A Few Words About iOS 9, Ad Blockers and Patreon

Whether you’re new to AppUnwrapper or have been following for years, welcome. I’d like to talk a bit about the site, where it’s been, where it’s going and how you can help.

I started AppUnwrapper back in 2011 when I realized I was playing so many games on my iPhone. While I originally started with reviews, my walkthroughs are what I became known for. I’m flattered to hear from readers that mine is the first site they check when looking for a walkthrough. But flattery doesn’t put food on the table.

I spent four years building AppUnwrapper up from nothing to what it is now. What started as a hobby has since become a job and my entire life. The more I write about games, the more I speak to developers and other players, the more I get sucked in. I’ve started getting more invested in gaming as a whole, caring about the success of great games and what games with shady monetization practices are doing to the mobile games industry.

I started paying closer attention to what others were saying and writing about games, occasionally getting flabbergasted enough to write my own response, like this one.

I’ve started doing some interviews with developers and I’d love to do more of that.

I started making walkthrough videos (like this one) in addition to my step-by-step text and photo walkthroughs, since they can be more helpful for some games.

I invested the last four years of my life into this site, barely scraping by, because I hoped that it would one day be successful enough to be a job, not just a pipe dream. And this year it became that. 2015 is the first year that my site has earned enough to justify the time invested. It’s still not making much, but it’s enough to keep me going. It’s exciting and also a relief that I didn’t spend four years of my life building something that I would just have to toss away.

The only reason this has been possible, though, is due to ads. My site is able to survive and be free to read because it is supported entirely by ads. I use ad networks so I can spend my time creating content, not chasing down advertisers. Relying on ad networks for money allows me to put 100% of my focus on my content instead of ways to monetize. It also means I don’t have to be one of those sites that tries to directly sell things to my readers. Instead, you get my unbiased writing.

I have never taken money for a review and I have turned down every offer I’ve gotten for an ad designed to look like an article. I would feel dirty if I took money for a review. I want my readers to trust me. It’s also why you’ll rarely see or hear me shrieking in excitement over a game. I won’t feign excitement to oversell a game. You can be sure that if I won’t stop talking about a game, it’s because I can’t stop thinking about the game. Our tastes might not always align, but I would never recommend a game I wouldn’t want to play or spend money on myself.

This is all possible because of the ads. But with iOS 9, Apple added a way for developers to create apps that block all ads on the Safari browser. To be clear, I hate ads myself. But I understand that they’re a necessary evil that allows us all to enjoy a free internet with infinite possibilities at our fingertips. If sites like mine can’t monetize, they will simply disappear, along with all that information you find on there.

These ad blockers have the potential to wipe out my entire income. If this happens and I have no other way to fund the site, then I’ll simply have to shut it down. I’m not independently wealthy and can’t afford to spend the amount of time I have been on it without getting paid. It’s just reality.

The good news is that I did a little bit of math and it would take just 1% of my audience donating $1 per month to keep the site afloat and allow me to continue creating content full-time. I would also be able to remove most, if not all, ads for everyone. If my readers support me directly through Patreon, everyone can enjoy a better experience on Appunwrapper.

If you’ve ever looked for help with a game and found my site, please think about what would happen if you couldn’t find any because the small sites you relied on for information got forced out of business. If you ever read one of my reviews (like this one) to help you decide whether to buy a game, please help my site stay alive so I can bring you more of these honest, in-depth reviews.

If you’ve taken a look at my recently created Recommended List and found some great games to play, consider supporting the site so you can continue discovering new games on there.

I didn’t want to spend my time writing this. At the moment, I have three walkthroughs and a review to write. And that’s just new games. I’m also catching up on some older ones to decide whether to add them to my Recommended List. But it was necessary to get this message across before it’s too late.

I’ve learned a lot over the last four years and my site has evolved because of that. My latest reviews and walkthroughs are very different from my earliest ones, when I was just starting out. And with your help, they can keep improving instead of disappearing.

If you still insist on using an ad blocker even after reading all this, please at least use one that enables whitelisting, which means you can tell it to allow ads to show on my site. You can also turn off the ad blocker whenever you visit my site. And of course, you can become a patron on my Patreon page.

With your support, I look forward to another four years of walkthroughs, reviews, videos, interviews and maybe some new surprises!

If you value my work, please support me on Patreon.

Alternatively, if you’d like to make a one-time donation through PayPal, you can send it to AppUnwrapper (at) gmail (dot) com.

***And a huge THANK YOU to those who have donated so far!***

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Eric

    Well said. And you’re right, it’s a shame it’s had to come to this. You shouldn’t have to plead with people to be able to provide the information that they seem to want in the first place. Ironically, most of the people that support movements like the iOS 9 ad blocker probably contribute little to the information superhighway themselves. They are just leeches that feel that everything should be handed to them and who cares about the folks that had to put the work into providing that information in the first place. When it comes right down to it, ad blocking could be seen as a form of pirating, since they are basically stealing your revenue by not allowing the ads.

    And yes, before anyone calls me an “ad lover” (is that basically the virtual version of a tree hugger?), I hate ads just as much as anyone else. But I also have the viewpoint of being a reviewer that actually makes basically nothing for my reviews, and I understand how important this issue is to people that do try to make a living from this. It’s bad enough Apple’s warped ecosystem has destroyed so many good indie developers, lets not let it kill the reviewers as well.

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