Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Apple's Safari 5 reader can strip out "visual distractions" (ads) from magazine web pages

In the constantly shifting world of print and online, magazine publishers may be hoping that online advertising on their sites will grow sufficiently to replace some of their lost revenue. They will get little comfort from a post on Wired.com that says Apples's Safari 5 Reader includes a prominent ad-blocking feature.
Now most similar applications allow blocking of annoying popups etc. But Apple is promoting its ability to "remove annoying ads and other visual distractions from online articles. So you get the whole story and nothing but the story."
Since readers must opt to remove ads manually for each page, the article says, publishers with tasteful, uncrowded designs should see fewer removed by users. It points out that Apple's share of the U.S. smartphone market is second only to the Blackberry and iPhone's web browsing share is about 58%. Safari is also the default browser on the iPhone and the iPad.  
Guess where publications’ ads won’t get blocked? Inside an iOS app. And if those same publishers choose to run Apple iAds within their iPhone apps, Apple wins again, earning a 40 percent cut of resulting ad revenue — a position in which no other ad blocker or web browser finds itself....
It may seem like a subtle move for Apple to release a browser that removes ads from the web, and of course, nobody likes reading web pages that are drowning in ads. But when Apple owns a walled garden that offers publishers refuge from web perils like ad blockers, it also seems disingenuous of the company to make the world outside of that garden more perilous for publishers.

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