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IOS Advertising Businesses The Almighty Buck Apple

iOS Ad Blocker "Crystal" Will Let Companies Pay To Show You Ads 229

pdclarry writes: Apple's iOS 9 now supports ad blockers. The most popular of these, Peace, was withdrawn after only a couple of days because the developer thought "it just doesn't feel good." Crystal then quickly rose to the top of the heap. But the developer of Crystal has announced that it will allow "acceptable ads" — for a fee from the advertiser. Crystal is a paid app; so you can now pay for the privilege of seeing ads.
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iOS Ad Blocker "Crystal" Will Let Companies Pay To Show You Ads

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24, 2015 @05:03PM (#50592649)

    Dear consumer,

    Pay me money for my ad-blocking app!

    Dead advertiser,

    Hey, I got all these saps... er customers to pay me for ad blocking! Now pay me money for the privilege to advertise to them!!

    Sincerely,

    Jackass developer.

    • If I had purchased this blocker, I would be demanding my money back. I bought Purify and have been happy with it. Hopefully they remain true to blocking all ads and trackers. Yes it cost more but I see that as an investment in a better browsing experience on mobile.

      • by mattventura ( 1408229 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @05:33PM (#50592851) Homepage
        The sad part is that for whatever reason, stuff that you would never dream of paying for on a desktop costs money on iOS. Everything from adblockers to solitaire games either seem to cost money or be ad-riddled.
        • by AuMatar ( 183847 )

          THe reason is that it costs money to develop for iOS. Developing for windows, Linux, and even Mac is free. iOS costs 100 a year. Even Android is just 25 one time (and that's only to put your apps on the play store, not to make a sideloadable app). Because of this, devs wanted to make their money back. That stopped the early creation of free (cost) and open source software.

          • $25 or $100 is negligible even if you value your time well below minimum wage.

            • It's a huge amount if you just want to try it out.

            • by mjwx ( 966435 )

              $25 or $100 is negligible even if you value your time well below minimum wage.

              If I wanted to develop an IOS app, I'd have to buy another computer and another phone. This is a $2000 minimum outlay as well as the $99 per year needed to remain a developer. Given that most apps dont even make $99 per year chances are I'd never make back the original outlay.

              I can develop a Windows, Linux and Android app with all of my existing resources.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                1. You can buy a new Mac plus iPhone for half that. Replace the iPhone with an iPod Touch or iPad to save a few hundred more. Used devices also work fine.

                2. With minor tweaking you can get OS X running in a VM, use XCode's iOS simulator to do most of your development testing, and invite friend(s) with iOS devices to do on-device beta testing.

                3. Then again, if you have no interest in owning or using an Apple product, it's probably best you don't develop for the platform.

                4. http://www.penny-arcade.com/co... [penny-arcade.com]

                • by N1AK ( 864906 )

                  1. You can buy a new Mac plus iPhone for half that. Replace the iPhone with an iPod Touch or iPad to save a few hundred more. Used devices also work fine.

                  You're missing the point: As a hobbyist or tinkerer why would you even if the cost could be halved? The point stands that if you already own an iPhone then the cost and effort of being able to develop anything for it isn't negligible. That discourages many people from even trying, and those that do not unreasonably often want to charge so they can try and

                • 1. You can buy a new Mac plus iPhone for half that. Replace the iPhone with an iPod Touch or iPad to save a few hundred more. Used devices also work fine.

                  2. With minor tweaking you can get OS X running in a VM, use XCode's iOS simulator to do most of your development testing, and invite friend(s) with iOS devices to do on-device beta testing.

                  3. Then again, if you have no interest in owning or using an Apple product, it's probably best you don't develop for the platform.

                  4. http://www.penny-arcade.com/co... [penny-arcade.com]

                  All nice in theory, but you're working on the assumption that the only motivator to write an app is for commercial gains. If that is indeed your only motivator then you may as well shell out a little and it might pay off.

                  However a not-insignificant portion of the world's most popular software was created to scratch an itch. On iOS you have to pay if you want to scratch an itch. So, all the other platforms get the scratched-itch software (i.e. found to be genuinely useful and can't-live-without for at least

              • by smash ( 1351 )
                If I wanted to develop a Windows app, i'd have to buy another OS and another phone. If i wanted to develop an Android app, i'd need to buy another phone.
            • $25 or $100 is negligible even if you value your time well below minimum wage.

              And yet it's significant to anyone who would give away their work for free (which is what we're talking about).

          • by smash ( 1351 )
            Developing for Linux, Windows and Mac is NOT free. The hardware costs money. To sign code on Windows costs money. To sign code anywhere costs money to get a certificate from a reputable CA. The apple developer program gets you a code signing certificate to enable you to publish your app. You can do all the iOS or other Apple development you like without that.
        • by TWX ( 665546 )
          It may not actually be, but sometimes it feels like a perversion of the open-source movement, which had a whole lot of people writing small utilities or programs and distributing them because they enjoyed doing it. Obviously Linux and Free/Net/Open BSD had the most truly free software, but there was a lot of open-source software distributed for Windows and MacOSX platforms. At some point the application-store model took over as it became increasingly difficult to install software from any random source on
        • This is why apps are so popular. Sorry, I mean this is why writing apps is so popular.

        • Everyone wants a piece of the cake.
        • The sad part is that for whatever reason, stuff that you would never dream of paying for on a desktop costs money on iOS. Everything from adblockers to solitaire games either seem to cost money or be ad-riddled.

          That's what you get when there's a cost to publish. It's one thing to give a hobby project up for free to anyone when I'm investing time to do something I like. It's quite another to have to pay to give something for free.

          This is one of the reasons I like F-droid, an open source app store for Android.

        • by Tom ( 822 )

          It actually is the other way around. Things that add value are free for some reason. They should cost money. Not a lot (scale economy) but a little. If something of value is for free, your critical mind should ask itself what the catch is.

          Sometimes there isn't a catch. People do things out of love for the thing sometimes. I have a couple computer games online that you can play for free, or you can give me some money if you want, but unlike most "free" games these days it won't get you in-game advantages. Th

      • by fracas ( 25196 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @05:46PM (#50592931)

        I actually did pay for it, and just demanded a refund. This is total bait-and-switch to the consumer, and extortion of the advertiser. Dean Murphy is scum.

      • This is a cool idea if the ad software gave the user a kickback on this. Hey, pay me to look at your ads, and I'll look at them! Nice.

      • I bought Purify and have been happy with it. Hopefully they remain true to blocking all ads and trackers.

        I too was once reasonably happy with Purify [unicomsi.com], but what does it have to do with ad-blocking escapes me... Maybe, things have changed since I switched to valgrind [valgrind.org]...

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @05:04PM (#50592655) Homepage Journal

    Changing the terms of the agreement for purchased products is not in the same league as changing the terms of a free product. When people pay for something, they expect it to do what they paid for.

  • by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @05:07PM (#50592673)

    Dear Crystal author,

    Fuck you.

    Sincerely,

    -JustAnotherOldGuy

    • by gnupun ( 752725 )

      What if websites add this code?


      if httpRequest.userAgent.contains("ios9"):
            showPage("404 no stuff for freeloaders")
      endif

      • Lol, that would be funny as hell.

        BRB, there's some lawyers at the door who say they're from Apple. Should I use a shotgun or a chainsaw?

      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @05:47PM (#50592943)

        close page
        search for another page serving same content
        5 seconds of googling later...

        You don't want to give me what I want? Ok. No problem.

        NEXT!

        • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

          And after ten clicks, I find what I used to be able to find before the advertisers turned the web into a shit festival of slideshows with "I'm Feeling Lucky".

          What we need is a search engine that lets you filter out "sites with ads", "sites that block people who use adblockers", etc. Then I can search for a recipe for stew and find a recipe for stew, instead of finding hundreds of pages of content delivery mechanism, some of which claim to have stew recipes (and some subset of that which actually does).

          • by Quirkz ( 1206400 )

            The best is when you search for a stew recipe, go to a page claiming to have one, and what you get is something saying "Be the first to put your stew recipe here!" Yeah, as if.

        • by N1AK ( 864906 )
          What's your point? You're using an adblocker so the site that blocked you lost no revenue, or even potential revenue, and saved themselves the bandwidth cost of your visit. Plenty of sites would be happy to lose 20% of traffic, if the 20% they are losing is a monetary black hole anyway.

          Until a viable alternative way of raising revenue comes around (some form of micro-payments that works maybe) sites will be reliant on advertising for revenue. If you block advertising then losing your custom is a net gain
      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        Great! I sincerely hope that the websites add code that blocks anything with userAgent ios9.

        First: It would infuriate people to the terrible behaviors advertisers do.
        Second: It would make most Apple users grab any of the browers that CAN fix the userAgent string already, such as Atomic, Mercury, etc. This is nice because more users would have alternate browsers. Minor benefit.
        Third and most importantly: Safari would finally support this sort of spoofing by default. That's clutch, because it's a very

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      How old are you? :P

  • Old adage (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qbast ( 1265706 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @05:11PM (#50592699)
    If you are not paying then you are the product. Unfortunately if your are paying, nothing prevents company from selling you anyway
  • "Supports"? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @05:15PM (#50592731) Homepage

    Apple's iOS 9 now supports ad blockers.

    I think you mean "deigns to allow you to install".

  • How do I get a refund?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 24, 2015 @05:17PM (#50592749)

    If people are paying for an ad-blocker, that means they are willing to PAY for sites without ads. The smart thing to do would be to sell ad-free access to sites through the "ad-blocker" - the site gets paid, the user is happy.

    Just figure out a way to do it that doesn't involve tracking the user in the process because modern ad-blocking is at least as much about tracker-blocking as it is about ad-blocking.

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      No, if you use an ad-blocker, paid or not, that means that you are trying to view sites without getting shit on by ads. Maybe you want to support sites without ads, or maybe you just want sites with ads to wither and die. You don't know.

    • by N1AK ( 864906 )
      Someone who is willing to pay $1.99 for an adblocker is showing they are willing to pay a nominal amount to avoid ads. That isn't the same thing as being able to pay enough to make up for lost revenue from advertising. The web is built on advertising revenue; I'm certainly not saying that's a good thing but it is true, and it's a hard paradigm to change it seems.
  • Optional (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Mr_Silver ( 213637 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @05:18PM (#50592759)

    As long as the developer of Crystal puts a tickbox in the preferences to allow you to block "acceptable advertising" then I don't see the issue. I understand that Crystal doesn't have a preferences screen right now, but it shouldn't be that hard to add one.

    People who are happy to see adverts as long as they meet some sort of "acceptable" criteria can have it turned off - and people who just never want to see an advert again can turn it on.

    Please don't let it be a repeat of Adblock Plus where all the nerdrage drowned out the few voices of reason that merely pointed out that all the anger could be resolved with the unchecking of a single tickbox in the preferences.

  • Bait and switch (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fishscene ( 3662081 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @05:31PM (#50592835)
    I requested a refund. Seems like Apple promptly granted it to me. Not sure when the funds will be returned to my account though. I *strongly* urge everyone to do the same out of principle. Sling-Media pulled this stunt with the Slingbox. We need to nip this sort of thing in the bud.
    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      More than principle, it stands to reason he gets a benefit from having all those users. I mean, if you made an ad blocker that had 25 users tops, I doubt you'd be getting the sweet sweet cash to use an "acceptable ads" default whitelist.

  • I have an iPhone, but I've been holding off on getting an ad blocker until it becomes apparent which one will really be the best. Apparently I also need to wait to see which one won't close up shop and which one will really be an ad blocker and not just a pseudo-ad blocker.
    • I don't trust ad blockers as they funnel web and/or other traffic through the developer's hollowed-out volcano.
      • do you at least get lots of orange crush?

      • The only kind of ad blocking I trust is localhost redirects via /etc/hosts. This is what I do for my desktop and Android phone. I believe there's a similar mechanism for Windows. Since iOS is running a BSD base, wouldn't it be the same for iPhones? Create a host file with something like:

        127.0.0.1 facebook.com

      • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

        > I don't trust ad blockers as they funnel web and/or other traffic through the developer's hollowed-out volcano.

        LIES!

        Well, for Apple this is lies. For many other places too. The content blockers in ios don't actually get access like you are thinking of.

        https://developer.apple.com/li... [apple.com]

        "Safari converts the JSON to bytecode, which it applies efficiently to all resource loads without leaking information about the user’s browsing back to the app extension"

        So no, unlike an adblocker running as an exe

  • Remember: "If you are not the customer, you're the product."? I don't remember ever seeing "You are the customer AND you are the product."
    • I don't remember ever seeing "You are the customer AND you are the product."

      Hey man, get with the new paradigm. (The new paradigm is $49.95 a month, plus taxes and other applicable fees, shipping, handling, etc. Thank you for your continued patronage.)

  • by Wrath0fb0b ( 302444 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @06:43PM (#50593267)

    I thought we said we wanted adblock because there were too many ads using (pick any/all):
          [ ] Tracking cookies
          [ ] Pop-ups
          [ ] Pop-unders
          [ ] Click-throughs
          [ ] Flash or other auto-play media
          [ ] Obtrusive (mid-article) placement
          [ ] Annoying (blinking!) styling
          [ ] Malware (usually flash based)

    Of course companies do that because they have an incentive to do so. Now a company is saying -- hey, we'll give you an incentive to use unobtrusive ads -- they'll actually reach more people (including the much sought-after millennials who use adblockers the most). And we're upset that the incentive will align towards them?

    I mean, if you point was to fuck the advertisers -- sure. But say that upfront, don't gripe about the method and then get all upset when someone tries to devise a scheme for reasonable ads.

    • by cfalcon ( 779563 )

      Some people complain about that. That's a side issue. The problem with advertisements is the advertisements. Fuck the advertisements, fuck the advertisers. Fuck them so hard for hurting anyone who views advertisements, fuck them for making it difficult to not ever have to view their bullshit, and MOST OF ALL fuck them for working so hard to destroy any non-advertisement based method of content delivery, so that shills can parrot "brawk, but how will the content creators get paid, brawwwk?"

      Not my problem

      • If you don't want to see ads, don't go to sites with advertisements. Seems a pretty logical extension of the ad blocker. You can have three choices. (1) If a web site has ads, block all visits to the site (you're probably the only person in the world who will use this feature) (2) If a web site has ads that are also malware, block the ads, (3) If the ads are just ads the same way that they are in traditional media (newspaper, magazine) read the content. I have pointed out in another post that a more rea
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Even with text-only "acceptable" ads it's difficult to know if they are respecting Do Not Track. Even if they don't send cookies, they can track by IP address. It's not as good, but it's still tracking.

      I'm not against accepting some advertising, but only if my IP address is masked (shared VPN) and the company vetting the advertisers checks for compliance regularly.

    • by N1AK ( 864906 )

      Now a company is saying -- hey, we'll give you an incentive to use unobtrusive ads -- they'll actually reach more people (including the much sought-after millennials who use adblockers the most).

      There are plenty of people who would be upset about that, but that isn't what is happening here. It's one thing for an adblocker to set a threshold for acceptable advertising, it's entirely another for them both dupe paying customers and allow advertisers to buy there way around the filter.

  • AdBlock Plus: Extortion or Smart Business? | John C. Dvorak | http://www.pcmag.com/article2/... [pcmag.com]
    Adblock Plus demands cash from websites to whitelist ads | http://www.digitaltrends.com/w... [digitaltrends.com]

    Is that extortion? the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    A German court says it isn't. http://blog.pagefair.com/2015/... [pagefair.com]

    Still stinks, but. People use adblockers to block ads. Not to only see ads where the advertiser greases the palm of so
    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      Afaik ABP is still free to users so they are only being paid by one party Crystal is now being paid by 2 parties.

      I don't like that.

      • True. And not only did Dean Murphy's app net $75,000 from customers who thought they were paying for an ad-free experience, but the extra cash to allow ads is being paid to him by Adblock Plus themselves! http://www.theverge.com/2015/9... [theverge.com]

        iTunes says nothing about letting certain ads through: "Crystal is a content blocker for iPhone & iPad designed to make the mobile web a great experience. It blocks Adverts, User Tracking and improves speed, data use and battery life of your device as a result." Dece
        • by N1AK ( 864906 )
          It isn't, though I don't agree with what he is doing. It does block adverts (it just won't block all adverts). A bit like a hand-sanitiser being advertised as "kills germs".
  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @06:47PM (#50593289) Journal
    If that's the way they want to do things, then they're basically creating malware and nobody should use their app.
  • by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @07:41PM (#50593527) Homepage
    ...and Crystal plummets out of sight in 3...2...1...

    Me, I'm a bit miffed that I finally upgraded my iPhone 4S to iOS 9 so that I could install an ad-blocker, but then find that the 4S doesn't support ad blockers because it doesn't have a 64-bit chip. I have no idea why an ad blocker would require that. Some claim it needs high performance, but that doesn't make sense - surely blocking an ad reduces the performance required to display a page? Don't get it, seems like Apple just arbitrarily decided that ad blocking needs a modern device as an upgrade driver.
    • ...and Crystal plummets out of sight in 3...2...1... Me, I'm a bit miffed that I finally upgraded my iPhone 4S to iOS 9 so that I could install an ad-blocker, but then find that the 4S doesn't support ad blockers because it doesn't have a 64-bit chip. I have no idea why an ad blocker would require that. Some claim it needs high performance, but that doesn't make sense - surely blocking an ad reduces the performance required to display a page? Don't get it, seems like Apple just arbitrarily decided that ad blocking needs a modern device as an upgrade driver.

      Further proof that support for consumer electronics these days ages in dog years.

  • It seems simple to me, just get a refund and use the money to purchase one that actually works. The refund is a legal right in most countries if the product does not work as claimed. Here in NZ consumer protection laws would see the refund being a simple process in this case, an ad blocker must block ads or your money back.

    Disclaimer: I use Firefox/Adblock Edge so have never paid for an ad blocker.
  • Since my iPad mini was Left Behind (Apple says 32 bit devices do not support native ad-blocking), I bought Weblock, which works with my older device. Seems to be working well so far, and also works with Google Chrome, which is my preferred browser.

  • How about an ad blocker that charges advertisers per view to let their ads be seen, and pays users a portion of that (say split it 10% to the blocker's developer, half the remainder to the site and half to the user) if they allow the ads to be shown to them. If the advertiser wants more views, they can either a) make more interesting ads that people actually want to see or b) offer more money for people's attention.

  • by gringer ( 252588 ) on Thursday September 24, 2015 @10:54PM (#50594387)

    People are prepared to pay money to block ads, and advertisers are prepared to pay money to keep ads being displayed. How about using some of that money to pay for maintenance of the websites that have blocked ads?

    • I posted the same thing but didn't express it as well. Sadly that means I can't mod you up.
  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Friday September 25, 2015 @03:41AM (#50595231) Homepage Journal

    Here is what's wrong with all this bullshit in one sentence:

    If your company wants to show me ads, you pay me for my time and attention.

    Not some software developer, not some marketing company that promises to bypass all my filters, not some spammer who will flood my inbox, not anyone who basically made it a profession to show me crap that I don't want to see.

    You are using my time, my resources, my attention, you want to get inside my brain, put a message into my memory. Why don't you nitwits not get the very simple conclusion that you should put money into my pocket to make that happen?

  • What if advertisers paid ME, directly, to see their ads? If some kind of system like that were in place, I would consider turning off my ad blocker.

     

    • That's happening right now. Your payment for viewing the ads is getting to see the /. content. You can also find places where, in exchange for watching a 30 second video clip, you get 45 minutes of access to their WiFi network. Lots of advertisers will buy you dinner if you listen to their sales pitch. Oh and I'm sure you can find companies out there that will pay you cash. For web browsing, your payment is the content.
  • And this is why ad-blocking should be done at the hosts file level... Oh, you can't do that with an iOS device? Well, well, well...

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