your call, but that doesn’t make it OK to steal content from hardworking writers by blocking their only means of monetizing their work.

        I can try writing “a reader’s privacy” on the mortgage check and see if the bank takes it, but I don’t think they’re going to accept it. That’s why the advertisers do pay my bills. You’re welcome to send me a direct donation for any amount of money you want if you’d actually like to pay my bills. You can revoke your “permission” to be advertised to by not opening the page in the first place. When you open the page, you agree to an implicit understanding in which you view an ad you may or may not care about, and I get paid so that you don’t have to actually pay money out of your pocket.

        See, you don’t get to back out of your end of the deal and expect us to uphold ours. Why should we provide you content if you’re going to block ads? The agreement is we write content, you read it and view the ads. If you don’t view the ads, why should you expect to be able to read the content? Hold up your end of the deal or don’t enter into it by clicking the link. Are you under the impression that “revoking” a payment still entitles you to a product? Try that next time you’re shopping and see what happens.

        You don’t understand how web publishing works, as is evident by your silly insistence that I have a responsbility for anything other than what I create. Furthermore, 99% of the ads you see on the web in general are not “VERY harmful” or even a little harmful to anyone at all. I’m going to go ahead and say that the chance that a 9to5Mac reader has ever been infected with some devious malware by an ad running on our site is next to zero.

        You aren’t entitled to our content for “free” by your definition. You can have it for free—as in no money out of pocket—in exchange for viewing ads. That’s the deal you agree to when you view ad-supported content on the web.

      • See that’s the problem Mike, your not in journalism, your in advertising. Even to you, your content isn’t reporting; it’s a product to be peddled; and ONLY peddled. Without the lure a economic gain, it’s something that isn’t even worth doing. You have the audacity to lecture me on not understanding “how web publishing works”, when what’s clear is you understand neither the web, nor publishing. The entire point of the ad-supported web was that writers, journalist, artist and curators could reach a worldwide viewership without the permission, the censorship, and limits that media companies put between them and their audiences. It is them that the deal you so viscerally attempt to invoke was made.

        It wasn’t made to allow for the making of money OFF an audience, it was so they could be supported BY their audience. Do you really think in the early web you would be able to get away with saying what you are today? Yet, that’s exactly when this deal was made, and it was certainly not made with you. The terms were not changed, and the trust not broken, by us web viewer; but by today’s publishers that replaced yesterday’s curators, by “content creators” that replaced journalist, writers, and artists. Done so all in a the greedy desire for ‘more money’, and they did so by putting the very thing they were running from to begin with right back in between them, and their audience.

        To be honest, I’d prefer to read web content written by those that don’t do it full-time and as their sole source of income. The reasons and purpose behind what you put out into the world matter, probably, more than anything else.

      • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

        Of course our content is our product. It can be both reporting and a product. No one volunteers to go to their full time job and work for free just because they love doing it. That includes people who write the news for a living. No reporter on earth wakes up every day ready to go report on what’s happening for absolutely nothing. We have bills to pay, and if we did this for free, we’d have to quit immediately to make time for a job that would ACTUALLY pay our bills.

        Sorry you don’t understand how employment works. Maybe one day you’ll have a job that you actually get paid to do, and bills to pay, and responsibility as an adult. Then you’ll understand why someone might want to be paid for the work they do full time.

        If you prefer reading content from people who don’t make a living writing, then feel free. But don’t come to a site where people make a living doing this and expect them to be held to the “work for free” standard of your favorite amateurs.

      • Mike - 7 years ago

        Wow. Stick to my favorite amateurs? You mean like Seth? Who by the way, was exactly that when he started the 9to5Mac blog was actually written by those working in technology; not as copy writers. 9to5Mac started by the: NOT as a money making venture. We gladly supported ads as a show of appreciation and support, not in the spirit of turning 9to5Mac into a business, into a media content marketing company. What did we support?

        “We are a loosely assorted group of Mac Managers and Macintosh Business enthusiasts throughout the world that try to help each other out with many of the things going on in the Apple Enterprise Community.
        When/if their are ads on the site, they are to pay the webmaster’s bills for hosting and upkeep and hopefully more features and marketing to bring in more administrators and managers.”

        Tell me Mike. Which are you? An Apple enterprise admin, or a manager?

        See, from the readers perspective; it’s you who are the amateur.

      • Mike - 7 years ago

        Wow. Stick to my favorite amateurs? You mean like Seth? Who by the way, was exactly that when he started the 9to5Mac blog. Back when it was actually written by those working in technology; not as copy writers. 9to5Mac started NOT as a money making venture, it didn’t make money. Serbs readers supported ads as a show of appreciation and support, not in the spirit of turning 9to5Mac into a business, into a media content marketing company. What exactly did we support? Seth didn’t hide it:

        “We are a loosely assorted group of Mac Managers and Macintosh Business enthusiasts throughout the world that try to help each other out with many of the things going on in the Apple Enterprise Community.
        When/if their are ads on the site, they are to pay the webmaster’s bills for hosting and upkeep and hopefully more features and marketing to bring in more administrators and managers.”

        Tell me Mike. Which are you? An Apple enterprise admin, or a manager?

        See, from the readers perspective; it’s you who are the amateur.

  13. Anson W Goode Sr. - 8 years ago

    These days, for users of Windows OS, ads are the most prominent way people get infected with malware and spyware. Business and news sites, who in and of themselves are clean, have infected ad space passing CryptoLocker and other variants around like fleas. It’s no surprise people want to block ads. Are there no alternative revenue streams??

  14. Tony Bowens - 8 years ago

    So here is what is actually going on.
    Apple wants to push content producers into the walled garden of the News app.
    There it can take a cut of the ad revenue it cut off from content producers through allowing ad blocking.
    By demonetizing the main mobile web browser Apple gets to line it’s pockets through iAD revenue.

    • bb1111116 - 8 years ago

      Double standard nonsense.
      1. Ad blockers have been available for Windows, OS X and Android for years. And that seems to be OK.
      Only ad blockers on iOS/Apple are bad.
      So only iOS / Apple is “demonetizing” the web when all other OSs have ad blockers. Ridiculous.
      2. As for Apple alone being criticized for pushing content off of the web into apps, again a nonsense argument.
      Apple is not pushing people off of the web.
      Samsung (and other Android OEMs in general) have been pushing for apps over using a browser for years.
      Multiple websites are pushing users to download their apps.
      But all of that seems to be fine.
      Only Apple gets singled out and again Apple isn’t pushing people into apps.
      3. Apple alone should be criticized for wanting to make money off of ads (in their news site) when the dominant mobile OS company, Google, makes its money off of ads. Microsoft wants to make money off of ads.
      Websites want to make money off of ads. All of that seems to be fine.
      It is only wrong when Apple wants to make money off of ads.

      • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

        1. Ad blockers everywhere are bad. On iOS they pose a new and large threat to many publishers. That’s why the discussion is happening now.
        2. Apple’s entire goal is pushing people off of the web and into News. Other phone makers have done this for a while, sure, but that has very little impact on a lot of sites. Apple’s reach is bigger than any of those others, including the sites that show “download our app” screens.
        3. The difference between how Google and Apple make money off of ads is that Apple does it in a way that is VERY harmful to content producers and publishers, while Google does it in a way that benefits them.

        It’s not wrong that Apple wants to make money off ads. It’s wrong that Apple wants to prevent publishers from making money off their content unless they do exactly what Apple wants. It’s basically extortion.

      • @Mike Beasley

        Apple’s terms for its News App seems reasonable to me;


        “Publishers will be able to earn money from their content using iAd, Apple’s advertising platform. They can choose to sell their own ads, allow iAd to sell advertisements for them, or use a combination of both. Regardless of which option is chosen, the content producers will be able to earn revenue from ad impressions and take advantage of iAd’s robust targeting capabilities to maximize relevance and delivery. The targeting built into iAd is accurate and scalable, and is based on registration data from hundreds of millions of validated Apple users.

        If publishers sell their own advertisements, they will keep 100 percent of the revenue generated. On the other hand, if content producers choose to allow iAd sell ads for them, they will retain 70 percent of the revenue. ”

        Or you can create your own App with in-app ads

      • bb1111116 - 8 years ago

        by Mike Beasley;

        “1. Ad blockers everywhere are bad.”

        Got it. I do not use special apps/extensions to block ads though I do use browser settings to try to reduce apps for performance reasons.

        by Mike Beasley;

        “2. Apple’s entire goal is push people off of the web and into News. Other phone makers have done this for a while, sure, but that has very little impact on a lot of sites. Apple’s reach is bigger than any of those others, including the sites that show “download our app” screens.”

        * A. Before today, apps were already dominating mobile use. This was true in 2014 and I’m sure it will continue.
        – From Flurrymobile;

        “Apps continued to cement their lead, and commanded 86% of the average US mobile consumer’s time, or 2 hrs and 19 minutes per day. Time spent on the mobile web continued to decline and averaged just 14% of the US mobile consumer’s time, or 22 minutes per day. The data tells a clear story that apps, which were considered a mere fad a few years ago, are completely dominating mobile, and the browser has become a single application swimming in a sea of apps.”

        – In 2014 Google browsers had 5% share, Safari was 7% and news apps were 3%.
        In the first part of 2015 Google browsers have passed up Safari in marketshare.

        – And news mobile apps are increasing their share.

        – All of this trend to apps happened before the introduction of the iOS News App.

        * B. Apple has a goal to have customers use one of its new services, the News App.
        – That is no different than the rest of the major players in the tech industry.
        Microsoft wants customers to use its software for instance MS Office.
        Google search directs users to Google services. (See EU actions about this.)
        Samsung devices direct users to Samsung apps.
        And so on with other websites and OEMs.
        – The efforts by all of these companies has had the result of moving users on to company specific services.

        * C. by Mike Beasley;

        “Apple’s reach is bigger than any of those others”

        – Google has monopoly shares with search and the smartphone OS market.
        Google’s mobile browser share is now bigger than Safari.
        – And it is a fact that Google is pushing people into its own services.
        – The largest smartphone maker in the world is Samsung which also pushes users to its own services.

        – The result of all these trends is that before the iOS News App was released, website use has been declining and Safari use has been going down compared with Google browsers.
        To claim that Apple has a bigger “reach” with internet, app use compared with any other other company or combination of companies ignores the facts about mobile app/web use.

        * by Mike Beasley;

        “3. The difference between how Google and Apple make money off of ads is that Apple does it in a way that is VERY harmful to content producers and publishers, while Google does it in a way that benefits them.”

        So, you are taking Google’s side. That is helpful in understanding your statements.
        – But what you have to prove imo is that Apple is “very harmful to content producers”.
        – I assume you believe that no content producer can make money by working with Apple.
        Using your thinking, can anyone make money on the Apple App stores?
        Answer according to Apple;

        “apps generated over $10 billion in revenue for developers.”

        – Your statement that Apple is “very harmful to content producers” is not supported by the facts.

        * by Mike Beasley;

        “It’s not wrong that Apple wants to make money off ads.”


        “It’s wrong that Apple wants to prevent publishers from making money off their content”

        Your unsupported claim is not based on the history of internet use.
        – You claim that now that the iOS News app is released, no one will be able to make money from an internet website.
        – This statement ignores that the majority of mobile users now those use a Google browser to go to websites.
        – And your statement ignores that ad blocker extension/app use is never 100% and their effectiveness is never 100%.
        The history with browser use before the iPhone shows this. Before 2007 Windows Ad blocker use was never been extensive enough to destroy the economy of internet traffic.

        – So, your claim that the iOS News App by itself will destroy the ability to make money on all internet news websites is not backed up by historical/internet use information.

        * by Mike Beasley;

        “unless they do exactly what Apple wants.”

        So, only Apple can ask websites to cooperate in a news aggregate site.
        I recall that some European news organizations tried to get Google to pay compensation for showing news blurbs on Google News. Google not only refused but kicked the European websites off of Google News.
        But of course that would be OK with you because you are making money off of Google.
        Everything that Google does is wonderful according to your “thinking”

        * by Mike Beasley;

        “It’s basically extortion.”

        No, it is how the tech business has worked for decades.
        But that is beyond you because your agenda is to spew anti-Apple propaganda.

        * Bottom line; I like your site. I will not block it.
        Still I will keep an eye on your editorial content.
        You see, reading ignorant Apple hate is bad enough from trolls.
        But I am less tolerant reading it from a tech writer.

      • bb1111116 - 8 years ago

        FYI, I didn’t intend for the entire web page content from the flurry / tumbler website to be posted in my comment.
        What I wanted was to only post a link to the mobile use information from flurry.

  15. srgmac - 8 years ago

    Sponsored posts are the end of journalism as we know it. There have been many articles published in major magazines and on major websites where they are 100% paid for — how can an article be unbiased if it has been paid for by an advertising agency? I am not saying that opinions are not welcome, but more than one opinion should get represented fairly, within context.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      I’m not sure you understand how sponsored posts work. No one is saying they are actual op-eds or news articles. No one is claiming they are unbiased. That’s like asking if a banner ad can be unbiased. It’s totally different from journalism.

      • suchkunt - 8 years ago

        I don’t understand how sponsored posts.articles make any sense. The moment I see sponsored I skip…. do people actually read the stuff?

      • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

        Yeah, lots of people read sponsored posts. They may be interested in whatever it’s about and want more information, or just be curious about the topic.

      • srgmac - 8 years ago

        I know how they work here at 9to5Mac, which is perfectly fine, but some places with less (or shall we say no) scruples are very deceitful. Please watch the segment John Oliver did on “Native Advertising” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_F5GxCwizc

      • srgmac - 8 years ago

        Unfortunately, a *lot* of people are saying they are op-eds and camouflaging the fact that they are sponsored. There is supposed to be a “church and state” line between advertising and editorial media. They should not cross. Studies have been done that have found less than 50% of people actually recognize when news articles are sponsored. When you have those kind of numbers, it becomes unethical. If the posts are clearly (not camouflaged) labeled, then I don’t have as much of a problem with it.

      • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

        Well, that’s why we set all of our sponsored posts to use “Sponsored” as the author, and have a label in the title and just below it as well. I think others should follow suit as well, and I think most sites usually have some kind of obvious or non-hidden indicator on sponsored posts. If they don’t, that’s pretty unethical and they should be called out for it, for sure.

    • Komrad - 8 years ago

      Electric cars are bad, gas powered cars are good

      Unbiased article by Exxon.

  16. rrobinson1216 - 8 years ago

    I was going to see what it was like on this new site since I use ABP, and so I unblocked ads here and reloaded the page. I immediately got an autoplay ad with sound. Stuff it, man. You pick terrible ads with autoplay? I’m blocking them on your site. Try again.

  17. Who actually clicks on ads, I don’t see how this is a sub stainable model at this point. I have never clicked on an ad nor do I pay attention to the content of the ad. They just make the site ugly and slows it down. I don’t know how any company has a ROI from web ads.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      Just the act of loading the ad is enough to get paid. Clicks make more money, sure, but as long as the ad loads some money is earned. That’s why it’s sustainable.

    • suchkunt - 8 years ago

      There is a large subset of normies (double digit IQ mindless drones/NPCs) out there who DO click ads. Unfortunately they far out number us.

      Like you, I have never once clicked on an ad. I wish I had adblock for my visual cortex so i didnt get assaulted by normie-targeted garbage everywhere I went

  18. Sean Raidley - 8 years ago

    As I read the comments here, I realize just how “crappy” it was for him to do this. WTF man…lol

  19. The advertising/content compact between audiences and content creators is still valid. Web sites broke the compact by farming out the advertising to these third party tracker companies without our permission. That broken agreement could get fixed by the use of content blockers. The creators of web sites would then be responsible for their own ad practices and we won’t block that.

    • Seth Weintraub - 8 years ago

      Then why not just stop visiting the sites you disagree with?

      • rrobinson1216 - 8 years ago

        Perhaps we like their content. As mentioned in my comment above, I actually turned ABP off for this site after reading the article because I enjoy it. But since you allow autoplay ads with sound, it immediately went back on. I don’t feel like you should be able to assault my ears for free for me to read your site. I’ve wanted to write for this place for the longest time, too. If it were sidebar ads with no animation or sounds, it wouldn’t be nearly as bad. The Verge had a write up about this, and someone posted a screenshot with a top-banner ad that takes up half the screen. Uncalled for.

  20. dennyc69 - 8 years ago

    So shortly after I posted my thoughts on the whole thing, I looked and my Peace app is in a waiting state now, even though it still functions. So I tweeted Marco and have pulled Overcast from my iPhone for good. He will get no more money from me for what he puts out. He knew full well what he was doing writing the app and should of made the decision to stop before he put it out.

    You know, I don’t care about your conscience Marco, we all make decisions good and bad everyday, but when you involve your customers, that’s a different story all together. I think you should send out those refund checks, not Apple.

    • Ivan - 8 years ago

      Marco is full of shit, and he always has been. I’m glad I didn’t download it yesterday when every tech blog was riding his nutsack about that app.

      • suchkunt - 8 years ago

        Exactly this. Anyone who googles arment’s posts will quickly find out what a degenerate piece of garbage he is.

        He’s responsible for Tumble… and what a shocker, is completely in agreement with its deranged userbase

  21. eim23x - 8 years ago

    I was able to get my refund it returned the fund back quick

  22. rav4Kar (@rav4kar) - 8 years ago

    Stupid decision, Did Google pay ransom to pull the app?

  23. vrnn (@vrnnsmth) - 8 years ago

    I bought Peace yesterday and will run the F$%#k of of it with absolutely no intention of requesting a refund. I feel bad about the “The Deck” ads being blocked (as Gruber noted). This version of Peace did not allow for granular whitelisting that was easy enough for me to justify using.

    Also, yes, Apple did not develop and install their own ad blocker into mobile Safari by default, they allowed developers to sell them and users to buy them from the App store; that is all.

    How about this, I removed Cult of Mac from my list of Apple websites I regularly visit not only because the content was sub-par but also because the ads were really, really, terrible. Really just a terrible experience.

    Lastly, could a website include some Javascript to disallow devices running ad blocking extensions from accessing the site?

    • suchkunt - 8 years ago

      Yes there are ad-blocker-blocking scripts out there. Two things happen

      1) no one ever visits that shit site again
      2) filter is enveloped to block the detection script.

      This is why it’s VITAL to get an app that supports custom blacklists/filters.

  24. 98raptorta - 8 years ago

    I have no problem with a site having a couple of adds to keep the lights on. But when a site has over the top adds that block content or waste my time and money betaking forever to load…or tracks me all over the internet with creepy ads for something I looked at two years ago, I draw the line. My biggest pet peeve is when I go to a site on my iPhone and there is an ad at the bottom that is designed to get accidental clicks. Nothing pisses me off more when I accident click it and I get sent to some website or the App store. Until sites dump those ads that collect accidental clicks, I will use the ad blocker. I use my desktop ad blocker to dump flash ads and those stupid “…one weird trick…” ads. Wed sites need to clean up their content with a few ads and not bombard us with that crap. I think now that Apple has introduced ad blockers, it is a great thing…website owners will now have to clean up their content with fewer intrusive ads to tell their reads that we promise to give you ads that do not cover content, drain resources, and are not designed to capture accidental clicks.

  25. Hasan (@The2ndCityKid) - 8 years ago

    I agree with many of the posters here. It is absolutely flaky of him to pull this app after so many people downloaded it. If it was free that is one thing, but it’s not and to echo the sentiments here he should be cutting a check to every single person that downloaded his app. It’s poor taste because it just shows that he cares more about himself than all the customers. Ad blockers were not developed for fun. There is no end to ads today. Everywhere you go you are bombarded by advertising and it is a direct result of the public telling advertisers that they are tired of it. Not only will I never buy anything Mr. Arment makes again, I will also make sure to tell people I know not to either.

  26. ZakDesign (@ZakDesign) - 8 years ago

    It is possible to remove the ad blocker part and just block the trackers? I could use another app to block the ads, I am more worried about the tackers.

  27. Oskar Minin (@paumin) - 8 years ago

    Got this one thinking Marco was the one to trust.
    I’ll think twice next time.

  28. frumpy16 - 8 years ago

    This seems like it has ‘shakedown’ written all over it. These sites exerting some sort of ‘or else…’ influence over this dev. Pretty sad.

  29. nonyabiness - 8 years ago

    I enjoy 9to5X, but here’s why I installed 1Block: prior to installing 1Block, I would *repeatedly* get page load error loops because of the obtrusive ads located on 9to5X’s sites. Since I’ve installed 1Block, I haven’t had any page load errors – not a single one. Additionally, it is not my job to police and report when obtrusive ads cause errors in browsing. It’s 9to5X’s site — they should be on top of it. Sorry guys, but dems da breaks.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      It’s impossible for us to see every single ad that runs across the site. Even if we spent all day on the site (and we do, it’s our job after all) there are some ads we’ll never see because they’re targeted at criteria we don’t fit. That’s why we ask people to report any rogue ads they see. If something is causing a problem on the mobile site, let us know and we’ll take a look. We intentionally position our ads to not be intrusive, so if something is causing a problem, it’s not supposed to be and we need to know about it so we can fix it.

      • echristoperj - 8 years ago

        Mike, I love your site and have started using an ad blocker. There are two options that will let me turn off the ad blocker. 1. Provide a subscription model for those that want it. It could even be a single rate for a group of sites that work together. I would be willing to pay up to $3 for Single site or up to $20 a month for 10 sites. 2. On an ad disclaimer page list the ad networks and tracks that you use and their privacy policies. So I can be informed of what is the cost to my privacy and what lingering defects I will have after I leave your site. If the site owners can’t provide that information why should I trust in that site with my information and privacy?

      • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

        Our ads all come from Google AdSense. You can check out our privacy policy, which contains info on everything from ads and cookies to WordPress login privacy, right over here.

        A subscription model would be cool in an ideal world, but unfortunately I believe we’d have to mostly build that from scratch (unless some WordPress VIP-compatible plugin exists to do that for us, which I kinda doubt), so it would be a massive undertaking. Not sure enough people would subscribe to justify it, in my personal opinion, given the fact that people complain over a $2.99 iPhone app upgrade fee. ;)

        Thanks for reading 9to5, hope you’ll consider adding us to your whitelist.

  30. If I go to a site that is so blasted with ads, I won’t visit there again. So there’s no chance of me hitting that ad to generate revenue for someone who doesn’t give a fuck about content in the first place.

  31. Real Apple Nerd - 8 years ago

    Just a tad annoyed that Marco did this, but that’s fine, I’ll request my refund and move on.

  32. theoddshipp - 8 years ago

    Pretty simple fucking solution: make it free.

  33. suchkunt - 8 years ago

    I purposely avoided this asshole’s adblocker because having read up on his it’s clear he’s a degenerate leftist cuck. You should read his anti-gamergate articles, absolutely pathetic. Fully supports the XOXO 1984-esque “LISTEN AND BELIEVE!” propaganda

    Folks, whatever Marco Arment is doing, you do the opposite.

    Yeah, he pulls the app, but not before all his buddies in the tech sphere push the app for two weeks, making him a metric shit ton of quick cash.

    Unscrupulous bastard, i feel bad for all the morons that were just victimized by him.

  34. Steven (@leftofjuniper) - 8 years ago

    I’m enthusiastically using these new content blocking apps. I’m tired of full-screen ads popping up the moment I visit a site, I don’t want to chase a moving ad around the page, searching for a tiny X to close it out, and I don’t want to hear a loud video start auto playing the moment I visit. Sites that employ those aggressive and obnoxious tactics deserve blocking.

    I am also making liberal use of whitesighting sites that I visit that do advertising right. If they have curated an advertising experience that is tailored to the content of their site, and actually suggests things that I might find interesting, I want to do everything I can to support them.

    There is a right way and a wrong way to advertise. With these new apps, perhaps more advertisers will be forced to accommodate us rather than the opposite.

  35. echristoperj - 8 years ago

    Personally I’m for using an ad blocker for a site until I know what trackers, cookies and ad networks they use. I don’t have the ability to know that information beforehand or do those sites list the ad networks, trackers and such that they subject me to when I visit. I chose the Peace app based on Marco’s track record with Overcast (frequent updates and thoughtful design) and knowing the app was using the Ghostery database. Which I use their app for my rMBP and love it.

    My issue is that Marco voiced his conflicted position a few months back on the ATP podcast. So why license the Ghostery database, build the app, submit it, charge $2.99 for the app and pull it after two days? Would people have purchased the app knowing that two days later it would be pulled and not have any future updates, bug fixes or support? I think that they would have it was free, but not at $2.99. I expect the same forethought from him, that he constantly hits Apple with their lack of forethought, on the podcast or his posts.

    Also I think the ad tracking is worse than the ads popping up. Sites that have bearable ad policies, don’t get blocked. I subscribe to their monthly plans or buy items using their links which pay much more than my click on a “hair club for men” ad would give them. For example I pay the Guardian $2.99 a month and am happy to pay that. If my core 5 sites had the same subscription model I would pay that for them also. I just don’t want to have my searches or browsing habits follow me and offer ads based on those sites I visit. I’ll pay just give me the option and don’t track me.

  36. bb1111116 - 8 years ago

    I understand that 9 To 5 Mac (and almost all other websites) need ad money and that ad blocking is a threat.
    But please understand that the multitude of ads in websites these days have significantly decreased website performance.
    – For instance with 9 To 5 Mac, I can’t view it on my iPad 3 with Safari (iOS 8) because it repeatedly crashes.
    So, I load 9 To 5 Mac on the Dolphin browser.
    – Frankly the number of ads on websites now has made page layout a mess and have caused a major performance hit.
    I honestly didn’t mind ads years ago when then didn’t severely damage web page performance.
    But now I’m looking for solutions just so I can easily see the content on these websites. If ad block helps, I will consider it.

  37. inquiblog - 8 years ago

    I think a WEB-SPOTIFY-LIKE system would solve the problem, Google did very little about it, and a new player can take the lead, let me explain:

    In the spotify case, you get free ad-supported content, or premium users get something more than ad-free experience, because ad-free is not enought for people to pay monthly, they get access to more quality (kbps), features (offline), and more content directly (song level access).

    Here, if websites offers some little premium content only to subscribers this could work to incentive the premium no-ads model and also get the website who got the subscrption an extra payment, like a all-sites-pass, like some newspapper require subscription to read all content, this could be much more powerful by allowing users to one economic fee subscription for all sites!

    15 years ago, before adsense, I dreamed of this, but also giving Internet providers the option to pay a litte price directly the premium-internet-pass for their users (like some ISPs that currently offer a spotify pass plan now!), once an ISP offers for the same price all-access to popular premium content enabled sites, all ISPs should follow. This should work if a bunch of sites with some exclusive content not found anywere else participate.

    I do not say sites should block all content to non-subscribers but only a section or some premium articles or access, like exclusive reports, access to downloads, hi res versions of wall pappers or videos, hard-to-find things, more storage, premium support, premium profiles or premium visibility in dating sites or classifieds/sales listings, faster downloads on download services now asking for a fee, ad free blog/hosting, etc…

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      It’s certainly an interesting idea, but in a world where people get upset over an iPhone app charging for an upgrade, I think it would be hard to get a lot of people to pay enough for articles or blog posts to keep any site going. Everyone just expects everything online to be free these days, unfortunately.

      • inquiblog - 8 years ago

        I agree with that, but Spotify is doing it well, people is paying every month… They will not pay for 9to5mac articles, but if a lot of sites reserve 5% of content restricted to premium users, at least for a while (for example, in your case could be early access to that $100 off limited quantity offer, or some exclusive content you got) so everytime a user sees the paywall in every site affiliated to the system, and for $5 they unlock Everything, plus no ads, I think that’s totally different than paying for iPhone app upgrade, they would be paying for a quite global WWW upgrade, same as spotify global music access unrestricted. Would you be affiliated with such a system ?

      • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

        Like I said, it’s a really interesting idea, and certainly a version of the subscription model I hadn’t really heard before (at least not with the Spotify comparison). It would be incredibly complex to build, though, and I don’t know if WordPress would be an ideal platform for something like that. Not sure how feasible it would be.

      • iSRS - 8 years ago

        Spotify is a different beast than information. Look at ESPN Insider. It is basically what you suggest, minus the ad free part. But I cancelled my subscription because it was getting to be more and more garbage, repackaged as “premium content@

  38. pdixon1986 - 8 years ago

    The main reason for ad blockers is because certain sites over use ads.
    Worse are sites where ads are dropped in place randomly and alter the content.

    YouTube is horrible – they were managing fine but then they decided to slap ads everywhere.

    Certain sites have become greedy and they use the ads to make money.

    To be honest there are many ways a site can make money without endless ads.

    This site managed ok with a nice balance of ads and content. But I stopped reading T3 because the ads made it frustrating.

    I think site builders need to take a more active role in what ads are used and where they are placed. After all, if the user experience isn’t good, people will stop reading anyway.

    Clearly there are many people, including your readers, who are bothered by them.
    So rather than say “but we need them, you must accept them” you should be like “we hear you and we are going to find new ways to give you the best experience ad free”

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      I agree with this. Publishers should design their sites with these types of concerns in mind. The goal should be making the site readable even with the ads, so the users don’t have a crappy time. A lot of sites don’t get this, and that’s a shame, but I wouldn’t continue visiting them and blocking their ads. Like you said, if a site has made bad decisions with ads, I just don’t go there as often.

      Glad you’re happy with the ad setup we’ve got here. We put a lot of thought into making it as painless as we could. There was a lot of discussion to figure out what was the best balance between revenue and user experience. We’re doing some new stuff like sponsored posts (you can find out all about those at 9to5mac.com/advertise) that can allow us to turn off most ads for a day at a time (you may have noticed us doing that a few times recently), but right now Google ads are still the primary solution for us because they’re the most effective way to monetize at the moment. Personally I’d love to see a new method that allows publishers across the web to move away from Google/similar ads, but I think it’ll be a while.

      Thanks for reading and supporting us!

  39. Matt (@apple4ever) - 8 years ago

    Yeah I think Marco should have stuck to his guns. He tends to shrivel in the face of criticism.

    However, while I do use ad blockers, I have it turned off on sites I want to support. I love 9to5Mac to that’s one of the. And actually, I find the sponsored posts quite helpful. Keep them up.

  40. AeronPeryton - 8 years ago

    Marco created FlappyBlocker!

  41. Kenneth Worthington - 8 years ago

    This is just 9TO5’s side of the argument. If I don’t want to see ads, I’m going to use an adblocker, and that’s an honorable decision. Stop trying to confuse the issue. Just because you don’t want me to and it doesn’t serve your interests, that doesn’t mean your argument is right. If you want to get paid for your posts, make something worth charging for, and sell a subscription for it. If you can’t survive with the business model you have, don’t vilify things just because they are not in your favor- I would pay $2,000 per year if there was a completely ad-free web experience. More, if it was a monthly charge. Stop whining. He didn’t pull the app because of a guilty conscience, he pulled it because of all the heat he was taking by posts and stories like yours. Stop whining, it’s your business model that’s not making you profit, ads are not part of a product, they are embedded nuisances.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      Sorry, but using an ad blocker isn’t an honorable decision. You’re intentionally depriving writers of money while still reading their work. There’s no confusion about this issue: what you’re doing is harming us. You wouldn’t walk into a store and steal a television, then tell them that their business model was annoying and you don’t think you should have to participate, but you want a TV anyway. Don’t do that to us, either.

      If you think subscriptions on the web are going to make any sustainable money, well, that’s just not the case. Even our massive, exclusive scoops are quickly reblogged by other sites that users can access for free, so readers who are unwilling to pay $10 for a very useful iPhone app are highly unlikely to pay any significant amount of money to read that content at the source. Just because you would pay doesn’t mean the majority will. People have come to expect everything for free on the internet.

      Asking that people put up with ads to read our articles isn’t whining. Being unwilling to experience a minor inconvenience or “annoyance” to ensure that authors are paid for their hard work is whining. No one is entitled to our work for nothing. We try to make the process as easy for readers as possible: you read the articles you want, we make a living, and everyone is happy. We don’t expect you to pay out of pocket, but we expect you to have the decency to not actively block us from making a living on your reading.

      • Kenneth Worthington - 8 years ago

        Yes using an adblocker is a TOTALLY honorable thing- it’s just not what you, the “publisher” wants for your own interests. Otherwise you’re saying that driving slow through a speed trap is a cheating too. It’s the business model of the people posting stuff for free on the internet that is broken. If the content is so great, charge for it (I pay a fortune to iTunes each month, happily I might ad, so I don’t have to see commercials in my TV shows) and if it’s not something people will pay to read, then sure let annoying ads on the page provide you with some income from the people who don’t care enough to use an adblocker. But just because something doesn’t work in your favor, don’t demonize it on those grounds alone. I would pay a $4-8/month subscription to read this site without ads, but until you charge for it I’m going to use an adblocker. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Don’t pretend that there is.

  42. PhilBoogie - 8 years ago

    I’d love for this site to have a paywall. No problem to pay a fee and have an ad free experience, which would be way better than having to use ad blockers.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      I’m glad you’re enthusiastic about supporting the site. It’s seriously nice to see readers who are that dedicated. Unfortunately, this is a world where most people expect things on the internet to be free. Heck, people complain if a very useful iPhone app costs $10 these days. I don’t think it would be sustainable to charge for access to articles that will just be reblogged by free copycat sites. People who don’t want to pay would stop reading the site and go elsewhere. Not an ideal situation, sadly. I wish it would work, but I just don’t think it would.

  43. Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

    Unfortunately, Apple’s ads are on a per-publication basis, not per-author, and I highly doubt that Apple’s tools break down the ad revenue to make it clear which authors on multi-author sites are due what amounts. Apple’s solution is not ideal, and most people will still prefer the web over the News app (I certainly do, especially when finding links on Twitter or Facebook). Thus we’re still stuck with a lot of readers who are taking our content without allowing us to get paid, driving down our income. It doesn’t solve the problem of ad blockers.

  44. GadgetBen - 8 years ago

    The only people who like adverts are the people making money from them. I downloaded this app and hopefully I will continue running it. It has removed all frustration of the page jumping everywhere when I’m trying to read an article.

    Hopefully this will encourage publishers to think differently about how they can generate revenue.

    How about a 9TO5Mac mug anyone?

    • AeronPeryton - 8 years ago

      I would totally rock a 9to5Mac hoodie.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      Publishers have been thinking different about how to generate revenue for a very long time. Ads always came up as the only real solution. We could sell mugs, sure, but that’s not going to bring in a lasting revenue stream that can support our families and pay our bills. Unfortunately, ads are the most effective thing out there right now.

  45. I really like 9to5mac – but I don’t understand why there are 12 warnings on this page for trackers, beacons and ads. I don’t mind the ads. They weren’t bad at all, but what’s with the rest? I understand you use WordPress Analytics, but what are Gravatar, Netshelter, Quantcast, ScoreCard, VigLink, DoubleClick good for? I understand that you want to get paid for the articles you write, but why should I allow that, whoever is running those ads, tracks and profiles me?

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      Gravatar is part of WordPress. Support is built-in and can’t really be disabled. It’s the service WordPress uses to pull in user profile pics. Quantcast is analytics, used in basically the same way as Netshelter and I believe ScoreCard, allowing advertisers to gain important metrics about the site like our traffic numbers. VigLink is a service the authors use to automatically create affiliate links, it just appends certain affiliate tokens onto supported URLs. DoubleClick is actually part of Google Ads.

      These are all pretty crucial to keep the ad service and the site working well, or really running at all. Hope that clears it up!

  46. paul9823 - 8 years ago

    My thoughts on the issue of ad blockers and the future of content provision:

    I really value the writing on this site and on a handful of others. I very much believe that writers should get paid for their work and do well for working hard and writing/reporting well. However the ad system has gone to shit, for reasons beyond the writers control, but none the less it’s broke and it is now too late to be saying “but hey we’re fixing it.” That ship has sailed. Ads work in crappy ugly unethical ways, ad blockers are here to stay now, trying to talk people out of using them is going to be futile: they create a better user experience, so people will use them.

    I think the writers on here, and probably across the Internet, are sort of going through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Sounds like you’re in the bargaining phase. Pleading with the world not to change. But it already did. Soon the facts will become clear and you’ll feel pretty fed up. When you hit acceptance then the innovation will kick in and we’ll get to see what the new world of content provision looks like. Necessity is the mother of invention.

    I am ok with Apple saying “hey the current experience is shitty, it’s not going to change without an impetus for it to leap forward, so let’s create that impetus and change it” and if News and iAds provides a better model, then great, but I’m sure that writers and advertisers can also invent new ways forward.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      You say this as if writers haven’t been trying to find better ways to do this already. Starving them isn’t really going to provide a sufficient incentive to change anything, unfortunately. I don’t think anybody is particularly fond of ads as a concept, but no matter how hard people try, it’s very difficult to find a monetization method that’s anywhere near as effective.

      • paul9823 - 8 years ago

        I don’t mean to be glib, but if starving someone doesn’t incentivise them then I don’t know what will. But actually, it will.

      • paul9823 - 8 years ago

        For the record, to counterbalance my glibness, I would pay for 9to5mac. It’s my favourite website stop of each day and I would happily pay for it.

  47. I feel very bad about this whole issue and I’d like to suggest what I believe is an ethical way to approach this. To start with, I don’t like many ads, but some I do. Harry’s is a well done ad, and so is Backspace, for example. I’d actually PREFER seeing well done ads than no ads, both to pay for the site and to benefit from exposure to their products.

    Examples of bad ads are all too numerous and I don’t need to list them (I’m not necessarily talking about this site). My practice on the Mac is to use a blocker, but unblock most ads on sites I trust, unless there is one advertiser I especially fear. I write “fear” because I worry about being served malware (I had an adware that attacked Firefox and took an hour to eliminate).

    On the iPhone, I’ll whitelist every site I visit and trust. New sites will be on a trial basis. If there are advertising services that I can’t tolerate, I’d like to have the opportunity on the iPhone same as the Mac to block only them without blocking an entire site’s advertising. If the ads are highly objectionable, I’ll block a site as a last resort.

    I think sites need time to evolve their ads, and I understand well you can’t go without pay for months during this process. After six or so months, I’d expect all reputable sites would have had an opportunity to impose some control over the ads they post. After that time, I won’t have regrets in blocking sites that aren’t concerned enough about their readers to take these steps.

    So I’m whitelisting 9 to 5 Mac on my iPhone and on my Mac. I’m giving you my support and trusting that you’re working hard to improve the experience for your readers. We like your content, and I know we want to see you succeed. We’re in this together.

  48. scogre - 8 years ago

    Just a suggestions for a possible solution to this mess.

    What if you guys piloted a new type of website. What if you create the exact same thing, only with a paid subscription. Say something like – http://www.paid.9to5mac.com. Or play to my ego and have it be http://www.bestreadersever.9to5mac.com. Then if we paid a fee, I’m not sure what you consider enough, but I would consider around $5 a year (I hope that is not insulting) and then we get ad-free access to your content and we are paying.

    I have been a loyal reader since the earliest days of this site. You do good work, but it is getting cluttered up by weird ads now. I have some stupid underwear ad today. Why?! I want this to be a symbiotic relationship where we both benefit. Can you try something outside of the box?

    Your site has one of the foremost Apple scoop guys (Mark Gurman thank you) and that should be a strategic advantage for this site. There has to be a way to have a win/win situation here. I am also suggesting that the current model is viable, but not ideal.

    • Mike Beasley - 8 years ago

      I think you’ve underestimated how much work would have to go into building a system like that. It would take a very long time to get up and running, especially for something we were just trying out.

  49. iSRS - 8 years ago

    Just want to say thanks to all the writers and editors of the site for contributing to this discussion. It’s worthwhile having you here and I’m glad you’re iinteracting with your readers.

  50. Tom A (@Newdeal99) - 8 years ago

    I am grateful for this post because I was unaware that I now had the option to install an ad blocker on safari. I now have installed one, thanks so much. I only wish there was a device wide adblocker without jailbreak

  51. spacedr - 8 years ago

    I’m happy iOS users now have the same option to install add blockers. It’s a question about choice. Not everyone will install them, because they don’t mind the adds, the trackers etc or are just not tech savy enough. You’ll keep earning money thanks to those people 9to5Mac.
    Now that we iOS users have the choice it’s a big deal. Didn’t hear you when we couldn’t block all the things we haven’t aksed for , nor did you give us a choice by proposing a subscription version of the site and a add sponsored version. When you propose the 2 versions we readers could choose and I would opt for a subscription version and have no problem knowing there is a “free” version available for readers not paying any cash to you but by allowing to get their internet experience slowed down and made horrible by all the adds and others snoopers.

  52. Nick Donnelly - 8 years ago

    I will never – ever – click an ad. Therefore blocking all adverts is fine. Those who want to click them – may whitelist sites – personally I have more important things to do with my time. Peace.

  53. thatoneguyfromutah - 6 years ago

    I would be more inclined to uninstall my ad blocking software if sites were more willing to use non-obtrusive advertising. The fact that most sites (including 9to5mac) will occasionally fill my screen with an overlay ad is what enticed myself and others to install them.


Avatar for Zac Hall Zac Hall

Zac covers Apple news for 9to5Mac and hosts the 9to5Mac Happy Hour and 9to5Mac Watch Time podcasts.