Apple Pulls iAd from Apps Targeting Kids

Apple has pulled iAd, the company’s mobile advertising network, from apps targeting children, according to a developer of such an app. Mike Zornek, the developer behind Clickable Bliss, wrote in a blog post that Apple told him the company was suspending iAd delivery to kid apps at the request of advertisers.

No Kids Allowed!

No Kids Allowed!

The story for the developer began with Dex, a free apps that allows users to browse through Pokémon stuff on your iPhone or iPod touch. Mr. Zornek characterized the app as a “huge success,” and that though he used AdMob advertising in addition to iAd placement to monetize the app, “most of the money came from the iAd network.”

“Last Thursday,” he wrote, “I had a particularly awful iAd fill rate of 5%. This isn’t new, I’ve had problems before. Then on Friday a 0% fill rate, then on Saturday another 0% fill rate.”

In other words, no iAd ads were actually being displayed to his customers, which meant he wasn’t generating any income. He also explained that he usually saw an iAd fill rates of 16.5%, and that these ads were usually worth much more than Google’s AdMob ads, even though AdMob usually had higher fill rates.

He wrote Apple asking about the situation, and after a few days was told that, “Currently, our advertisers prefer that their advertising not appear in applications that are targeted for users that are young children, since their products are not targeted at that audience. We appreciate your understanding.”

From Mr. Zornek’s standpoint, the real problem is that Apple didn’t notify him a head of time that it was pulling iAd from these apps, and that he didn’t find out until he asked.

He wrote, “Today was another harsh reminder we iPhone developers are making a living at the beck and whim of a powerful platform vender. Be careful putting all your eggs in his basket.”

Apple launched iAd in April of 2010 as a network for delivering premium ad content to the company’s iOS devices. iAd competes directly with Google’s AdMob service and other mobile ad networks, but Apple targets only big advertising campaigns — the minimum buy is US$500,000 (which is half the minimum buy at launch).

Thanks to MacStories for the heads up on this story.