Return to site

The right way to block ads on news sites

(AKA a new feature added to Recent News for iOS)

Recent News for iOS will soon have reader viewwhich displays the text of news articles but not the advertisements.
Background: We're implementing a feature that Apple built into iOS 9 called Safari View Controller. It lets users tap on a button to switch to reader view, which intelligently hides ads but not images from the article itself.
We're implementing the controller not only because our users really, really want it, but also because it's a better experience overall. The controller is faster and more stable on large webpages than the in-app webview we currently use in iOS, it integrates well with Safari, it has a nicer UI for navigation, and on devices with 3D Touch it provides automatic peek for links.
This was a difficult decision because we want to support good journalism, and, at the margin, not showing advertisements could affect news organizations' revenue.
We're sympathetic to this point. One of our founders is a former technology journalist for CNET and Wired and we're the first news app (that we're aware of, at least) using article quality as an input to our recommendation engine. Recent News wouldn't exist without excellent journalism.
So what we're doing is not implementing a controller feature called "entersReaderIfAvailable." That feature hides ads by default on sites with reader view available. Because we're not enabling that feature, ads will always be loaded by default.
We'll revisit this decision in a month or so and see if it still makes sense—especially because the state of ad blocking on iOS is currently in flux. But at least at the moment, that's how we're planning to give our users the great experience they've come to expect from Recent News while simultaneously supporting good journalism. (The in-app webview will continue to be used for iOS <9 users and iOS =>9 users who change the default from the settings screen.)
We just added support for reader view to Recent News this afternoon, so give us a little while to test and upload it. Meanwhile, if you haven't already, you can download the current versions of Recent News: here's the iOS App Store link and the Android Play Store link.
Reading news with Recent News: The Verge, with and without ads displayed
Caption: An article from The Verge in the Safari View Controller with ads displayed (center) and in reader view without ads displayed (right).
All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly