Apr, 30 2011

So I just got done watching this video from an ad agency called AirPush that will allow developers to target users in a much more effective way – right from the notification pane. I immediately wondered what type of response they’d get from users. I’m sure developers are intrigued, but what about the people they’ll be showing these ads to?

AirPush’s technology will allow developers to send advertisements to your notification pane even if you’re not using the app. That’s the first bad part. The second bad part is that these ads are in my freaking notification pane where I expect to see stuff that I actually care about.

And what if you have multiple apps from the same or different developers with this technology? Yep, you’d probably need to wade through a sea of notification ads (it already sounds horrible) before you can get to your real notifications. I imagine this sort of thing will become very popular with developers for a few different reasons.

Why developers will love this

For starters, like I mentioned above, these will be pushed to a user’s notification pane at any time – they don’t even need to be in the app to help make the developer money. This tactic seems quite intrusive and I don’t imagine participating developers will give users the option to disable them.

Tying into the point above, users will be more likely to click on an advertisement in their notification pane than one inside the application they’re using. Whether it be by accident (because you thought it was a real notification) or just because certain users will want to get rid of them without having to dismiss legitimate notifications from other applications they use, the click rate would probably be much higher than traditional practices.

Finally, these types of ads would not be subject to the various ad-blocking methods out there for rooted users. Unless developers find a way to block notifications from certain services from showing up, there is nothing they can do to stop it short of removing the application itself.

Resistance isn’t futile, it’s inevitable and it works

It’s not just me who thinks this is a bad idea. Developers and users alike have taken to reddit and other channels to express their distaste for AirPush. Folks are coming together to try and identify which apps use it and developers are looking to build an application that would keep AirPush from working. Take a look at two posts on reddit – here and here – if you’d like to learn more and if you want to put your own word in.

Users in the Android market feel the same way, too. The developer behind APNDroid was the first to implement AirPush and immediately felt the resistance from his users. They complained so much that the amount of reports dubbing the application as “malicious” forced Google to take it off the market temporarily. It has since been republished, but the developer said he has learned his lesson and will no longer implement AirPush.

Developers should keep their ads within their own apps

“Go and use another free application or buy the full app,” you shout. Sure, that’s an option. And believe me, I’m all for developers making money. (I have a large list of paid apps that I use regularly.) But what I’m not for is them shoving their revenue generating tactic down our throats even when we’re not inside their application.

For that reason alone, I’ll close by saying I hope AirPush doesn’t take off. There are some who might like it and some who think it might be better for users, but if APNdroid is anything to go by, no one wants this on Android. The notification system was made to bring the information you want and need to the forefront without having to jump into each and every application you own each time you need a quick update. Don’t abuse it, folks.

I’m only one man with one opinion, though. What about you guys? Will AirPush be a harmless commodity for developers to embrace or do you think this sort of advertising would destroy your Android experience? Let your opinion be known in the poll and comments section below. [Thank you to Manny for drawing our attention to this!]

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