Apple's iAd Service Is Like Dealing With the Devil

Wednesday, Jun 9, 2010  |  Updated 1:30 PM PDT
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So, your company is behind one of the most popular phones of all time and advertisers want in. They can have in -- well, as long as they don't mind signing up for your new advertising service. That's the idea behind Apple's iAd service -- ads through Apple, and everything else is banned.

On the iPhone, iAd feels less egregious, but maybe that's just because we're all used to Apple's closed-off policies when it comes to its top gadget. The latest development involves Apple changing its developers terms and conditions once again, after a promise by Steve Jobs to make advertising through apps on the iPhone more open. Before, it was banned altogether. Now? It's still banned -- if you're a viable competitor of Apple.

Smaller companies are allowed to collect data on ad figures as long as they qualify as "independent" according to Apple's new language. An independent company would be one that isn't "owned by or affiliated with a developer or distributor of mobile devices, mobile operating systems or development environments." That could mean a lot of companies — such as Google, Microsoft and Adobe, for instance.

If you want to advertise, then, you've got to make a deal with Apple. iAd doesn't start and end on the company's mobile platforms, however. And it stands to reason that Apple should be able pick and choose what ads it allow, just as it does with apps.

One of the most interesting developments to come out of Apple's recent Worldwide Developers Conference was not the shiny new iPhone 4 -- though we're not complaining about that. It was a new mode for Safari called Reader, which promises to remove "annoying ads and other visual distractions" while you browse. Read: It's an ad blocker. It's not yet known exactly how it will work. Do you have to click it each time you want the ads to disappear? Is it something you can turn on and leave on?

Safari's Reader mode won't block everything though, according to The Guardian's Peter Robins: "The most popular conspiracy theory regards Safari Reader as a way of pushing publishers and advertisers towards Apple's new iAd app advertising platform, which is already scarily successful before launch, and which will not be blocked by Safari Reader."

While the details are still coming together as Apple gets its iAd service together, the message is clear: If you want to advertise on any product with an Apple logo, you better be comfortable with the company having hands in both your pockets.

Via The Guardian and The Register

Image credit: CNET

For more gadget news, check out DVICE.com.

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