The top paid app in the iOS App Store is the content-blocker Crystal, which took the No. 1 spot after developer Marco Arment shut down his own content-blocker, Peace. But where Arment felt conflicted about being an ad-blocking arbiter, Crystal just worked out a deal to let certain companies’ ads through its filters—and it will be turned on by default when a future app update is released.
Dean Murphy, the developer behind content-blocking app Crystal, told the Wall Street Journal that he will accept payments from Eyeo GmbH, the makers of desktop browser extension Adblock Plus, to let “acceptable ads” from some 70 companies appear in Safari. Those companies pay Eyeo, which in turn will pay Murphy a flat monthly fee. The news is surprising, because the WSJ reports that Murphy has earned about $75,000 from sales of Crystal, currently listed at $0.99, in the last week.
Murphy told the WSJ that he expects to make more in Crystal sales than from Eyeo, but wanted to offer users the option to support publishers whose ads follow guidelines for acceptability.
We reached out to Murphy for comment on the Eyeo deal, and will update this story with his response.
The Crystal Twitter account, presumably run by Murphy, is responding to user complaints about the ad deal.
@mcdev It’ll be entirely optional when the feature is available. It’s there for people who want to support pubs with non-intrusive ads.— Crystal App (@_CrystalApp) September 24, 2015
So Crystal users will be able to turn off the default whitelisting, and according to the company’s tweets, it will be “clearly communicated” when the feature is activated. But why not just allow users to choose which sites to whitelist? According to the company’s tweets, that feature is also coming soon in a free update.
How does this move affect your view of Crystal and of Safari content-blockers as a whole? Let us know in the comments. For more information about ad-blocking in iOS 9 and how it works, check out my colleague Glenn Fleishman’s guide here.