If you make money off of advertisements online, this might be your worst nightmare. If you don’t, however, this might rid you of some of your daily annoyances. The recent rise of ad blockers has made advertising much more difficult. Remember that iOS 9 update a month ago by Apple? Amazingly, it enabled apps to block ads, meaning you can use ad-block on your mobile. After downloading one of these apps, you won’t ever have to worry about ads popping up on your screen.
Ad blockers? Thats great news isn’t it? Ads can be annoying to users, but they are how many people make their money. This directly hurts their income, and even compromises their ability to maintain their website. The bottom line is ads are crucial to companies and individuals to survive, and ad blockers are a total disruption to this digital ecosystem. The app “Peace: Block Ads and Trackers,” powered by Ghostery, got a ton of downloads on release and hit the number-one spot on the App store of all paid apps. But soon after, its superstar developer, Marco Arment decided to pull it from the App store amid the success because he felt that it was wrong to deprive all these content providers online. Ad blockers might be a great thing for users, but there is a flip side of guilt that has proved too heavy for some developers’ conscience.
The guilt isn’t the only problem with these ad blockers. This week Apple App Store just removed all ad blockers that have installed root certificates. For those who don’t understand what root certificates are, it basically allows the app developers to theoretically gain access to encrypted traffic from users. They basically set up a VPN where all traffic is run through the developer’s servers to remove the ads. This is a process that could be used for malicious practices such as monitoring users’ personal browsing data and habits. The apps that have this root certificate installed not only block ads on Safari, they also block ads shown in other apps, such as Facebook and Twitter. Other ad blockers who don’t use the root certificate, the Apple-approved method, can only take away ads in Safari. This is the only the beginning of the potential problems from ad blockers, but it’s still negligible for users who don’t mind. So go ahead and try out one those ad blockers and see what they can do for you, and let us know what you think about them in the comments.