Whose Phones Are They?

Apple Inc’s move to make it easier to block ads on iPhones and iPads is troubling publishers and heightening tensions with its Silicon Valley neighbors.

Putting such “ad blockers” within reach of hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users threatens to disrupt the $70 billion annual mobile-marketing business, where many publishers and tech firms hope to generate far more revenue from a growing mobile audience. If fewer users see ads, publishers—and other players such as ad networks—will reap less revenue.

Yeah, and? I sympathize with publishers and tech firms and…ad networks…over their loss of revenue from their ads not being viewed—about as much as I sympathize with other advertisers over the loss of revenue from their bulk snail mail brochures going unread directly from my mailbox to my trash can.

My house is my own, and advertisers have no authority, no right, to enter it to pitch their wares, or for any other reason at all, without my prior permission to come in. If I wanted to be a curmudgeon about it, I could—quite legally and morally—take steps to prevent them from entering my property at all to gain access to my doorbell. That I don’t is only because such a measure would interfere with the access to my door that my friends and those friends who are still strangers should have.

So it is with my cell phone. It’s my cell phone, not those advertisers’, and if I don’t want them to clutter up my phone with their digital brochures, then they have no choice but to comply with my wish that they not come knocking at all.

Here’s Jason Kint, CEO of Digital Content Next:

The ad-blocking problem is real and growing, and ad-blocking on iOS is only going to accelerate it.

Problem for whom? Not for the property owners. We’re not your piggy bank.

I don’t often agree with Apple, but on this question I say a hearty well done.

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