Saturday, September 5, 2015

Apple’s Ad Blockers: A Threat To E-Commerce?

Forget despotic governments censoring their corner of the web, could Apple’s ad blockers be a threat not only to e-commerce in general but also to online freedom of expression as well?

By: Ringo Bones 

Ever since the September 11, 2001 Islamist terror attacks to the former US President George “Dubya” Bush’s March 2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom, every internet savvy political blogger / online publisher worth his or her salt had known how adverts allow their so-called “political rants” to be far more visible in cyberspace if they allow Google ads to be displayed with it despite of despotic governments’ efforts of online censorship. But will the recent move by the world’s leading Smartphone maker Apple with their Ad Blocker app prove to be an online censorship measure so effective that makes you wonder “why has the Unit 61398 of the Beijing 50-Cent Cyber Army thought of it first”? 

The issue is of current paramount importance because Smartphone / Mobile Phone adverts of various companies are already a 70-billion US dollar a year industry and Apple’s add blocker app might pose an economic threat to this lucrative industry that helped the political rants of the world’s poorest 99-percent guaranteed visibility online. But some of the world’s computer “wunderkinds” aged 15 to 24 has started to subscribe the conspiracy theory that the real reason why Apple launched its ad blocker app for its Smartphones its not because Apple’s altruistic need to help its customers to “remove visual distractions from web articles” or “remove annoying ads and other visual distractions” but as a ploy to push Apple’s iAdd app advertising platform to the world’s online advertisers which according to online publishing pundits is already proven to be “scarily successful” in Apple’s recent demonstrations in recent major various consumer electronics conventions. 

Sadly, it is not just Apple’s ad blocker app that’s threatening online freedom of expression, some recent Mozilla Firefox variants has the option to allow proprietors of internet cafés to block whatever major online search engine, site or advertisement that suits their fancy. There’s even an internet café located in front of University of Cebu – one of the major IT colleges in Cebu City – that allowed its owners to block Google-mail and other Google related services in all of the desktop PCs they provide for their customers. I don’t know if the said proprietor of that internet café is beholden to Yahoo’s Marissa Meyer but it is a “scary glimpse” of what it’s like to use a public internet café establishment in The People’s Republic Of China.

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