Unless you’ve been living under a digital rock for the last few months, you’ve undoubtedly heard the buzzing echo of the raging ad blocking debates. And since Apple dropped a metaphorical bomb on the matter by allowing ad blockers apps on their iOS 9, the temperature just kept rising.

According to Page Fair’s now-infamous Ad Blocking report, around 200 million users run ad blocking software on their browsers. With the appalling state of some ad units and practices out there today, chances are this number will keep growing, a lot. Consequently, numerous posts highlighting issues faced by the concerned parties (content creators, publishers, advertisers & online users) were published.

This post will address the issues faced by another, slightly different party: SaaS startups & web developers.

The point of this article isn’t to take a firm stance on the whole ad blocking debate. Of course, we know darn well it can affect us: online advertising is an acquisition channel we’ve played with in the past, and we intended to try again sometime.

Thing is, for us, this issue goes much, much farther than paying for ads that are blocked by potential customers. Let me demonstrate how and why we came to pay closer attention to the whole thing.

So what happened to us, exactly?

The forbidden route

We know the ad blocking phenomenon isn’t exactly fresh from the oven. So why write about this now, you may ask?

Well recently, as most of our active users noticed, we released a whole new, revamped version of our merchant dashboard. It’s a key part of our product, where merchants handle inventory management, discounts, and a whole other bunch of stuff. All in all, the release went well, and we were proud of ourselves (especially of our lead engineer Charles). But after brushing off our shoulders and toasting with some good scotch, we realized something was wrong. When logging into the dashboard, many of us weren’t able to see the sales analytics and graphics on the default screen. After receiving two or three emails from customers, we knew there was a real problem to fix.

Yanick, one of our developers, put on his problem-solving cape and got to work. As every web developer would have done, he started by hitting the F12 key to open debugger tools. Soon enough, he found the source of the error:

uBlock Origin** was preventing Snipcart from fetching the URL /api/analytics in our dashboard.**

#web developers #blockers #apple

Ad Blockers Are Changing the Game for Web Developers Too
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