Saturday, September 19, 2015 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Peace iOS 9 Content Blocker

Marco Arment:

Today, I’m launching my own iOS 9 content blocker, called Peace, to bring peace, quiet, privacy, and — as a nice side benefit — ludicrous speed to iOS web browsing.

There are a lot of content blockers being released today, but Peace strikes the best balance I’ve seen between effectiveness, compatibility, simplicity, and speed, powered by what I’ve found to be the best database in the business after months of testing. And it’s just $2.99.

Marco Arment:

I was therefore faced with a decision about The Deck. I had to either:

  • Omit The Deck from Ghostery’s database, carving out an exception for the advertiser used by me and many of my friends.
  • Enforce Ghostery’s database consistently, potentially angering my own site’s advertiser and my friends who use it.

Marco Arment (tweet, comments):

I’ve pulled Peace from the App Store. I’m sorry to all of my fans and customers who bought this on my name, expecting it to be supported for longer than two days. It’ll keep working for a long time if you already have it, but with no updates.

[…]

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

[…]

I still believe that ad blockers are necessary today, and I still think Ghostery is the best one, but I’ve learned over the last few crazy days that I don’t feel good making one and being the arbiter of what’s blocked.

John Gruber:

Actually, I tried to talk him out of doing this. Seriously!

I think content blockers should block “crap”, not “ads”, and The Deck is not crap.

Marco Arment:

I’m giving it to [Ghostery].

Dave Mark:

I’ve tested all of these (visiting some specific ad-heavy pages), except where noted, and they all improve the mobile Safari experience. They are all free or relatively inexpensive. I suspect they’ll all evolve over time, as advertisers find ways to bypass content blockers and blockers update as they learn.

John Gruber:

Note that Hide & Seek has nothing to do with “blocking ads”. It is simply about maintaining your privacy and anonymity while using Google and Bing for web search. In my testing, it works like a charm.

Nick Lockwood:

Surely if ad blockers take off, sites will just start proxying the ads they display so they appear to come from same domain as the content?

Update (2015-09-22): Matt Henderson:

So what’s Arment to do when the email arrives from the guy in Brazil saying, “Hey, you whitelisted The Deck. Can you whitelist this Brazilian ad network as well? I know you can’t read the language, but take my word for it — it’s not crap either.” And then the request from Turkey. And then the request from China.

Marco Arment (tweet, comments):

Apple notified me this afternoon that they’ll be proactively refunding all purchases of Peace.

John Gruber:

@cabel Agreed, I was wrong. I knew the [Deck] network itself has never done cookies, but didn’t know a few advertisers had been granted exceptions.

Update (2015-09-25): There is more discussion on the Accidental Tech Podcast.

5 Comments

So Marco Arment's advertisers and friends apparently got very angry …

François Joseph

I respect Marco tremendously, both as a developer and as a luminary of the Apple community. Nevertheless, I find it difficult to sympathise with someone who apparently sees no wrong in making promises and withdrawing them within a span of 48 hours. Nothing happened in-between the launch of Peace and the moment it was withdrawn that was not easily foreseeable: the controversy, the outrage, the conundrums. Marco certainly acted in good faith, but, if the reaction to Peace came as the shock it did, he was dangerously unprepared and unrealistic. People lauding his principles and scrupules all-too-conveniently forget that he broke a fundamental promise he made to his loyal supporters: software cannot be good unless it is supported. That is not worth condemning him, but surely that is worth some thought?

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