I would like to believe Apple jumped the shark once it started suing over innovating (e.g. the whole Android/HTC lawsuit saga). In reality (perhaps being too cynical), Apple is just another big evil corporation that will continue to make big profits off from the naive public.
I agree that it's important to have some strict app-development rules to protect the ecosystem they've built, but the whole agreement is so lop-sided it's ridiculous. It's kind of amazing what companies can get away with now ... I never thought it;'d be so ... bad!
wow ... it's an interesting business model (give a free teaser, encourage "free" registration and charge for more than 10 stories a month. Perhaps if the content were more compelling it could be successful, but I think an ad-"sponsored" viewing of a story (sort of like Salon where you see an intermediate advertisement page before moving on to the full story) for reading the 11th story in a month may be more effective than erecting a paywall.
I understand this is an issue you and your staff are passionate about as it seems to be your primary revenue stream, but your stance on ad blocking (and the bans that result to those who admit it) was never clear until I read the whole sordid mess of a thread at Ars.
I never really hung out at the forums which may explain why your stance seems so odd and new to me. Your responses were blunt-turned-spin-doctoring, Clint's (which really rubbed me the wrong way in his dismissiveness...almost arrogance), Ben was surprisingly harsh, while Aurich's was the only level-headed one in the bunch. The fact that you stated that "acting professional" is a term that has little meaning to you just caught me off guard.
Instead of a back-handed pseudo-apology about the "experiment" and some spin-doctoring about success, a simple straight out apology followed by an honest explanation for the whole experiment would have been nice. Whether you want to publicly admit it or not, you/Clint/whomever made the decision to implement the experiment mishandled communicating with your community, and while it won't have an immediate negative impact, it has put the conspiracy theorists/alarmists on alert for any future actions.
The funny thing is if this was communicated nicely, either via a front page editorial BEFOREHAND, or something more slick like a banner that appears when it detects that adblocking is in use explaining this issue, I would have been more receptive to whitelisting the site. As it is, the harsh comments coming from you and your staff really didn't help educate me on the issue, nor did the reactions from the trolls in the thread either.
I've been a long time Ars reader (well, about 4 years so far) and only recently started using adblock at its default settings to improve my browsing experience. Perhaps any publicity is good publicity, but I guess I expected more from you guys. As a result I've been (as your and other Ars-staffers' responses suggested) trying to check out other tech sites, Techdirt included, without an adblock to compare content (quality, quantity, etc) as well as level of annoyance with advertising.
Some sites respect their readership even if they aren't paying customers such as Techdirt apparently, while others (such as Ars Technica) have shown a more harsh side. I hope you succeed in finding a business model that doesn't involve such harsh responses to your readership or spin-doctoring to explain.