From John Koetsier’s “Apple Quietly Buying Ads Via Google For High-Value Subscription Apps To Capture App Publisher Revenue” posted Friday on Forbes.com:
Apple is secretly buying Google ads for high-value apps to collect potentially millions of dollars in subscription revenue, multiple app publishers have told me. Apple is placing the ads without the app developers’ consent, and Google won’t delete them, they say.
The cost: potentially millions of dollars in lost revenue. Plus, high advertising costs for their own campaigns.
It’s a form of ad arbitrage, they say, and it’s been going on for at least two years.
Impacted businesses include major brands such as dating apps like Tinder, Plenty of Fish, and Bumble, media giant HBO, education and learning publisher Masterclass, and language learning service Babbel. The ads don’t disclose that they are from Apple and would, to most observers, simply look like ads from the brands and app publishers themselves that happen to go right to the App Store.
“Apple is trying maximize the money they’re making by driving in-app purchases that people buy through the Apple Store,” one source, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation, told me.
“Apple has figured out that they can make more money off these developers if they push people to the App Store to purchase there versus a web flow.”
My take: Pretty serious charge, if true. I’ve asked Apple for comment because Koetsier is not your run-of-the-mill Forbes clown-car contributor.
Apple clarified the situation on Monday, telling AppleInsider that allegations of the company “secretly” or “quietly” — words used in the report — buying ads without app makers’ knowledge is a mischaracterization. The company is in regular communication with developers about the advertisements and said many are appreciative of the support.