April 18, 2014

Android Dev Learns How Far is Too Far for Ad Revenue

The developer of a popular app that is used to turn off mobile data called APNDroid “learned his lesson” when he got his app pulled from the Android Market recently.
Here is the story direct from the dev’s blog:

A few hours ago I received email from Google that notified me about the fact that my app APNdroid (1.6M downloads, 4.5 average rating) was suspended because it violated some policy. No exact reason given, I responded to the email and now I am waiting for the response.

What has happened? In the last update of the app I introduced new ads provided by AirPush. These ads are not visible as part of the app, instead they appear in notification bar. They will appear max once a day and are easily cancelable (as any kind of notification). This update has started the wave of negative user comments and 1-star ratings.

I do realize that I should have probably notify user about these new ads in app directly, not just in What’s new section on Android Market, but I still think there is no reason to such a panic and definitely not to suspend the application. Users who don’t like advertising are able to purchase the paid version without ads. Also, I still think these ads are the best kind of ads for the user, because they don’t stand in the way while the application is used, they can be cancelled easily and they do not appear very often.

The app got pulled in usual Google style, with no clarification about what policy was breached. But the dev got wise when he started to get constant poor feedback about his new revenue structure with ads being displayed directly in the notification bar.

The good news is that the app is being reinstated by Google, and the developer admits to learning his lesson, and appreciating the feedback he got from users. He put a quote up on the post updating it:

Guys you are right, this can’t be compared. TV ads are there only during the show, while push ads appear anytime, even while you do not use the app. I completely missed this point.

I do apologize to all the users who were negatively impacted and I’ll do whatever is needed to get the application back. In the meantime you can either downloads Beta version of upcoming APNdroid release or purchase the Pro version for minimum possible Market price of $0.99 (or adequate in other countries).

I for one applaud the dev for paying attention to his user base. He put something in that users rejected, and instead of getting all upset, he thought about it and made a move to correct the situation. There is a lesson here for all devs on what the pain threshold is for users on ads. I know that I would go batty if I had ads popping up in my notification bar, it is the reason why I don’t use groupon any more. I don’t mind ads inside the apps themselves, I am all for devs getting paid.

I take this a story of success, since the outcome is something that is desirable, the community controlling the market in a small way, giving some boundaries, and the developer responding.

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