Friday, June 11, 2010

Apple Just Gutted The Mobile Ad Market



Apple seems to be taking things too far and stifling competition. The one way to look at this is that since this is Apple's app store any monetization generated via it (paid or advertising) should result in a payout for Apple also.




Jay Yarow, Cellular News, June 10, 2010



Apple just gutted the mobile ad market by adding strict limitations in the developers agreement it has for iPhone apps.


Yesterday, Peter Kafka at All Things D noted Apple will only allow "independent" mobile ad networks to collect data on users, and then use that data to target ads at users.
Apple defines independent mobile ad companies as companies whose primary business is mobile advertising. A mobile advertising company with its own mobile operating system is a no-go.


In other words, mobile ad company AdMob, recently acquired by Google, effectively can't advertise in iPhone applications. In a blog post on the topic, AdMob CEO Omar Hamoui confirms the new terms "would prohibit app developers from using AdMob and Google’s advertising solutions on the iPhone."


It's not just AdMob that gets screwed. It's app developers too, says Omar. AdMob advertising generates revenue for thousands of iPhone app developers.


Without AdMob, these developers have to rely on Apple's own iAds, or other independent advertisers, which makes this decision look so bad from Apple. It is pushing out any rivals, trying to monopolize its app market.


It also hurts independent mobile ad networks hoping to be acquired down the road. Millennial Media can target ads in iPhone apps today. If it were acquired by Microsoft tomorrow, then it could no longer target ads at users. Without the ability to target ads, it is worth considerably less to any potential acquirer.


We spoke with an Apple rep yesterday who told us that when iAds started running, AdMob ads would still be welcome in apps. When we asked about the section on collecting data and how that would affect AdMob, he said he'd get back to us.


We've called and emailed repeatedly, but haven't heard a thing.
Via Peter, here's the new section. We bolded the important part:

3.3.9 You and Your Applications may not collect, use, or disclose to any third party, user or device data without prior user consent, and then only under the following conditions:
- The collection, use or disclosure is necessary in order to provide a service or function that is directly relevant to the use of the Application. For example, without Apple’s prior written consent, You may not use third party analytics software in Your Application to collect and send device data to a third party for aggregation, processing, or analysis.

The collection, use or disclosure is for the purpose of serving advertising to Your Application; is provided to an independent advertising service provider whose primary business is serving mobile ads (for example, an advertising service provider owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments other than Apple would not qualify as independent); and the disclosure is limited to UDID, user location data, and other data specifically designated by Apple as available for advertising purposes.

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