Is Apple’s New Scheme of Buying Ads Via Google for High-Profile Subscription Apps Ethical or Not?

The new scheme of Apple regarding buying ads Via Google for subscription apps to capture their revenue is quite a cunning move. This way, they will be earning millions of dollars of revenue from the subscription apps especially HBO, Tinder, and others. This new system takes people to the app store pages instead of the website without letting them know about it. According to Forbes, Apple is placing ads without the consent of the developer and Google is not even deleting them. It is also predicted that this scheme will last for two years at least. 

What exactly is happening in this scheme? This is a question that is on the minds of many and here is the answer. When people search for a subscription app, the app store link for that app will emerge on the top of the search results rather than the official site of the app. It is happening with apps like HBO, Tinder, Bumble, and a lot of other high-profile subscription apps. It is hard to identify that these ads belong to Apple since users end up assuming that these are the ads from the brands and developers directly. When they subscribe to these apps, they become customers of Apple. The control of their personal information and data goes into Apple’s hands. Apple doesn’t even share this information further with the app developers which makes it very difficult for the app developers to improve their user experience and address the problems and concerns of their customers. This, in turn, further affects their ad performance level and revenues. 

For some people, it sounds perfectly alright because Apple is promoting other businesses. There is no doubt that Apple has helped increase the chances of subscriptions by users. But the point to ponder is whether it is a good thing or not? It seems good but the brands have refused to agree with it. According to them, Apple is hurting the businesses of multiple brands because 15-30% of their revenue is shared with Apple. They have mentioned that any user who buys a subscription from Apple will be considered a buyer of Apple, not theirs, so they cannot be held accountable for any subscription problem. 

For most people, this scheme is a dirty business tactic for sure that Apple is using to make more money. Neither the developers nor the businessmen are happy with this scheme. They have called this behavior “Ad Arbitrage” and complained about it as their revenues are being drastically affected. Not only is their connection with the customers becoming weaker but also they have to invest more money to advertise their apps. Because when the number of parties bidding on a specific ad slot increases, so does the price. Another important aspect of this scheme that is highlighted by the developers is that Apple’s privacy policy seems to be rigged in their favor. According to the policy, Apple is committed to running its advertising campaigns in a way that respects the privacy of its users. It designs apps to appear on the App Store, Stocks, and Apple News. It doesn’t track its users without their consent nor does it share their personal information with other brands or companies. For instance, in Apple News, ads are placed based on what a user is interested to read. The user can control the settings of personalized Ads if he doesn’t want to receive any targeted ads on the App Store. But the question is how does it go in Apple’s favor? And the answer is quite clear that its privacy policy doesn’t cause any hindrance in the number of ads it can place. It only limits the relevancy of ads. In short, Apple is still generating millions of dollars through its privacy policy which fills their pockets to the detriment of the developers. 

On the other hand, Apple has denied all the accusations and claims that it is a standard and ethical scheme. It doesn’t even agree with the previous statement that the advertising of apps without the consent of the developers is unethical. Instead, it is claiming that it has never kept anything hidden from the developers. It has been involved in the conversation with them and a lot of developers have even appreciated their scheme as it is supporting their businesses. According to Apple, it has been trying to maintain both a good relationship with developers and control over the app store. However, the Forbes article on this scheme of Apple has been published at an awkward time which has increased the risk that Apple is going to be considered an enemy rather than an enabler.

Related Posts