According to a Nieman Lab report, Apple’s developer documentation for the new Safari browser features notice of content blocking extensions intended to offer a way to block various resources from a website. The direct quote from the documentation states:
The new Safari release brings Content Blocking Safari Extensions to iOS. Content Blocking gives your extensions a fast and efficient way to block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups, and other content.
Your app extension is responsible for supplying a JSON file to Safari. The JSON consists of an array of rules (triggers and actions) for blocking specified content. Safari converts the JSON to bytecode, which it applies efficiently to all resource loads without leaking information about the user’s browsing back to the app extension.
Xcode includes a Content Blocker App Extension template that contains code to send your JSON file to Safari. Just edit the JSON file in the template to provide your own triggers and actions.
So come iOS 9 in the fall of this year (2015) you’ll be able to head on over to the App Store on your iPhone and download some sort of extension to block ads on the websites you browse – and this sucks for us webmasters. Fact is that all publishers make tiny tiny dollars from their mobile users – which lately make up more than 50% of certain sites audiences. If iOS users now all start running ad-blocking software publisher revenues will be hurt drastically – and that revenue powers most of the news sites that we read. Sure the average web user will enjoy their new ad-free browsing experience, but what happens when their favorite publishers start to disappear because revenue is disappearing?
Granted neither me, nor anyone really, knows what exactly these content blocking extensions will bring – however right now, on behalf of all webmasters, I’m a bit worried.