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Apple's iAd Will No Longer Serve Ads in Kids' Apps

May 11, 2011

Rumor has it today that Apple's (News - Alert) iAd platform will no longer be serving ads within apps aimed at young children. But don't feel warm and fuzzy: it has little to do with corporate concern for the impressionable minds of the youngest app users.

iAd, of course, is Apple's mobile advertising platform for the iPhone (News - Alert), iPod Touch and iPad. It allows third-party developers to directly embed advertisements into their applications, and it's usually why some applications can be free, as opposed to paid apps. It was introduced last year as part of Apple's iOS 4. Hosted and sold by Apple, the iAd platform is a direct competitor with Google's AdMob (News - Alert) mobile advertising service. Users of an application can tap an ad banner that appears in the app if he or she wants more information about a product or service. Apple retains 40 percent of the ad revenue, with the other 60 percent going to the developer of the app.

Website Pocket Gamer reported today that the discontinuation of iAds in kids' apps is more about advertisers deciding their ad dollars being wasted with a kid audience. Turns out, kids don't click on ads very often.

“Suspicions were first raised when one developer realized their iAd fill rate had dropped from an admittedly low 5 percent to a non-existent 0 percent,” wrote Pocket Gamer. “After querying the drop, Michael Zornek – the man behind Pokémon browser Dex - was then informed via e-mail that Apple 'periodically reviews the apps in the iAd network to ensure that all apps receiving are aligned with the needs of our advertisers'”.Apparently, Apple decided that Dex is, “too kiddie orientated.”Zornek was told by Apple that, “Currently, our advertisers prefer that their advertising not appear in applications that are targeted for users that are young children, since their products are not targeted at that audience.”

Interestingly, Zornek going public with his exchange with Apple is the only evidence of this new policy. No official statements have come from Apple, and app developers have received no notification. 
Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

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