AdBlock Plus finally arrives on Apple App Store, amid promise its “whitelist” will open up to outside scrutiny
The controversial open-source project Adblock Plus, the mobile extension that blocks annoying online adverts, is now officially available on the Apple iTunes Store.
Adblock Plus has also announced that it will open up its controversial “whitelist” to outside scrutiny, with an “independent board” that will inspect which adverts it allows to circumvent its technology.
Whilst the Android version of Adblock Plus returned to the Google Play Store in early September, after it was removed back in March 2013, iOS users have had to wait slightly longer.
The iOS version did actually launch at the same time as the Android version reappeared back in the Google Play Store, but Adblock Plus has had to wait a frustrating three weeks whilst it went through Apple red tape.
Eyeo, the parent company of AdBlock Plus, already had an app on the iTunes store (its own browser), but the Adblock Plus app for all iOS devices is completely free of charge and is designed to work with Apple’s Safari web browser to automatically block annoying adverts.
“A couple of weeks ago, we launched our own full-featured Adblock Browser app on the App Store,” said Till Faida, co-founder of Adblock Plus. “Now that iOS 9 is officially available, we felt it was equally important to make ad blocking available for all iOS users who want to continue using Apple’s Safari browser.”
“Either way, users will experience all the ad blocking benefits of Adblock Plus, including using less data from their data plans, faster page downloads, security from malvertising, better privacy and longer battery life,” said Faida.
Eyeo has also successfully defended itself in a German court earlier this year, after two German companies said the tool should not be allowed to block ads on websites owned by the plaintiffs. It has also this week successfully defended itself against Germany’s biggest publisher in the courts.
The app has been downloaded more than 400 million times so far, and is said to load web pages faster, save battery life, and can even prevent malware disguised as ads from infiltrating your device.
These features have unsurprisingly made it very popular with its users, but less so by publishers. Last month, a report suggested that online publishers could lose out on $21.8 billion (£14.1bn) of advertising revenue in 2015 due to the increasing use of ad blocking software.
In July, a Canadian university study has found that using the Adblock Plus browser extension can save between 25 and 40 percent network bandwidth if deployed across an internal enterprise network.
Yet Adblock Plus remains controversial to some, as Eyeo has been criticised whilst its ad-blocking plug-in is free to the general public, it does charge online publishers and websites a fee for “support services” to help them ensure certain ads get through.
And now the BBC has reported that Eyeo plans to set up an “independent board” that will inspect which ads it allows to circumvent its technology. It hopes to hopes to have the new review board in place by the end of next year, and eventually plans to give it full control over the whitelist’s rules.
“Users determined the original criteria and can object in our forum to whitelisting proposals – but since we were the only ad-blocker to offer such a compromise, we have taken on a large role in the day-to-day maintenance of the criteria,” Faida was quoted as saying.
“We have been looking for a way to make the Acceptable Ads programme completely independent while also updating the criteria to evolve with changing forms of online advertising,” Faida added. “An independent board solves both issues.”
Last month, the developer of the Peace ad-blocker, elected to pull it from the Apple App Store following a “crisis of conscience.”
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