iOS 9 Ad Blocking Could Alter Internet Commerce - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Applications
Commentary
9/1/2015
01:05 PM
Larry Loeb
Larry Loeb
Commentary
50%
50%

iOS 9 Ad Blocking Could Alter Internet Commerce

Whether it's a cynical move or not, Apple's upcoming release of iOS 9 can give users the ability to block ads on a mobile browser. This is a serious concern for online advertisers.

10 Handy iPhone Apps Worth Downloading
10 Handy iPhone Apps Worth Downloading
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

As Apple prepares to release iOS 9 -- the company's latest version of its mobile operating system -- later this month to coincide with what many believe is the debut of the iPhone 6s, one feature that is built into the new version of iOS is getting a lot of attention for its disruptive potential to the current economic model of the Internet.

That feature is content blocking for the Safari browser. This brings what has been called "ad blocking" on desktop browsers to the mobile browser. While this behavior is not enabled by default, the new APIs give developers a way to extend the mobile browsers so that they do block content.

Content blocking is more far-reaching than just ads. As Apple notes in the developer library for Safari 9: "Content Blocking gives your extensions a fast and efficient way to block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups, and other content."

(Image: Ellica_S/iStockphoto)

(Image: Ellica_S/iStockphoto)

That means that the scripts and tricks that websites use to obtain user information can also be blocked. The tools publishers use, such as Parse.ly or Google Analytics, can also be blocked along with the ads that are served against that data.

Indeed, Apple introduced the "beforeload" routine to the open sourced WebKit used by Chrome. In addition, true blocking that does not even download these resources has been available in Chrome since Version 5 of Google's browser. It's not just for Safari anymore.

Apple has said its goals are to speed up the loading time of Web content on devices. Some have wondered if Apple is simply trying to kneecap Google and others that serve up ads to websites, a business in which it is not involved.

The Apple iAd service only runs within apps. (I'll have more on that in a moment.)

The counter-revolution has already begun.

Ben Barokas is the CEO of Sourcepoint, which helps publishers deal with content blocking. The company provides a platform that "gives users a choice on how they compensate a publisher for their content," Barokas told InformationWeek.

"Users need to opt-in to either advertising or subscription or some combination of the two. We provide the technical platform that gives publishers a way to talk to their users about how they want to compensate the publisher."

[Read why the iPhone is so profitable for Apple.]

Sourcepoint measures ad blocking, and provides information to ad serving systems about what a user will or will not do, according to Barokas. By making an ad look like the content on the site, content blocking can be mitigated by forcing the user to allow the ad or not see any of the site content.

Another way to bypass blocking is to provide content within your own app. Content blocking works within a browser environment as an extension of that browser, but currently does not work inside an app.

Remember where I noted iAd works only within apps? The more cynical among us will realize that Apple's actions will not affect its own business. It will, however, affect almost everyone else’s.

Take that, Google.

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek. He has written a book on the Secure Electronic Transaction Internet ... View Full Bio
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
larryloeb
50%
50%
larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
9/2/2015 | 5:24:56 AM
Re: ad block
Protected from what? I'm not sure what you mean.

iOS9 also introduces Apple Transport System, which is a way to get default secure/encrypted browsing going.

That's a different security than the content blocking that is also going on.
Gary_EL
50%
50%
Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
9/1/2015 | 11:04:40 PM
Re: ad block
We should be as protected on mobil as we are on desktop. Good for Apple!
larryloeb
50%
50%
larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
9/1/2015 | 4:15:53 PM
Re: ad block
OK, one vote for "no"

Anyone else?
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Author
9/1/2015 | 4:04:27 PM
Re: ad block
I'm not sure that I would. Also from the marketer's perspective, they have to consider if its really effective to blast people with ads who only endure them because they're being paid to.
larryloeb
50%
50%
larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
9/1/2015 | 3:59:11 PM
Re: ad block
This is not going to be an easy thing to solve.

One concept that is beeing tried (been.mobi for example) is to reward you if you let the ads through.

Would you do that for $20 a month in your PayPal account?
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Author
9/1/2015 | 3:01:54 PM
Re: ad block
< it scares the pants off the advertisers and publishers.> I'm sure it does. But the solution is not forcing people to view ads they don't want to see. And as you can see from the comments on http://blog.pagefair.com/2015/ad-blocking-report/, it's not just the ads people object to. 

 
larryloeb
50%
50%
larryloeb,
User Rank: Author
9/1/2015 | 2:26:04 PM
Re: ad block
It's a selling point to the user, sure.

But since blockers havent been a factor in mobile yet, and mobile browsing is growoing very fast; it scares the pants off the advertisers and publishers.

It goes back to the tradeoff the internet has come to be. Watch the ads, and you get something to see.

 

 
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Author
9/1/2015 | 2:15:47 PM
ad block
Now that would likely be a huge selling point. Ads are intrusive enough on a desktop, on a small phone screen, they're probably even more annyoing.
<<   <   Page 2 / 2
News
The State of Chatbots: Pandemic Edition
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  9/10/2020
Commentary
Deloitte on Cloud, the Edge, and Enterprise Expectations
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  9/14/2020
Slideshows
Data Science: How the Pandemic Has Affected 10 Popular Jobs
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  9/9/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
IT Automation Transforms Network Management
In this special report we will examine the layers of automation and orchestration in IT operations, and how they can provide high availability and greater scale for modern applications and business demands.
Slideshows
Flash Poll