The iPhone version of “Minecraft” costs $US6.99 — or, as us normal people call it, “Seven freakin’ dollars.” Like,
whoa. That’s seven dollars more than most games on the App Store!
Yet, despite its (relatively) high price, “Minecraft: Pocket Edition” has sat in the number one spot on the “Top Paid Apps” chart for a really long time. Until this week, that is.
With the release of Apple’s latest mobile operating system, iOS 9, the App Store is finally allowing ad blocker apps that kill the ads you see in the Safari web browser — ads on websites like Tech Insider, for instance. Given that ads take up bandwidth (thus making websites load slower) and screen real estate, two new ad blockers have risen to prominence and ousted “Minecraft” from its long-held spot: “Crystal” and “Peace.”
That’s no small feat, and speaks to just how much mobile internet users resent seeing ads. “Peace” costs $US2.99, while “Crystal” is just $US0.99 — admittedly much less expensive than “Minecraft,” but significantly less fun.
More than just blocking ads, though, apps like “Crystal” and “Peace” push back against the tracking services that monitor internet use for patterns. You were looking at patio furniture on Amazon, for instance, and suddenly that very patio furniture is showing up in ads on your favourite websites.
How’d that happen?! All the services that track how you use the web are how that happened.
Services like “Crystal” and “Peace” stop that tracking, as well as blocking ads, thus making your Safari browsing experience slightly more palatable. They also rob publications (again, like Tech Insider) of valuable ad revenue — while many of the internet’s publications provide content for free, advertising is how they afford to pay writers, editors, and video makers.
“Crystal” developer Dean Murphy argues in favour of his app and others with statistics, citing the difference in website load times when ad blockers are in use. The numbers are pretty stark:
Though Tech Insider sister site Business Insider is already quite snappy in terms of load times, that time is cut down dramatically with “Crystal” in place. It’s arguments like this that helped oust “Minecraft” from its number one spot.
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