Peace, the most popular ad-blocking app on the Apple App Store, has been pulled out by its developer just two days after it skyrocketed to the top of the app charts because he says he does not feel good about the app's success.
Marco Arment, cofounder of Tumblr and reading app Instapaper, launched Peace for $2.99 on the App Store on Sept. 16, in time with the release of iOS 9. Within hours, the app, along with two other ad blockers Crystal and Purify, Peace easily became the most popular paid app in the Apple App Store.
However, Arment is now having second thoughts about the purpose of his app, which is no longer available for download. In a blog post, the developer questions the virtue of lumping all sorts of ads together and blocking out all of them, to the detriment of people whom he says do not deserve to be harmed.
"Ad blockers come with an important asterisk: while they do benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don't deserve the hit," Arment says. "Peace required that all ads be treated the same-all-or-nothing enforcement for decisions that aren't black and white. This approach is too blunt, and Ghostery and I have both decided that it doesn't serve our goals or beliefs well enough."
Instead, he says ad-blocking should be taken with a "more nuanced, complex approach" that takes into consideration what types of ads should be blocked.
As one of the fastest growing sectors in the advertising industry, mobile ads are seen by content publishers and technology companies such as Google and Facebook as one of their most important revenue streams in the future.
However, Apple caused a commotion for advertisers and publishers when it released iOS 9 on Wednesday. The latest operating system lets developers build apps that can block ads and scripts in Apple's default web browser Safari.
As Arment points out, ad-blockers are beneficial to users, as they speed up a web page's loading times and filter out the trackers that usually come with these apps. However, he also says he is not comfortable dictating what should and should not be blocked.
While it may seem surprising for most users, there are actually ads that do not slow down a website or have trackers installed on them. For instance, John Gruber of Daring Fireball says The Deck, the ad network were his blog is part of, does not serve these kinds of ads.
"In my opinion, they're good-looking ads for high-quality products and services," Gruber tells the New York Times. "Why block that?"