Silly Apple Criticism 2: Apple Has iAds, So Safari’s Reader Function is Hypocritical Ad Blocking

Critique: It’s hypocrtical of Apple to introduce their own ads while putting an ad blocker in Safari 5.

Safari Reader is not an ad blocker. To call it that is to misunderstand “reader” formatters, or ad blockers, or both.

An ad blocker blocks ads. Not trying to be facetious, but that’s what it does. It blocks ads. They’re blocked. You go to a web page, and you do not see ads. Ads are prevented (you might say, “blocked”) from displaying. When you browse with an ad blocker, you go from page to page sans ads. Are we clear?

A reader formatter doesn’t do that. You don’t browse with these. When you go to a page you see the same ads as everyone else. The ad impression is counted (for the content provider) and you’re free to click on any ad to view at will.

What a reader does do is determine if there’s an article on the page, and give you the option to display it more cleanly for easier reading. Yes, the ads (along with other formatiing) do not appear in the reading pane, but they’re still in the background with the rest of the web page, and when you exit the reader in any way—which you have to do to get anywhere else—they’re displayed again.

That’s a big difference. In fact, a reader cannot block ads; the page must load before it can even be invoked in the first place. No one accuses Readability, for example, of being an ad blocker. In fact, someone looking for an ad blocker would be extremely disappointed in the results if they tried to use one of these readers for that purpose.

2 thoughts on “Silly Apple Criticism 2: Apple Has iAds, So Safari’s Reader Function is Hypocritical Ad Blocking

  1. Your comparison to Readability is particularly appropriate since, according to the Readability team, Reader is based on it. I’m not sure how people are getting confused between the open web on the desktop and the closed iOS & apps. It isn’t like Apple’s offering a way to use apps without the ads.

  2. it’s not hypocritical, it’s even a perfectly consistent strategy: Apple wants to deliver the Best User Experience, and in both cases bad advertising is the target.

Comments are closed.