After peaking as the No. 1 most downloaded paid app on iTunes, the developer of popular iOS 9 ad-blocker Peace pulled it off the market after just two days.
New apps like Peace and Clearly (the app that quickly replaced Peace in the No. 1 spot) have fueled a wide-ranging debate about the future of advertisement-supported websites—you know, like this one, and just about every other media site.
Apparently, developer Marco Arment, couldn’t stomach the fact that his project could eventually end up costing hardworking media types (like me!, full disclosure) their jobs.
“Achieving this much success with Peace just doesn’t feel good, which I didn’t anticipate, but probably should have,” Arment wrote in a blog post today. “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.” While ad blockers are useful, he writes, an “all-or-nothing” approach is not fair.
Even with Peace gone, this is likely only the first few drops of what The Verge Editor-in-chief Nilay Patel calls a “bloodbath of independent media” as tech giants Google, Apple and Facebook compete for dominance.
Patel writes that digital savvy larger publishers should be fine and there could be opportunities for new media companies, “But taking money and attention away from the web means that the pace of web innovation will slow to a crawl. … And asking most small- to medium-sized sites to weather that change without dramatic consequences is utterly foolish.”
As history shows, people like free stuff, despite the consequences. And there is always a new “disruptor” waiting in the wings to assist. Ask your favorite musician, movie producer or journalist—they’ll tell you all about it.