The release of Apple’s iOS 9 led to a sharp increase in the popularity of ad blocking apps, after support for such products was added in the latest platform release.
Two titles are performing particularly well: the paid app chart has been topped by the $2.99 app Peace, while the $3.99 Purify Blocker has also held a top-five spot.
The products enable users of Apple’s Safari browser to block ads served by websites, with the added advantage of boosting download speeds.
But, unsurprisingly, the apps have been the subject of harsh criticisms from online publishers, who use ads to generate revenue rather than directly charging users to access content.
Proponents of ad blocking argue that advertising has become more intrusive, for example through the use of auto-play videos and pop-ups that impact the browsing experience.
Marco Arment, who is behind Peace (and was lead developer at Tumblr, and created Instapaper), argued that online advertising is fuelled by data tracking that is “done without your knowledge and – critically – without your consent”, with “no opportunity for disclosure, negotiation or reconsideration”.
“Publishers don’t have an easy job trying to stay in business today, but that simply doesn’t justify the rampant abuse, privacy invasion, sleaziness, and creepiness that many of them are forcing upon their readers, regardless of whether the publishers feel they had much choice in the matter,” he argued.