Apple to iPhone Developers: Geolocation Not to Be Used Solely for Ads

Discussion in 'iOS Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    In a posting on its news page for iPhone developers earlier this week, Apple encouraged developers to integrate the Core Location framework into their apps, offering the ability to deliver information to users based on their location. Perhaps more importantly, Apple also clarified that the use of such geolocation solely for serving ads to users is not permitted.
    Apple's exact motives for the restriction remain unclear, although some have speculated that Apple may be seeking to give Quattro Wireless, its own mobile advertising unit, a leg up on competitors such as AdMob. The restriction does not, however, prohibit all location-based advertising, instead requiring useful content to also be served using the technology. Users are typically required to confirm that they wish to allow an application to access their location, and thus it seems possible that Apple merely wishes to restrict such required user input to applications that are actually providing useful location-based information to users.

    Article Link: Apple to iPhone Developers: Geolocation Not to Be Used Solely for Ads
  2. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    I don't think this is neccessarily any anti-competitive measure from Apple; personally I think it is about user satisfaction. Using geolocation requires the user to accept on the app's first launch. Ads are always detrimental to the experience - a neccessary evil in most cases - and as geolocation features have always been potentially a little controversial in the user privacy department, an app that solely gets ads from this information could be seen as an invasion of privacy. However, a user may overlook this potential privacy invasion if there is a good feature that makes use of it - this time accepting its use as a 'neccessary evil' by-product once more.
  3. djdole macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2007
    Surprised? Not really.

    While I'm no fan of targeted ads, this move by Apple comes as no surprise by me. More and more they seem to think they know better how the product or service that consumers pay for, should be used.

    Go away nanny-fruit!
    You're rotten!
  4. Kaibelf macrumors 68000


    Apr 29, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    I completely disagree. Asking their devs to have at least SOME reason besides ad delivery to request geolocation isn't a lot to ask. Otherwise, every app would turn into a stupid spam-fest instead of focusing on quality. If I'm growing a virtual farm, for example, maybe something relating to local climate/crops would be a LOT more welcome than some "BUY ME NOW" banner tying up my precious screen real estate.
  5. ProwlingTiger macrumors 65816


    Jan 15, 2008

    I hope this statement carries weight though. I am so tired of apps asking to allow my location when it has NO effect on features within the app.

    Until Apple puts their weight on this decision, I'll keep hitting the "No thanks" button.
  6. seamer macrumors 6502


    Jul 24, 2009
    I like Apple's stance on location-based ads. Too often I'm looking at an ad-supported app (say FML), and although I get ads on the bottom i still get requests to allow access to my location. What kind of location does FML need? None. I use my location settings for things like GPS and news-related feeds, so having to bounce into the settings every time I open an app to disable/enable GPS is just not user-friendly.

    Now, if FML wanted to give me posts near my location (for some ungodly reason) then I'd understand the GPS request.

    Go Apple.
  7. muthuka macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2008
    Andover, MA
    Thank you Apple

    I am sick and tired of apps showing just the ads to make money for impressions or clicks. I am so happy that Apple finally pulled these things out. I wanted to have a clean and good interface with usable state of features.

    I even had an application which crashed due to a developer using AdMob service.
  8. Sayer macrumors 6502a


    Jan 4, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Funny Apple has recent patents including geo-location based ads/offers popping up *if* you have contact info (or an app) from a business. So if you walk near a Starbucks, have an app already, you could get a coupon or something popping up on your device.

    Is that better than targeted ads? Barely.

    Is Apple trying to get more useful apps in the App store? Possibly.

    Never forget there are two kinds of apps; System apps that can do anything Apple wants them to do, and App Store apps that have limits artificially placed on them by Apple.

    Either way, Apple wins.
  9. aforty macrumors 65816


    Nov 27, 2007
    Brooklyn, NY
    *ahem* Apple is looking at YOU Textfree.

    I always just click "No"
  10. zombitronic macrumors 65816


    Feb 9, 2007
    Apple discourages a barrage of targeted ads, which you're against, yet you're against Apple for bringing it up. You can't have it both ways. Either you're ignorantly at war against everything Apple insists or you pick and choose your battles. Arguing against Apple's attempts to protect consumer experience in a product that Apple, itself, creates is not a battle I'd deem worth waging.
  11. Nicky G macrumors 6502a

    Nicky G

    Mar 24, 2002
    Baltimore & NYC
    Solely, people... Solely. Location-based ads (which is what we're talking about here) have their place, and even Apple seems to be saying that. But if an app. uses location services purely or primarily as a means of pushing out ads, without any other useful features coming along from a user opting-in to allowing the app to use location services, then Apple doesn't want to see that. This seems like a good thing to me.
  12. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

    Staff Member

    Sep 19, 2002
    Los Angeles
    If I have an app called Instant Candy Barn Locator, whose purpose is to find the nearest Candy Barn location, that's a lot like an ad but I presume it's giving me useful information so that would be a permitted use. But if it simply gives me a list of Candy Barn locations that I can scroll though, while popping up an ad for a dentist near me, that's presumably not a permitted use.

    What are the exceptions to "typically"? What's the rule about when an app won't ask?
  13. djdole macrumors regular

    Aug 21, 2007
    I don't see how you're completely disagreeing with me.
    Are you saying that Apple doesn't nanny their customers, and that this is totally unexpected of Apple?
  14. payup macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2008

    I hate running apps that keep asking for your geolocation simply to show you ads. It's understandable that developers need to make money, but this showing geobased ads isnt' the most ethical way to do so.

    :apple: :)
  15. eastercat macrumors 68040


    Mar 3, 2008
    Look, it's obvious the US government isn't going to do its job. It is ironic that a corporation is protecting us from the predatory actions of another corporation.
    It's not unreasonable or overreaching to ask these companies to provide some benefit when they use geolocation.

  16. malohkan macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2008
    Hooray! This is definitely good news for a consumer like me. I'm not always sure if I should click 'yes' when asked, so I usually click 'no'. Now with this I can assume that if I'm asked, then I'll actually be given something for it instead of it just being only about ads.
  17. frjonah macrumors regular

    Feb 2, 2009
    Almost Heaven... WV
    What if the purpose of the app is to provide location based "discounts", such as coupons?

    I understand their concern if, for example, you're getting hit with unintended ads (a la internet popups) when you're just trying to send a text (although, in fairness, that's why the app is free... it's subsidized by the ads), but is Apple implying that an app designed for "advertising" has no place on their store?

    What about retail apps... Target, Amazon, Newegg... that's basically all they are... (self) advertising apps.
  18. kdarling macrumors demi-god


    Jun 9, 2007
    Cabin by a lake
    Makes no sense to me.

    I'd rather they banned ad supported apps altogether.

    But frankly, if I _have_ to see ads, I'd rather they be targeted for my area and tastes, rather than for some random place across the world. (This assumes I still get to decide to turn it on or not.)
  19. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Having a free-for-all where any app is allowed to do anything means real benefits for users.

    Having some rules and controls ALSO means real benefits. And this is a good rule!

    It’s not trying to kill competition for Apple’s future ad offerings because:

    a) It’s just a tiny fraction of iPhone advertising that is affected. Trivial to Apple’s bottom line.

    b) Apple’s offering (if any) is still in the future.

    c) Apps that want to have location ads still can. They just have to offer real location functionality too.

    d) Even Apple’s own Maps app asks PERMISSION before using your location. So if you think Apple’s going to make their own location-based ad service, for apps that offer no real location functionality, then you can be sure those apps will ask permission too. It would be a blatant and public reversal of the policy Apple is now stating. Sure, that happens—but would Apple plan for it to? No—they’d rather allow a few apps through now, so they they could allow something similar from themselves later.
  20. Full of Win macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

    Nov 22, 2007
    Ask Apple
    This could be very good for users...if Apple adheres to the same policy. However, I'd be willing to bet they are just taking care of the competition and not doing us any favors.
  21. NiteWaves77 macrumors member

    May 28, 2007
    Cupertino, CA
    +1. Completely agree. Give us the APIs, then stand back. And the Apple fanboy Socialist bile coming from The Usual Suspects in this forum isn't surprising at all.

    <sarcasm>Just close down the App Store and hand Android Marketplace a check, Apple. It'll be a lot quicker this way.</sarcasm>
  22. dmcaudio macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2010
    call me paranoid...

    I personally don't want to divulge my personal location to anyone... especially advertisers. Unless needed by law enforcement, i prefer to stay off the grid as much as possible.

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