AdMob Acquires AdWhirl

August 28, 2009

Dear Developers,

As you may have already heard, we’ve been acquired by AdMob!  In keeping with our values of transparency and openness, AdMob is open sourcing AdWhirl (both client and server) within the coming weeks.  Not to fear,  this means absolutely no changes to the functionality or support you have come to expect from AdWhirl and you’ll get full support for AdMob ads (coming soon).  In addition, we’ll keep working hard on our roadmap w/ more features to help you guys succeed in the AppStore!

You can read more about AdMob’s plans on their blog: http://blog.admob.com/2009/08/27/an-open-mediation-solution-for-app-developers/

Best,

Sam and Ra

AdWhirl Co-Founders

Advertisements

And ah ha! This is why we disabled test modes

July 17, 2009

One of the reasons why we disabled test modes for ads is that we’ve heard a few unfortunate stories from developers who, before AdWhirl was around, deployed applications running an ad network’s ads in test mode (doh!).  Being locked into one single ad network and lacking control over your ad content is bad enough; locking yourself down to a single network and _also_ locking your self down to test ads is utterly worse!  When that happens, a developer has to redeploy their application with test mode OFF (of course, after kicking himself/herself over it).  By the time the new update with the fix is launched onto the appstore, weeks and perhaps even months may have elapsed.  During that time, the developer will have lost the revenue from the application due to the lack of real ad inventory flowing through the app.

So due to the infinite concerns that we have for our developers and ensuring that they are safe and taken cared of, we disabled test modes entirely and figured that such issues are forever dead and gone.

Yet, we did not have a concern for our sample AdWhirl application key that showcase AdWhirl. As you already know, you can control your ad content by changing configuration information attached to your own application-specific key. However, you cannot control the configuration data attached to the sample application key.  But apparently, and to our surprise, there’s a risk with the sample key as well when a developer forgets to deploy their application with their own AdWhirl application key and ends up deploying with the sample AdWhirl application key instead!  In comparison, before AdWhirl, this is like deploying your application to the AppStore and running only Quattro Wireless’s ads with test publisher keys! 🙂

We didn’t even realize this until we downloaded the application and saw a test ad that is attached to the sample AdWhirl application key.

Oopsie

But not to worry, we’ve given ownership of the sample application key and along with its settings to the developer, so now the developer is still in full control of their ad content.  Also, all of the revenue that the developer made from the application is sent to the developer as well.

And this is especially important since HIS APP IS THE TOP 1 FREE APPLICATION ON THE APPSTORE!  That’s top 1 free out of the huge number of free apps that are on the appstore (and in total, we’re looking at 65,000+ free and paid applications on the store).  The ad revenue wasn’t too shabby either, to say the least. 😛

So guys, remember that AdWhirl is completely transparent and that you have full control over your ad content through your AdWhirl application key.  But more importantly, remember to deploy your application with your AdWhirl application key, because you own the configuration and customized ads for that application key, and not for the sample key.  AdWhirl’s servers will transparently route the configuration information and custom ads you’ve applied for your application key down to your application users.  So make sure that you’re deploying your application with your own AdWhirl application key, otherwise we’ll have to work extra hard to convert a sample application key into a real production application key just so that you can control the content.  Which is quite a bit of work so please save us from that work!  🙂

Quite humorous, isn’t it?  But in retrospect, isn’t it just great that we were able to save a developer from this mistake that wouldn’t have been possible before AdWhirl?  Since we were able to give our developer the sample application key, and thereby allowing him to fully control his ad content again, isn’t it great to know that the developer doesn’t have to redeploy their application back to the appstore?  This is why we love AdWhirl, because not only are we able to help foster the app ad market ecosystem and offer meaningful value to our 1600+ developers, we can also save them dynamically in more ways than one.

Cheers,

-Ra

With over 50,000 apps in the Apple App Store, how do apps get discovered?

June 30, 2009

Download Report

Recently, after passing over 1500 iPhone apps across over 1000 publishers, we decided to investigate what strategies successful developers were employing in order to get their apps noticed. What we discovered was that, although only a handful of apps were achieving critical success, many of their publishers (Storm8, Trippert Labs, Digital Chocolate, I-play, Webworks, etc.) were the same guys releasing success after success, and these publishers weren’t all large brands with huge marketing budgets.

So we dived into our ad data and determined that it was actually possible to simply “purchase” enough ad units to brute force an app into the top 100. The cost? Unfortunately, around $1875 a day in ad campaigns.

Cost to buy a successful ad campaign

With some app development experience ourselves, we set about looking at the alternative ways to promote applications. Our favorite platforms were those that grew the userbase organically and virally simply by using the app (gaming platforms Open Feint and ngmoco Plus+), but developers were still in a rut if they wanted to promote an app that they had just released. Certainly it made sense to utilize channels such as YouTube and review sites TouchArcade, AppVee, IGN, and PocketGamer, among others, but we knew we could achieve better results if we could specifically target the precise audience for our apps.

To us, this seemed like a chicken-and-egg problem: how could we advertise to an audience that we didn’t already have, unless we were outright buying the ads? At the same time, we realized it didn’t take THAT many downloads to break the top 100 in a popular category (only about 2500 daily), so there should be a relatively low-barrier way to amass these users. We encourage developers to be more and more creative about these problems, but for us, the solution was simply to release a few free apps, which quickly gain many “throwaway” users and offer an effective channel to advertise the apps that were important to us. As 95% of downloads come from free apps, even as they only comprise up 25% of the apps in the App Store, it’s not terribly difficult to gather several thousand users through a network of applications.

Read our report for the rest of our findings.

Finally, we’re excited to announce that we’ll soon be opening up the opportunity on our platform for developers to connect to one another and help each other cross-promote apps to the top 100 lists. We’ve been supported by a great developer community and we want to make sure that our open platform really leverages the advantages of all our users, and you’ll see more of these changes moving forward!

Thanks!

Sam

June 25, 2009
Dear developers,
AdWhirl SDK version 1.1.0 for OS 2.X and 3.0 targets is now available from our developers member section.  You can also download the SDK directly, from here:
As many of you may be aware, AdMob recently changed its policy on allowing official mediation layers to cycle through AdMob ads. Our stance has always been to best serve developers and not risk  them any harm, so we have willingly complied and removed AdMob from our SDK. The accepted solution for developers with AdWhirl is now to independently integrate AdMob into their apps, but AdWhirl  is no longer allowed to have any visibility into AdMob’s library for ad cycling or eCPM optimization.
AdMob additionally required that we prove that AdMob ads in-app are not optimized through our library, so we have added in an unobtrusive branding effect. Since we made ad requests directly  from AdMob’s library, it was impossible for them to tell whether traffic was coming through an app using AdWhirl or an app using exclusively AdMob; unfortunately, their new policy was simply to ban indiscriminately unless we could show the difference, so we built in this feature to protect developers.
Through all of this, we wanted to share 3 pieces of good news with you today:
1. With our new ad library being released immediately, developers will not need to choose between AdWhirl and AdMob and can still integrate both separately. AdWhirl will no longer have any  visibility into AdMob’s ads and cannot optimize their eCPMs, however, developers can and should still request an AdWhirl ad if a request to AdMob fails. We will forever maintain legacy support for  AdMob ads on older clients as developers go through the upgrade process.
2. New in our library is support for generic notifications, which will allow developers to setup ad networks that we have not explicitly partnered with, including Greystripe and Google’s Adsense  platform which opened up its public beta today:
Please email us directly and we will gladly help you through the process (or just do the work ourselves!).
Note that we also have no visibility into ad networks setup with generic notifications and cannot do eCPM optimization for them.
3. Finally, we are pleased to announce a new ad network being unrolled out dynamically today, MDotM. You can actually start running their ads _right now_ as their launch does not require a client  update. Please login to AdWhirl and click through to their website from our link, as you need to make sure that you register with the same email address you used for AdWhirl. Setup should be a  cinch.
We believe developers can only win if the mobile ad space is kept open and interoperable, and with empirical evidence that AdWhirl’s platform lifts developers’ revenues by 2x or more compared to  just one ad network, we intend to keep building out our open service to further help developers. Quattro Wireless has recently setup self-signup on their website  (http://www.quattrowireless.com/success/publishers), with Millenial Media and Jumptap officially coming on board with us soon.
Furthermore, keep in mind that our platform helps with more than just monetization – we offer developers the ability to create free custom ads for cross-promotion, which has helped many developers  increase sales to paid apps or get their new apps into the top 100 lists.
And stay tuned! We’ll be offering up additional ways to monetize and get your apps noticed very soon!
Thanks for the incredible support guys, we look forward to helping more and sleeping less 🙂
Best,
Sam & Ra
AdWhirl Co-Founders
P.S. You are receiving this email because you’ve opted for email notifications.  To disable future email notifications, simply uncheck “Notify me of AdWhirl updates” under “my account”, or by sending us an email.

Dear developers,

As many of you may be aware, AdMob recently changed its policy on allowing official mediation layers to cycle through AdMob ads. Our stance has always been to best serve developers and not risk  them any harm, so we have willingly complied and removed AdMob from our SDK. The accepted solution for developers with AdWhirl is now to independently integrate AdMob into their apps, but AdWhirl  is no longer allowed to have any visibility into AdMob’s library for ad cycling or eCPM optimization.

AdMob additionally required that we prove that AdMob ads in-app are not optimized through our library, so we have added in an unobtrusive branding effect. Since we made ad requests directly  from AdMob’s library, it was impossible for them to tell whether traffic was coming through an app using AdWhirl or an app using exclusively AdMob; unfortunately, their new policy was simply to ban indiscriminately unless we could show the difference, so we built in this feature to protect developers.

Through all of this, we wanted to share 3 pieces of good news with you today:

1. With our new ad library being released immediately, developers will not need to choose between AdWhirl and AdMob and can still integrate both separately. AdWhirl will no longer have any  visibility into AdMob’s ads and cannot optimize their eCPMs, however, developers can and should still request an AdWhirl ad if a request to AdMob fails. We will forever maintain legacy support for  AdMob ads on older clients as developers go through the upgrade process.

2. New in our library is support for generic notifications, which will allow developers to setup ad networks that we have not explicitly partnered with, including Greystripe and Google’s Adsense  platform which opened up its public beta yesterday:

http://www.google.com/ads/mobileapps/

Please email us directly and we will gladly help you through the process (or just do the work ourselves!).

Note that we also have no visibility into ad networks setup with generic notifications and cannot do eCPM optimization for them.

3. Finally, we are pleased to announce a new ad network being unrolled out dynamically today, MDotM. You can actually start running their ads _right now_ as their launch does not require a client  update. Please login to AdWhirl and click through to their website from our link, as you need to make sure that you register with the same email address you used for AdWhirl. Setup should be a  cinch.

We believe developers can only win if the mobile ad space is kept open and interoperable, and with empirical evidence that AdWhirl’s platform lifts developers’ revenues by 2x or more compared to  just one ad network, we intend to keep building out our open service to further help developers. Quattro Wireless has recently setup self-signup on their website  (http://www.quattrowireless.com/success/publishers), with Millenial Media and Jumptap officially coming on board with us soon.

Furthermore, keep in mind that our platform helps with more than just monetization – we offer developers the ability to create free custom ads for cross-promotion, which has helped many developers  increase sales to paid apps or get their new apps into the top 100 lists.

And stay tuned! We’ll be offering up additional ways to monetize and get your apps noticed very soon!

Thanks for the incredible support guys, we look forward to helping more and sleeping less 🙂

Best,

Sam & Ra

AdWhirl Co-Founders

AdMob’s Policy Change

June 25, 2009

AdMob recently made a policy change regarding ad platforms on iPhone applications. We’ve prepared an initial response here.

But stay tuned as we are working around the clock on a number of issues that we’ll be announcing soon.

– Sam

Hello World.

June 25, 2009

Hello developer community! This is our first post, and we hope to keep in contact with all of you moving forward.