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Popular iOS Ad Blocker Will Charge Advertisers For Access To Your Eyeballs

14068683780_ab27e86ec2_hWhen iOS 9 shipped last week it brought with it the hopes of an effective solution to the problem of browsing on iOS (I’ve been using an ad blocker on Android for years). It’s now a week later and the most popular ad-blocking app has been pulled due to a guilty conscience, and the developer of one of the next most popular ad blocking apps has gone over to the dark side.

The WSJ reports that the developer of Crystal is selling out his paying customers:

When Dean Murphy created Crystal, an application to help users block ads on Apple Inc.’s mobile devices, he knew there was pent-up demand from consumers frustrated with how cluttered the Web has become.

Still, the U.K.-based software developer was surprised by how fast consumers snapped up his product. In the week following its Sept. 16 launch, the 99-cent app was downloaded more than 100,000 times, according to data from mobile-app market intelligence firm Apptopia, generating an estimated $75,000 for Mr. Murphy. (Apple gets a cut.)

Eyeo (the developer of AdBlock Plus) is now reaching out to developers of other ad-blocking tools to cut deals that allow certain ads to pass ads through their filters, too, in exchange for payment.

Mr. Murphy said he has taken Eyeo up on its offer, and plans to implement an option within his app whereby “acceptable” ads will be displayed to users. The feature will be switched on by default, Mr. Murphy said, and he will receive a flat monthly fee from Eyeo in return. Mr. Murphy declined to disclose the fee, but said he expects to make less money from Eyeo’s payments than from sales of the app itself.

Eyeo has long accepted a vig from ad networks in exchange for letting their adverts through its filters. Its customers include Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Taboola, and OutBrain.

Murphy isn’t saying how much he’s getting from Eyeo, but it’s been reported that Eyeo asks for a 30% cut for the adverts it allows past its filter under the acceptable advert policy.

But one key difference between Eyeo and Crystal is that Eyeo’s product, AdBlock plus, is free. Everyone who installed Crystal paid a buck for it, but apparently that doesn’t concern Murphy.

No, his heart goes out to web publishers. He’s deeply concerned that publishers aren’t overburdened by all-out blocking of ads on their sites. "Given how popular Crystal has become, it doesn’t provide any way for users to support publishers," he told WSJ. "I decided that’s a good feature to provide, and from what I’ve seen the ‘acceptable ads’ policy doesn’t let through what I’d classify as bad ads."

If it really bothers him so much that his app blocks adverts then perhaps he shouldn’t have released it. Of course, had he taken that path then he wouldn’t have people lining up to pay a dollar to have their eyeballs sold to advertisers.

image by -Abdik-

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picky September 25, 2015 um 2:22 am

The ABP developers are complete scumbags. I’ve been saying it for years. They cut deals with ad companies (which isn’t the user’s interest in the first place) with absolutely no transparency as to how much they’re getting. The criteria on which ad company gets to have "acceptable ads" does not seem to be how invasive the ads are, as the ABP developers claim, but how much they can pay us. The proof is in the pudding – they had no problem cutting a deal with Google, one of the most heavily tracking ad company and also one of the most prevalent.
And there’s another angle: there has been some talk about "ethical" adblocking lately. This is way worse. They blackmail large corporations to sell them something that they themselves blocked. Eyeo is morally bankrupt and I wish gorhill was better at the public relations aspect so that he could make ABP shrink even further.

On-line advertising: Everyone passes the buck, but publishers should step up | TeleRead September 25, 2015 um 5:02 am

[…] Nate points out at The Digital Reader, it’s one thing for Eyeo to take payment for allowing ads through its free AdBlock Plus product […]

SAD September 25, 2015 um 9:41 am

AdBlockPlus has very clear rules about what constitues an 'acceptable' ad.
I don’t know how they treat large corporations, but as a user I’m very happy with their product.

Chris Meadows September 25, 2015 um 12:20 pm

As I said in the trackback article linked down there, I use plain old AdBlock non-plus, because I’m nonplussed with AdBlock Plus.

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