Apple will reject apps using GPS for location-aware ads

Apple has notified App Store developers that they will be prohibited from using location-based information for mobile advertising,” MacNN reports. “The company claims the GPS data can only be used to provide ‘beneficial information.'”

MacNN reports, ‘If your app uses location-based information primarily to enable mobile advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on a user’s location, your app will be returned to you by the App Store Review Team for modification before it can be posted to the App Store,’ Apple said.

“Many analysts believe Apple is preparing to launch a mobile advertising network that will serve ads through free apps on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad,” MacNN reports. “The company recently acquired Quattro Wireless, a mobile advertising specialist, after reportedly failing to sign a deal to purchase AdMob. The latter company was later picked up by Google.”

Full article here.

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10 Comments

  1. I think this may have more to do with the Placebase purchase last year than the Quattro Wireless purchase (or it could be both).

    Peace.
    Olmecmystic ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”cool smile” style=”border:0;” />

  2. why do all the “news” reports on this story fail to recognize an important word in Apple’s note to developers?
    http://developer.apple.com/iphone/news/archives/2010/february/#corelocation

    i.e. the word “primarily”

    as in ‘If your app uses location-based information PRIMARILY to enable mobile advertisers to deliver targeted ads based on a user’s location …” (emphasis mine)

    seems to me if you have location-aware ads AND are providing some other useful feature, say the app is a restaurant finder, or location-aware social networking app, or a game with location-aware leaderboard scores – then having ads as well would probably be ok.

    anyhow I think users probably prefer apps which have some “useful” reason for location awareness, other than just ads.

  3. I’m pretty much a laisse-faire capitalist whose career has been in the ad biz my entire life, but…

    if anyone starts hitting me with ads for anything outside of what I see on websites and regardless of how I view websites, I am going to be one really pissed off consumer.

    I’ll dump any app that offers up an ad, immediately and without a second thought.

    And, if Apple allows this for any apps, whether their own or others, they need to clearly inform potential buyers/users of the capability in such apps before they purchase/download them, because it would be deceptive not to.

  4. I do think that location-based advertising, if properly utilized, could be a fantastic feature for iPhone users. As others mentioned, if you have a restaurant finder app, why not put in a feature that allows the pushing of coupons or special deals associated with the restaurants it’s pulling up.

    If I’m using my phone to look up services, shopping options, etc., location-based advertising that informs me of special deals or coupons would be a huge benefit. Pushing ads just because I’m walking by a certain store would, of course, be terrible. And ads that don’t offer any special deal would be not welcome.

    But, if done right, it could be a great benefit to the consumer. Balancing that, of course, would be the concern. We pay so much for the iPhone and service, that it would be way too much to think we should be subject to unsolicited ads pushed to us.

  5. Think bc is right. Apple is giving notice that if the main purpose of your app is only to deliver location-based ads without actually delivering content the users thought they got the app for, then it will be rejected. Basically product placement in a program is acceptable, but no full-on mobile equivalent of informercials. It should make the phone more desirable to consumers.

  6. @ Kirk
    “We pay so much for the iPhone and service, that it would be way too much to think we should be subject to unsolicited ads pushed to us.”

    Yeah, thats why the $1400 TV in my living room using $50.00 per month Cable NEVER gives me any unsolicited ads.

  7. “The company claims the GPS data can only be used to provide ‘beneficial information.'”

    All I can say is:

    THANK GAWD.

    Of course the word ‘beneficial’ is a matter of perspective: In our ongoing Marketing Moron Age, the concept is to as effectively as possible put a target on consumer’s backs and shoot them ads specific to their ‘interests’. The next dimension is to shoot the customer according to where they are at any moment in time.

    The HORROR version of this scenario has ‘666’ chips embedded in all of us such that advertising near us is triggered to attack us with ‘beneficial’ items we might personally want. (‘The Beast’ is an advertising executive).

    IOW: If Marketing Morons (disrespectful, as opposed to Marketing Mavens) had their way, we’d be shot with targeted ‘beneficial’ ads every moment of the day anywhere we are. Where’s my gun?!

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