Marco Arment Pulls ‘Peace’ iOS Content Blocker from App Store


iOS 9 allowed developers to create their own content blocking apps to strip away advertising on websites. Marco Arment, founder of Instapaper, launched Peace for iOS just 36 hours ago. It quickly vaulted into the top paid spot in the U.S. and Canada. But now, he has decided to suddenly pull it from the App Store.

Here’s why, according to Arment (he also urges users to ask iTunes support for a refund):

Achieving this much success with Peace just doesn’t feel good, which I didn’t anticipate, but probably should have. 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.

Peace required that all ads be treated the same — all-or-nothing enforcement for decisions that aren’t black and white. This approach is too blunt, and Ghostery and I have both decided that it doesn’t serve our goals or beliefs well enough. If we’re going to effect positive change overall, a more nuanced, complex approach is required than what I can bring in a simple iOS app.

Such an interesting move by Arment, but good on him to follow through on his gut instincts.

Now, time for some real talk. As you know, we haven’t addressed the nature of content blockers on iPhone in Canada yet. Our site is powered by advertising in order to keep the lights on around here (and to feed our families), which allows us to enjoy what we do most: providing you with the best Apple and mobile news for Canadians. 

While we have plans to rework advertising on our site, in the meantime what’s here makes it possible for us to do our jobs. If we have helped you or provided you with meaningful news or a tip in any way in the past, we’re kindly asking you to consider whitelisting our site. While the war on ads will never go away, if you enjoy what you’re seeing here, support us so we can continue to do it. Thanks! – Gary

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  • Magrat22

    First thing I did when I added Peace. Your ad’s aren’t in your face like some sites so wasn’t a hard decision.

  • Thanks for your support! 🙂

  • Ray

    Same here. One question Gary. If you kept the app rather than ask for refund would it keep working as expected or eventually stop altogether?

  • Thanks Ray!

    From what Marco wrote, sounds like the app will continue to function, but won’t get updates: “It’ll keep working for a long time if you already have it, but with no updates.”

  • C Pak

    Now I wish I would have bought it

  • Anthony ?

    While I understand where he’s coming from this is a boneheaded customer service move. Don’t put a paid app on the store and then pull it because it was “too popular”. Suggesting that people ask Apple for a refund is also wasting massive amounts of people’s time. The issue with this is that if you keep the app he won’t be updating it, so basically you paid $3 to rent the app for a day.

    What a moron, he should have thought this through before submitting it to Apple and selling it to thousands of people.

  • Jezzah

    I detest mobile advertising. But I also understand that it is a necessary evil. Whitelisted.

  • Bless you, kind sir!

  • It’s Me

    What’s wrong with having second thoughts? Upon reflection he decided that he was hurting more than he was helping and on principle decided to pull it. He was making a ton of money from this. Not sure why you would fault a guy for voluntarily giving up a big pile of money for his principles.

  • MichaelYYZ

    I generally am not bothered by ads on websites but iPhone in Canada in particular has these really annoying pop-up banners that occupy about 15% of the bottom of the screen on my iPad. I simply could not stand them and it was very frustrating to have to click on the ‘X’ symbol to close them each and every time I was loading another page.

    Thank you, Apple, for allowing ad-blocking extensions in Safari! Hopefully, I’ll begin to again enjoy reading this otherwise very interesting and useful site.

  • Anthony ?

    I’m not faulting him for giving up the money (which incidentally he doesn’t need, he’s already extremely well off), I’m faulting him for abandoning the thousands of customers who bought his app, some solely based on his name being attached to it, literally within a day of the app being generally available.

    He has an obligation to his customers that supersedes whatever personal crisis he’s facing due to it being successful. Having sold the app for $$, he has an obligation to support the app for a certain period of time that should exceed 24 hours in my opinion. If the app was free, different story. Free comes with zero expectation of support.

    Personally I think he got criticized by his Apple blogger buddies (Gruber, etc.) and didn’t want to be “that guy” at the next WWDC. The time for reflective thought and decisions about who gets hurt by this are ones that should be made before you release the app, not after. I think he just caved because the spotlight was on him and he didn’t want to get painted as some bad guy by his friends, many of whom make money off Apple blogs supported by ads.

  • Reed Reedly

    BS, he made a ton of money then got a fat check from interested party’s to pull it. It’s fine if you do but quit being a liar about it. Integrity my a$$.