Ad-Blocking Software: A Threat and an Opportunity for Mobile App Developers

September 21, 2015 - 2 minutes read


Apple ruffled some feathers at the 2015 Developers’ Conference when the company unveiled an upcoming “content blocking” feature aimed at blacking out unwanted ads. The conference schedule used the following wording to introduce the session:

“Safari in iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan delivers new ways for your app to extend Safari’s behavior. Learn how to create Shared Links and Content Blocking extensions for iOS and OS X, and about changes to the Safari Extension development process.”

Some interpreted the announcement as a further indication that the rivalry between Apple and Google is heating up even further, and that Apple wants its iAds platform to achieve a virtual monopoly. However, others were quick to point out that the proposed content blockers aren’t actually produced by Apple, but will be created and distributed by independent mobile app developers. Regardless, the new “content blocking” capabilities hold the potential to radically reshape the mobile Internet surfing experience.

For iPhone app developers in Boston and around the world, the new “content blockers” will create challenges as well as opportunities. On the plus side, tests showed that the content blocking software led to massive improvements in smartphone Web browsing performance, providing a huge boost to page loading times. On the down side, these types of ad blocking capabilities take a big bite out of major revenue streams – revenues that many companies rely on.

If the content blocking technologies catch on, they could prove to be a game-changer, particularly in the world of mobile Internet. It will be up to the industry to adapt to the new environment, and as with all types of disruptive technologies, a new door opens whenever an old one closes.

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