Apr 092010

1. That it allows free app developers to make money, which allows free apps to have richer content.

2. …that’s all I got.

No smart person can argue against “paying” for a free app through advertising – even for the worst quality app. I agree with people having to pay for an app with either with their wallet or with their attention, but not both.

Although it’s popular to characterize the app market as “a race to the bottom”, the App Store is still a free market. Pricing decisions, in the end, are made by the developers themselves. If a shop chooses volume over per unit revenues, that’s on them, just like in any other free market.  If the majority of developers were losing money in the App Store, there wouldn’t be 170K apps there. Apps that aren’t making money are either poor in quality or are not priced in a way that allows them to recoup the investment in them. Neither of these things are the consumers’ or the market’s fault. Any perceived “downward price pressure” present in the App Store economy does not justify iAds.

People thinking that Apple themselves will be adding prohibitive criteria of “too much advertising” as part of the app approval process are deluded, especially with the slew of new variables for notification Apple introduced as part of 4.0’s multitasking feature. It’s the market’s job to reward the $4.99 app developer who tastefully integrates advertising and punish $4.99 app developer who slathers ads all over the app.

My point is that there’s already a revenue model in place for paid apps: it’s based solely on the quality of the app plotted against its price. When Steve said “mobile ads suck”, my thought response was “isn’t that why you developed the alternative revenue model of paying for an app?”.

I think that’s what Steve meant when he said “It’s all about helping our developers make money through advertising so they can keep their free apps free.” If that’s the extent of iAd implementation, there is nothing but win. I personally didn’t get the impression from the presentation yesterday that iAds were limited to free apps.

If developers of paid apps use iAds, it drops a layer into the user experience that benefits only one party in the developer-consumer relationship. I have yet to see a model of advertising overlaid onto an already-purchased product that adds any value for the user; the very best models are successful if they don’t piss them off. If iAd implementation is not restricted to free apps, I don’t see anything in it for consumers, but a lot of opportunity to degrade the paid-app experience.

  2 Responses to “The Conditions Under Which iAd Could be a Good Thing for Users”

  1. ummmm…check the keynote video…Steve said “mobile ADS suck”. Huge difference in meaning from just one tiny word.

  2. He certainly did. Thanks for the catch.

Leave a Reply

  • RSS
  • Twitter
%d bloggers like this: