Apple Pulls iAd from Apps Targeting Kids

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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.

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I’m glad the advertisers for once are doing something that’s morally right. Kids don’t need to see advertisements (neither do older kids but we’ll never get rid of junkware like ads). Let the children learn instead of constantly bombarding them with all kinds of useless information. The apps meant to teach kids how to read and write should only do that. Thank you Apple for enforcing this goodwill effort from the advertisers. It will probably be the only time they don’t see ads.

Bryan Chaffin

prl53, I would be shocked if this had anything to do with Apple making any kind of moral decision. This is about the advertisers buying iAd placement not wanting to spend money reaching a target demographic they are not interested in.

A quick perusal of iAd advertisers shows Coldwell Banker, Fast Five, Turkish Airlines, Style, Maybelline, American Express, and Excite (the men’s body wash brand).  These companies simply don’t want to waste money advertising to kids, and who can blame them?

If Apple had a bunch of kids movies as clients, there’s little doubt iAd placement in kids apps would currently be in place. Plus, I personally expect it to return.

In addition, there was nothing about this story that should have lead you to assume this is about iAd placement in educational apps. Dex—the app made by the developer who wrote the blog post—is an app that allows Pok?mon player to browse through Pok?mon card.

Lastly, if all advertising was pulled from apps targeting children, including educational apps, there would be a lot less such apps. Most “free” apps aren’t free, they’re paid for by ads.

In short, applauding Apple for making a moral choice here is simply not applicable. In any way.


Well, it’s the advertisers asking not to be shown, not Apple. Basically companies aren’t targeting young kids with their iAds so paying for the privilege has no return on investment.

As for complaining about Apple…the reason iAds earn more money is that they’re directed at an audience that generates a better return on investment. By NOT diluting their audience they maintain iAds as a premium service that pays developers more. Devs should be happy about this in general, not upset. Although some notice would have been nice, it wouldn’t have altered the outcome in any way.

If a content producer is making a reality show about how awesome vegans are, they probably aren’t going to expect to sell advertising time to Natuzzi or Bentley or the Beef Advertising Council or Dairy Farmers of America.


My first sentence documents who I’m congratulating and it’s not Apple. I only reference Apple in the second to last sentence.


From Mr. Zornek?s standpoint, the real problem is that Apple didn?t notify him a head of time

That’s the real issue.  The rest is the normal business of targeting ads.


Well, it’s about time! Let’s hope Apple does the right thing and bans adMob as well from kids’ apps.

First step: Remove iAds from kids’ apps.

Second step: Require all iAd-based apps to have a paid, ad-free version!

Third step: Forbid paid, ad-free apps from adding advertising in an update; this is a sure-fire way to infuriate your users: you have a nice, functional, ad-free app that you have already *paid for*, then you update it (perhaps for a “bug fix” or “security” update) and crap, you now have ads and there’s no way to go back!

I hate apps that try to “monetize” me by showing me advertising. Just let me pay for it so that I never have to see those darned ads again!

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