In January this year, Apple announced that it was acquiring the mobile advertising firm Quattro Wireless.
The news of the acquisition was followed by the launch of a new personalized mobile advertising platform, iAd. While the iAd launch was strategic, industry observers raised doubts regarding the competitive advantage of such a platform over more successful rivals like Google.
Quattro Wireless has now announced a new program Called ViP (Verification of iTunes Purchase) for app developers that will put these doubts to rest. The service is targeted at app developers who use third party ad networks to drive traffic to their iPhone apps. Currently, a majority of such app developers make use of third party ad networks like AdMob. These networks come with a few inherent drawbacks. Primarily, app developers using these ad networks do not get comprehensive feedback on the performance of their ads. While services like AdMob provide an estimate of the conversion ratios, these networks require app developers to integrate their iPhone apps with native APIs from the network thereby complicating the entire process.
With ViP, Quattro Wireless offers a much simpler and effective solution for app developers to reach their target audience. The service claims to provide “a proprietary direct link from the ad to App Store” that makes conversion tracking easier without the need for extensive API and SDK integration. Additionally, the ViP service also offers developers an optimal way to spend their advertising budgets. The service keeps track of app downloads so that once a “user downloads your app, they won’t ever see your ad again.”
The ViP program is being rolled out to the iPhone and iPod touch platforms at the moment and there is no information about its launch on iPad as yet. Nevertheless, given the massive business opportunity that exists in the app economy, we believe that the service can go a long way in helping Apple gain mileage out of its acquisition of Quattro Wireless but would be controversial that might get FTC's attention as it would be seen as giving Quattro Wireless (Apple) an unfair advantage over other mobile ad networks. FTC is already contemplating antitrust inquiry against Apple for making changes to the iPhone Developer Program License agreement that prohibits developers from using cross-compiler programs to develop apps.