Previously… we’ve had a recent spate of websites whose ads run some code that registers you’re on a mobile device like, specifically, an iPhone or iPad, and then jumps you to the App Store.
If you haven’t seen this, you’re not following me. You’re on your iOS device, you got a website in Safari and before you’ve begun to read whatever it is you wanted to read, wallop, you’re out of Safari and into the App Store. You are at the same point you would be if you’d found an app and opened its page to have a look. So you’re looking at an app that longs for you to buy it and it is usually a game and it invariably has no chance whatsoever of getting my cash, so help me god.
Back in April, I reported on what was then the only way to stop these. It was what you might call a brute-force solution. There isn’t a switch, isn’t an option, isn’t a UNIX Terminal command you can set, but you can always bitch about it all to whoever runs the website that has these ads.
One website owner explained to me that they loathe these too, that they were being slipped in without the site owner’s knowledge. That’s not just possible, it’s not even just probable, it has an extremely good chance of being true because of the way that ads are served to sites. Some of them are sold as network ads to companies which specialise in filling them. The site owner just knows this block will be filled by a client of that network ad company, they don’t know which until it’s live.
But then when it is live, you can see it and the site owner is bumped to these stupid games in the App Store just like the rest of us. So another site owner came to me to say they’d had it too and they had stopped it by banning those ads.
Sorry that this is a long Previously: you can tell it narked me.
Which is why I am delighted today. Because today we learn that Apple’s iOS 8 has a feature built-in to help us. I don’t know the fancy Cocoa or Objective-C feature name, but it’s effectively BollocksToThoseAdvertisers.exe because iOS 8 itself just stops them.
You can’t do much better than having the very operating system of the phone stick its fingers up at you.
Apple is expected to release iOS 8 this autumn and it will for certain be free, it will for certain run on any iPhone of the last many years and it will surely be taken up by the extremely vast majority of iPhone users immediately. (Because iOS 7, and 6, and 5… all were.) That means the number of people left who can be bumped out from a website to the App Store in this aggravating way won’t be zero, but it’ll be small enough that advertisers will give up on it.
I have nothing against advertising or advertisers, but I call this one a win.