After Marco Arment abruptly removed Peace, the first top-selling iOS 9 ad blocker, from the App Store, another app called Crystal has risen in its place. In fact, Crystal is now the number one paid app on Apple's mobile platform. The Wall Street Journal says reports that developer Dean Murphy has already earned around $75,000 (leaving out Apple's chunk) from sales of the 99 cent app. Not bad — but apparently it's also not enough. The Journal's piece also reveals that Murphy has entered into an agreement with Adblock Pro maker Eyeo GmbH that will allow other companies to pay so that their ads get through Crystal's filter.
Eyeo says its "acceptable ads" policy prohibits anything from being too intrusive or annoying. But over 70 companies (including Google and Microsoft) are already paying to be let through ad blocker technology — and there's potential for way more; Eyeo told the Journal that over 700 companies have ads that meet its criteria.
Murphy, meanwhile, will receive a flat monthly fee from Eyeo on top of his App Store earnings for making sure that this whitelist is enabled in Crystal by default. His reasoning? Saving the publishing industry, of course. "Given how popular Crystal has become, it doesn’t provide any way for users to support publishers," he told the Journal. "I decided that’s a good feature to provide, and from what I’ve seen the ‘acceptable ads’ policy doesn’t let through what I’d classify as bad ads." Unfortunately, Eyeo isn't very transparent about which companies it works with, so the justification rings a bit hollow. The Awl sums it up pretty concisely:
If your adblocker takes money from you in order to block ads, and then takes money from huge companies in order to show you the ads that you paid for it to block, then yes; it’s just using you to erect a tollbooth.