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Windows Store In-App Ad Revenue Plummets

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the sorry-about-your-luck dept.

Microsoft 196

jfruh writes "One of the hooks Microsoft has used to get developers to build apps for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 has been pubCenter, an ad network that's easy to add to apps and provides revenue back to publishers. But many developers found that on April 1 that revenue abruptly dropped by an order of magnitude, with most potential ad impressions going unsold; one developer reported only 160,000 ads served to 60 million requests, a fill rate of less than 0.3%. Since many of the ads before April 1 had been for Bing, this may be a sign that Microsoft is no longer willing to subsidize its developers — and that advertisers aren't that interested in buying ads in Windows 8 apps."

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196 comments

As a customer... (5, Insightful)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year ago | (#43594237)

...I know I certainly don't want to see ads in Windows 8 apps.

Re:As a customer... (3, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year ago | (#43594261)

I'd watch an ad...

Not to see Windows 8!

And I run AdBlock Lite + Ghostery on everything!

Re:As a customer... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594375)

At least this post is better than your host files spam.

Re:As a customer... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594627)

Is it? AdBlock doesn't block all ads anymore, & Ghostery tracks you by default. It only goes to show you how stupid Jeremiah Cornelius the troll is.

Re:As a customer... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594645)

Shut up, Kowalski

Re:As a customer... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43595111)

Aw, poo lil' pusscake Jeremiah Cornelius caught spamming /. http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3581857&cid=43276741 [slashdot.org] for 2 months straight with 100's of posts like that one where he made a mistake using his registered username here instead of his usual hundreds of ac submitted posts. You can't even troll properly screwup, and you use tools that are faulty or track you by default in adblock and ghostery. You're so stupid, Microsoft HAD to fire you, and you know it. We certainly do.

Run outta modpoints yet? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43595499)

Since you're downmodding people proving what you are here http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3703843&cid=43595111 [slashdot.org] and don't even try to tell us you can't down moderate a post you posted in the same exchange with. You do it with sockpuppets, and yes, we know you have them and so do your pals you hang around with (we all remember the now 'defunct' tomhudson = barbara, not barbie debacle, and guess who was his/her pal everyone? Jeremiah Cornelius!). Your other sockpuppets/pals like countertrolling cheat the moderation system too and told you how to do it here as well http://developers.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3703843&cid=43595111 [slashdot.org] proving trolls of a feather, flock together. Of course, when those troll birds do, we all know they're just different incarnation sockpuppets of Jeremiah Cornelius he mods himself up with, and his detractors down with.

don't want to see ads I pay for at all (5, Informative)

swschrad (312009) | about a year ago | (#43594355)

dirty little secret: those ads loading are data you are charged for.

Re:don't want to see ads I pay for at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594427)

dirty little secret: those ads loading are data you are charged for.

Well, given that it is not loaded unless you choose to go to the store and download and install and use an ad supported instead of paid app.. it isn't such a dirty secret. But anyway, who pay by the meter for their PC connection in such a way that ads make any difference?

Re:don't want to see ads I pay for at all (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594481)

That would be less of a problem than them being included in the Metro Apps provided as part of the OS. (Like the weather one).

Re:don't want to see ads I pay for at all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594709)

That would be less of a problem than them being included in the Metro Apps provided as part of the OS. (Like the weather one).

Do you have ads on the weather app?? I don't, but this could be a region issue. I agree ads in built-in apps are more questionable (but still don't get loaded before you actually use the ad supported app)

Re:don't want to see ads I pay for at all (5, Insightful)

Secret Agent Man (915574) | about a year ago | (#43594853)

Yeah, this was one of the major turn-offs for me. I wanted to use a couple of the apps, but once I saw ads I uninstalled them immediately. I have ad-free alternatives that work just as well. Putting ads in the default apps was a big mistake.

Re:don't want to see ads I pay for at all (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43595623)

Microsoft seems to be using this product generation(at least on the consumer side, I'm told that their 'cloud' people have finally decided to get their shit together) as the "Make lots of onerous demands and changes, so that when we back down to what we actually wanted originally in version N+1, this is hailed as an improvement!" generation.

Re:don't want to see ads I pay for at all (4, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#43595935)

I think Microsoft's entire strategy for their metro screen and modern style apps was to get into what they thought was a massive cash cow. They saw Apple with the silly phone apps and wanted a piece of that. However the market is not the same; maybe a bit stereotypical here, but iPhone customers tend to be very enthusiastic and are willing to spend 99 cents on something that does nothing, and are proud to show off that they have dowloaded 100 apps. The typical Microsoft customer however is much more sedate, business users, people who hold very tightly into their wallet, IT professionals, etc. So saying "we've got a store too!" won't generate much profit.

What really kills it though is releasing it with a minimal set of applications, with almost all the built-in applications having usability problems, and the offerings in the store being pretty boring and uninspired, plus being required to make a microsoft account to spy on you merely to download a free app. Of course it's going to be a flop.

The apps on a phone have a bit more sense in a way. Someone might want to pay for an "is the person next to me an alien" novelty app, where they can just pretend to scan the person with a phone. Someone might want to pay for a better voice activated map program, since they take the phone on the road with them everywhere. This falls down using the same concept on a desktop though, where the users don't want to see $1.99 novelty programs they want to see actual mature $25-$250 productivity applications. And they're going to buy those applications through traditional sellers, not through a walled garden. Maybe there's a slight crossover with the tablet market, but the Windows 8 tablet market is overpriced and underselling.

Re:don't want to see ads I pay for at all (5, Interesting)

firex726 (1188453) | about a year ago | (#43594431)

One more reason why people are not too keen on metered internet.

Unlike say a cell phone, I know if I use it for 30 minutes I have used, 30 minutes. Whereas if I visit a random website it might have multiple videos playing and will eat up a bunch of data, and I have no way of knowing this till the page has loaded.

Re:don't want to see ads I pay for at all (3, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#43595035)

This could be abused. Create a website taylored to appeal only to a particular social or political group your dislike, and hide somewhere an image tag - display size 1px by 1px, but actually referencing a two-gigabyte jpeg. While your victims are on your site browsing whatever you put up there, it's draining their credit with a ridiculously huge background download.

Re:don't want to see ads I pay for at all (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43595209)

And while you're draining their wallets, you are certainly blowing the cap on your own server's allotted bandwidth, thus costing you money too.

Re:don't want to see ads I pay for at all (3, Informative)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#43595307)

Plenty of servers host really big image files... NASA, for example, has a handful of great ones.

Re:don't want to see ads I pay for at all (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43595303)

Or just reference an infinite loop of javascript requiring other javascript. With the way everything is obfuscated in the name of 'speed' these days anyway, nobody could tell the difference between jQuery and 750MB of randomly generated garbage.

Re:As a customer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594411)

Then the plan is working. As an xbox music free service user, I'm liking the nearly no-ad thing. I hope it continues...

Re:As a customer... (2)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#43594469)

Would you rather pay for your apps? Most apps that I've looked at (admittedly this is very few; I find Metro to be largely useless) seem to have both paid (typically $1-$5) "Pro" versions and also free (ad-supported) versions. Sometimes the ad-supported version is simply the trial version of the paid app, other times it is listed as a separate app. The user has choices.

Re:As a customer... (-1, Troll)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year ago | (#43594485)

I have apps I've paid for and still advertise to me... and try and nickle and dime me... and are buggy as shit... oddly enough a lot of them are from Microsoft.

Re:As a customer... (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43594593)

Really? Other than Xbox(which I guess is a loss-leader, but fuck them anyways), I've never seen a double-dip Microsoft product. Which one are you referring to?

Re:As a customer... (2)

DavidD_CA (750156) | about a year ago | (#43594751)

Please list one or two. I have never seen a single Microsoft app that has advertisements, are "buggy as shit", or even require payment. Let alone all three!

Re:As a customer... (2)

JMJimmy (2036122) | about a year ago | (#43595243)

Free but have in app advertising + nickel & diming and have crashed on me or had some other significant bug:
  - Monsters Love Candy
  - Shuffle Party

Paid, have nickel and diming, and have crashed on me or had some other significant bug:
  - Gunstringer Dead Man Running
  - Fruit Ninja
  - Gravity Guy
  - Samurais vs Zombies
  - Reckless Racing Ultimate Edition

Stuff from "Other Ocean" in general seems to be the most exploitative. Glu Games are horrid as well.

Re:As a customer... (1)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#43595575)

Those aren't MS apps. Let's at least insult them for the right reasons. Those are 3rd party apps sold on an MS OS.

Re:As a customer... (2)

DavidD_CA (750156) | about a year ago | (#43595799)

Of the games you listed:

      - Monsters Love Candy (Microsoft)
      - Shuffle Party (Microsoft)
      - Gunstringer Dead Man Running (Other Ocean)
      - Fruit Ninja (Halfbrick Studios)
      - Gravity Guy (Mini Clip)
      - Samurais vs Zombies (Glu Games)
      - Reckless Racing Ultimate Edition (Pixelbrite)

Only two were actually created by Microsoft.

And none of them have the combination of in-game ads, paid-for, and super buggy.

Micropurchases (what you call nickel-and-diming) is hardly the same thing as paying $5 for a game.

And FWIW, Shuffle Party has a 4.5 out of 5.0 in Marketplace.

If you're having such a problem with all of these apps with high ratings, perhaps there's an issue with your phone or carrier or some third-party unauthorized app that is screwing things up.

Re:As a customer... (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#43595967)

The built in Windows 8 apps sometimes come with ads. Things like "Weather" or "Sports" and others with uninspired names. At first they were just stupid ads for Bing, but it's opened up and there are ads for Ford for example. Scroll all the way to the right to see some.

Re:As a customer... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43595961)

Would you rather pay for your apps? .

I want neither. I don't want ads, and I don't want to pay for "apps". And I get what I want from the open-source world. So I don't need windows 8 either. You pay voluntarily for open source. Contribute, donate, or do nothing. It works anyway - and is better than the alternatives.

Re:As a customer... (4, Interesting)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year ago | (#43594725)

...I know I certainly don't want to see ads in Windows 8 apps.

Exactly right.

Screw them and their ads. Want to make money? Create something worthwhile and sell it. Want to make money from ads? Fuck You. I get bombarded with enough ads already.

Re:As a customer... (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#43594963)

How come I didn't see the guy with his HOSTS rant in this thread? This is one place where it would actually make sense.
Although it makes more sense just to block the ad service at your router; speedier launching, less bandwidth. Block it in your hosts file too if you're mobile with your Win8 device.

I find that between my hosts file, my local firewall policy and my router's firewall policy, running apps and browsing the world wide web is a pretty zippy and painless experience. For the few places that fail to run correctly, I just don't go there.

Re:As a customer... (2)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about a year ago | (#43594739)

Sorry, you've grown too attached to your computer. You're no longer anything remotely respectful like customer. You're a consumer. You exist to have your time sold to other companies.

Re:As a customer... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#43595851)

And yet, as a customer you still get ads in your Windows 8 apps. Including the apps included with Windows 8 that you paid for.

Serves them right (2, Insightful)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43594241)

Trying to convert a general purpose computer to a phonelike environment has an inherent failure, that users recognized, then later advertisers recognized that users recognized it. I've heard windows 9 is planned to cede even more ground on the general purpose front. That would actually make me, a windows developer(currently), switch to Linux on as my main platform.

Re:Serves them right (4, Insightful)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#43594417)

Where have you heard that? Considering that Win8 is fully functional as a general-purpose OS (and indeed adds many distinctly non-tablet features, such as Client Hyper-V, the Win+X / right-click-on-Start menu, Windows To Go, improvements to Task Manager, and so on), and that Windows "Blue" (which may or may not be Win9) is probably (based on the leaked early builds) adding back the ability to display the Start button at all times and to boot straight to the desktop, I'm not sure how much less ground it could lose on the general purpose front...

Re:Serves them right (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43594443)

Well, it was a friend who's not as into tech news as I am, but I trusted them anyways. What they asserted in particular was that non-verified code wouldn't run at all, so everything had to come from the store, or a "trusted" vendor.

ARM is locked down more than x86 (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43594479)

What they asserted in particular was that non-verified code wouldn't run at all

This is true of Windows RT, the operating system on ARM-based Surface tablets. It hasn't been reported publicly with respect to any x86 product.

Re:ARM is locked down more than x86 (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#43595135)

It was also broken months ago; my RT device unlocks that restriction automatically upon bootup (company bought me one as a research target) which is how I'm able to get away with so little use of Metro.

Re:ARM is locked down more than x86 (1)

J_Darnley (918721) | about a year ago | (#43595225)

It will come to x86 before long!

Re:ARM is locked down more than x86 (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#43596015)

I doubt it. Even Microsoft isn't stupid enough to do that, they know they'd lose all their customers. It would be like Ford announcing that they no longer sell trucks.

Re:Serves them right (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594945)

Was this your Canadian girlfriend who we've never met? Just admit you were caught lying for karma.

Re:Serves them right (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about a year ago | (#43595993)

That's a Windows RT thing. That's intentionally designed to be limited, and any OEMs are contractually required to maintain the limitations. Whereas normal PC Windows 8 lets you run normal applications all you like.

Re:Serves them right (1, Insightful)

nnnnnnn (1611817) | about a year ago | (#43594527)

Win8 is fully functional as a general-purpose OS

Any OS that has two taskbars is not functional.

Re:Serves them right (2)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about a year ago | (#43594629)

Windows Blue is 8.1. This isn't speculation anymore. The start button will still just bring up the start screen, not a start menu, which is why people wanted it back.

Re:Serves them right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594921)

Windows Blue is 8.1. This isn't speculation anymore. The start button will still just bring up the start screen, not a start menu, which is why people wanted it back.

Yes but those people are idiots so don't encourage them.

Re:Serves them right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43595339)

"General purpose computing" does not mean "we gave you permission to access a start button," or "you can buy that app from our store." It means I can write programs that access the hardware toward any purpose I choose.

Safety checks might be a feature, but ultimately "I can rewrite the kernel in memory if I want" is a pretty good test of whether you are actually in charge of a general purpose machine, or are just renting a limited subset of one.

Since the advertising thing failed, there is at least a reasonable chance that Windows 8 hasn't actually stopped delivering a GP OS, but - well, this is what people are actually concerned about: http://fora.tv/2012/07/31/Cory_Doctorow_Coming_War_Against_Your_Computer_Freedom

Re:Serves them right (1)

oldlurker (2502506) | about a year ago | (#43594449)

Trying to convert a general purpose computer to a phonelike environment has an inherent failure, that users recognized, then later advertisers recognized that users recognized it. I've heard windows 9 is planned to cede even more ground on the general purpose front. That would actually make me, a windows developer(currently), switch to Linux on as my main platform.

citation?

Re:Serves them right (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43594525)

As I replied earlier in the thread, I heard from a friend and not a reputable source.

Re:Serves them right (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594979)

As you replied earlier, you were caught being full of shit.

Re:Serves them right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594463)

They don't just fold up shop and go home and start coding in Objective-C for the Mac. Part of it is loyalty and part of it is not having to or wanting to learn a new set of skills,

Nice... It does not take *that* long to convert an application. I have done it a few times over the years. It is usually a matter of syntax and knowing the libraries and writing a shim layer... Not terribly efficient but it works. At that point you are portable...

They may not fold up shop but they will start writing porting layers and ignore you.

Sounds like the ad market on win8 was being propped up by MS. That did not last. If I were an app dev on their platform I would drop them and RUN back to more standard ones (win desktop/iOS/Android).

Re:Serves them right (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about a year ago | (#43594581)

I've heard windows 9 is planned to cede even more ground on the general purpose front.

To do otherwise would admit that what they were doing is wrong, which is for some reason worse than annoying customers.

Re:Serves them right (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43594723)

See, that comes down to who's making the decisions. There's some dumb VP in Microsoft who pushed for all the changes in Windows 8 to make a name for himself in the company. He still works there, but if he acknowledges that his changes were a bad idea, he'll be fired. If it's "market conditions", and his changes were still "good ideas", then he keeps his job. Microsoft doesn't make decisions that benefit them. They make decisions that benefit the decision makers in the company.

Re:Serves them right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43595573)

It was actually a she with a he signing off on it all, the he is gone, the she now heads windows dev. :facepalm:
However a few weeks ago on high demanded the return of the start menu in some form over the objections of her and the windows team, or she and some of them will lose their jobs.

Re:Serves them right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43595317)

I, as a former winblows dev, have already done this. I bought a vista laptop with buggy drivers and no upgrade (not downgrade) path to XP (due to no drivers). I switched to Linux and use it almost exclusively. I only need MS for Netflix on the HTPC and am forced to use it at work for some tasks like accessing Cisco routers (though my boss let me setup a Kubuntu box that I use for most things).

Re:Serves them right (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year ago | (#43595915)

Huh? What's a general purpose computer? Does it include netbooks? Does it matter if someone loads Android on their Windows netbook? What's the differnce between an Android netbook and Android tablet with keyboard? Where are you drawing the line on this mythical "gp computer?"

Is it a problem if I hook my phone up to a 60" TV and use a bluetooth mouse and keyboard to control it, playing games and movies in HD on a TV?

You don't have to (and shouldn't) use pubcenter (4, Informative)

oldlurker (2502506) | about a year ago | (#43594277)

ok, so ad networks (as search business) are winner takes it all. Because of the dynamics of the bidding engine when you get volume. Any ad developer that have a business guy worth his salt would go for one of the leading ad network opportunities over the small me-too player that Microsoft pubcenter is, also when you develop apps for Windows 8 (contrary to what the summary might seem to apply, Windows 8 app developers are in no way limited to pubcenter).

Re:You don't have to (and shouldn't) use pubcenter (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year ago | (#43594595)

The suggested solution to this problem is blindingly obvious: the app developers should buy ads from each other! Then everybody will have ad income.

Mindblowingly Obvious. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594279)

".... and that advertisers aren't that interested in buying ads in Windows 8 apps."

Of course. Advertisers won't place billboards in Antarctica either. Why is this news?

Brand advertisers aren't stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594361)

The demographics of people that use *free*, i.e. ad-supported apps, are not great. In general, they don't have the money to buy the things advertisers are selling.

Re:Brand advertisers aren't stupid (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year ago | (#43595457)

Indeed. You should tell to guys that run rovio that all the ad money they've been bathing in is actually imaginary.

Good, very good (4, Insightful)

All_One_Mind (945389) | about a year ago | (#43594415)

Both as a developer for nearly all platforms, and as a consumer, I despise software monetization through ads. Sure, I understand that not all apps have a clear method of monetization, and so many developers rely on ad revenue to offset their development time/costs, but I personally won't touch their adware, period, meaning they lost the opportunity to monetize me at all. Adware wasn't acceptable to me in the 2000s with ad supported Windows software, and it's never been acceptable to me on iOS, Android, or Metro, or any other platform since then. It seems to me that ad supported software was largely rejected by consumers up until the proliferation of smart phones, but I still reject them and refuse to support a business model that under the hood is really after collecting consumer data. From my prospective, adware is spyware, albeit less innocuous, but still privacy invading, unwanted, and annoying.

Re:Good, very good (4, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | about a year ago | (#43594483)

So, I'm curious. What sort of revenue can you expect from adds from a user?

Say I use an app like the Slate.com app and read 6 articles a day. Plus the menu page, that's seven possible impressions. Maybe they'll be obnoxious and split some articles over two pages, so maybe 10 impressions. Let's say I'm religious about this app and use it every day. So you serve me 3,650 adverts per year.

Are you paid on ad views or clicks? What sort of revenue would you expect from one user who sees just shy of 4,000 adverts per year?

I'm trying to figure out what the value of a non-ad version of some popular free apps should be.

Re:Good, very good (2)

jonbryce (703250) | about a year ago | (#43594583)

Before The Times went behind a paywall, it was making about £1 per reader per year from advertising revenue. It had 10s of millions of readers.

Re:Good, very good (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594785)

I haven't been in that profession for quite some time, but usually you get a small amount of money (like about a cent) from a user seeing your ad, a medium amount for them clicking (50 cents, maybe a dollar if you are real good), and there are some adverts that can get you a few dollars if they click through and it links them to a purchase.

All websites that take in a decent chunk of money and who choose to use someone like Google will have special deals and secret rates set up. Usually you get a contact at Google who you can call if stuff starts going wrong. You must remember that while you may make a million dollars on ads, they probably make that too.

  Also note that the more annoying your ads, the more money you get. Text only adds generate less, full page ads with flash generate more.

Re:Good, very good (3, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#43595683)

You're orders of magnitude too high. I made 4 cents on a click through yesterday through admob. It was the only click that day. I make nothing on an impression basis. There are a few networks that pay on an impression basis, but its pennies per 1000 impressions.

Re:Good, very good (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#43595109)

So, I'm curious. What sort of revenue can you expect from adds from a user?

From Gigacom, Oct 4, 2012:

We know that not every app is Angry Birds and not every app developer is Rovio. But just how tough are things for the workaday app developer? In a recent GigaOM Pro study (subscription required) of app developers, more than half of the respondents say they make less than $500 a month from their paid apps (see chart below). Perhaps not surprisingly, app development isn’t a full-time job for most of them. Some 75% of 352 respondents either hold another job or do app development only as a portion of their main job. (The picture is even grimmer for developers of advertising-dependent apps — a third of those developers make less than $100 a month in ad revenue, according to the study.)

On the high (and much more rare) end of the spectrum, about 5 percent of app developers in the survey make over $20,000 a month. These developers tend to be part of big app firms." (see linked page for chart) http://gigaom.com/2012/10/04/most-app-developers-make-less-than-500-a-month-chart/ [gigaom.com]

Re:Good, very good (3, Informative)

AuMatar (183847) | about a year ago | (#43595649)

I make 1 or 2 cents per user. Most ad networks pay on a click-through basis, and nobody clicks on ads. The ones that pay per impression pay pennies per 1000 impressions. If you have any costs its not a sustainable way to run a business. If you make an amazingly popular app, you may be able to pay for 1 developer for a year at US rates. You'd need to shotgun out an app every few weeks to really stay alive.

Re:Good, very good (1)

Albanach (527650) | about a year ago | (#43595775)

Thanks, this is pretty much what I figured. Ad revenue is tiny.

I imagine the likes of slate, which obviously has a huge number of readers, it's possible to make money. But equally it should be profitable to sell an ad-free version very cheaply and still make more money.

What had me curious was the shift to pay-walls for newspapers. Many seem to have gone from trying to be ad supported to being a dollar or several dollars per week. The leap seems to be huge. Of course it may simply be that they were hugely loss making before and this is really necessary to break even. I just know that I am not alone in simply ignoring many of these sites now, because I never visited often enough to justify dollars per month, but might have paid $5 per year.

How much is an ad worth? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year ago | (#43595713)

I've been on both sides - both purchasing ads and providing content on which ads were sold.

In the business, we track ad impressions with a metric called "CPM" or "cost per mille" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_per_mille [wikipedia.org] . So I read your question as "what can I expect for 4CPM/yr." Let's say I'm looking at a very targeted audience that frequently (2%) clicks on my ad for a $1K product, of which I know 25% of my clickers will start an eval and 20 of those will buy, and my ad budget is 10% of revenue. In that situation I might pay as much as .02 x ($1000/10) x 0.25 x 0.2 = $.10 per impression, or $100 CPM. So lets say your top-end "worth" is 4x$100 = $400. However, click rates usually aren't that good (I've had a smart phone for years - still waiting to see the first ad I willingly click on), prices aren't that high, targeting is often poor and conversion rates may not be that good either. So...I'd figure that your time is probably worth more like a tenth or twentieth of that, say $20-40/yr?

Re:Good, very good (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#43594489)

Perfectly accurate. Somehow we went from developing ad-aware and such to deal with this shit, to making it a fundamental part of new operating systems. At some point we just stopped fighting back, then we started losing.

Re:Good, very good (2)

obarthelemy (160321) | about a year ago | (#43594959)

I think adware does make sense for trialware. About half the apps on my phone are free ones, because I barely use them, or because I'm testing them out. For test purposes, I'd rather have a full app with ads, than a neutered app that won't let me test the advanced features I'm probably most interested in. For apps I barely use... I understand the dev's need to make some money.

What I can't stand is pure adware apps, that don't let me pay up to get rid of the ads.

Shocked? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594501)

Not really. If Windows 8 was any good, perhaps they would make more ad revenue from it.

Is that such a problem? (1)

cos(0) (455098) | about a year ago | (#43594521)

Could the explanation be that Windows RT users prefer to pay for apps rather than to be served -- and to click -- ads? That's certainly the case for me. I own a Windows RT tablet and spent about $10 on apps thus far, including on Book Bazaar Reader, GVoice, and IM+. When there's a way to get rid of ads by paying for an ad-free experience in apps I value, I do.

Microsoft is also encouraging more significant apps by setting the minimum price in its app store to $1.50. I can easily imagine that more significant apps are more tempting to buy outright rather than to live with ads.

Minimum price is $1.50? (1)

xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) | about a year ago | (#43595753)

>> Microsoft is also encouraging more significant apps by setting the minimum price in its app store to $1.50

Are they stupid? Do they know that the dominant competing platform (starts with "i") sells millions of apps for 99 cents? Do they know how much easier it is to sell a 99 cent anything than a $1.50 anything better?

Seems like the perfect spot to advertise (0, Troll)

WillgasM (1646719) | about a year ago | (#43594523)

Where would you rather place your ads? If they were gullible enough to buy a Win8 pc, then surely they'll buy whatever crap you're selling.

Re:Seems like the perfect spot to advertise (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43595787)

If they were gullible enough to buy a windows 8 pc, then they've already bought all the useless crap in the world and can't be convinced to buy anything actually useful.

FUD FUD FUD (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594539)

This is just pro-Android FUD perpetrated by freetards and other radicals intent on hurting Microsoft by taking advantage of their market dominance to hurt the competition.

Re:FUD FUD FUD (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594865)

This is just pro-Android FUD perpetrated by freetards and other radicals intent on hurting Microsoft by taking advantage of their market dominance to hurt the competition.

Poor old Microsoft, finally served a taste of what they've been cooking up and dishing out for decades.
Shhh... hear that? It's the sound of someone playing the world's saddest song on the world's smallest violin.

The free market has spoken. It said: "Microsoft, you are the weakest link. Goodbye."

Not surprising (5, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#43594553)

Apple has run into similar issues with their iAd advertising network that they run for iOS devices. It had an initial rush of advertisers who spent big money placing orders for "premium" ad space, followed up by results that didn't justify the additional costs. Apple extended the program to developers who wanted to advertise their apps in other apps, offering them a smaller minimum ad impression order size compared to general advertisers. That minimum was later reduced, and then reduced again, and I believe reduced yet again, along with the rates involved, indicating that interest has been weak and weakening. It seems to have finally stabilized, but it's FAR cheaper than it once was, with minimum orders that are significantly lower than they used to be.

Meanwhile, Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 have been seeing worse-than-expected sales since their launch, so I don't exactly find it surprising that an advertising network focusing solely on them would be faring worse than the one on a platform that is doing quite well. Not to mention that both Apple and Microsoft make their money from selling products to customers, whereas Google, who seems to be running the advertising network that's actually doing well, makes around 98% of its money from selling ads. Small surprise that they'd manage to succeed here as well.

Re:Not surprising (5, Informative)

swillden (191260) | about a year ago | (#43595219)

Google, who seems to be running the advertising network that's actually doing well, makes around 98% of its money from selling ads.

FYI, Google does make the vast majority of its money from ads, but not 98%. Here are recent percentages (calculated from http://investor.google.com/financial/tables.html [google.com] ):

2011: 96.3%
2012: 94.9%
2013: 91.9% (Q1 only, obviously)

For Q1 2013, Google's non-advertising revenues saw 150% year-on-year growth and 27% quarter-on-quarter growth, to just over $1B for the quarter. At that rate, Google is on track to have ~6B in 2013 in non-advertising revenues, and for advertising revenues to drop to less than 90% of total revenues. Perhaps even more.

Note that none of the above includes Motorola Mobility revenues. If you count Motorola, Q1 advertising revenues were 85% of total revenues.

Also note that this isn't because Google's advertising business isn't doing well, it's because it's non-advertising business is doing even better (except for Motorola, which is still posting losses).

(Disclaimer: I work for Google, but this is all public information.)

Re:Not surprising (1)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#43595337)

Thanks for the info. I honestly pulled that number out of my head from something I heard a long time back, so I've very grateful to have better numbers posted, especially ones that are so detailed.

Thanks again!

That's really odd (3, Funny)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about a year ago | (#43594577)

I mean their phone was doing so well.

Re:That's really odd (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43595047)

While I know you're joking. As a Windows Phone user, I enjoy the fact that I don't have ads stamped all across the screen (Angry Birds on Android anyone?).

Yes, if something, this is a feature to me. Both a Win8 tablet and phone without the intrusive behavior of the android ads. What happened to the old days where Google used ads better to the eyes!?

Ads in Apps vs iAd (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about a year ago | (#43595781)

Yes, if something, this is a feature to me. Both a Win8 tablet and phone without the intrusive behavior....

Let me introduce you to http://adsinapps.microsoft.com/ [microsoft.com] Ads in Apps or as Microsoft say "Start monetizing with advertising Ads in Apps for Windows 8 has the features that developers want."

For the Apple users amongst up http://advertising.apple.com/ [apple.com] iad "Every brand has a great story to tell. With iAd you can put that story into the hands of millions of iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users around the globe."

Clearly your not using Google ;)

How much money do devs make from ads? (3, Interesting)

inputdev (1252080) | about a year ago | (#43594623)

I never am able to get a straight answer - if you put out a popular indie game, for example, and you decided to make it free and ad supported, for example, let's say you get 100k people to download it, and 10k people are playing it regularly what kind of money do you make? $100/month, $1000/month, $10k/month? anybody know?

Re:How much money do devs make from ads? (5, Informative)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year ago | (#43595211)

I never am able to get a straight answer - if you put out a popular indie game, for example, and you decided to make it free and ad supported, for example, let's say you get 100k people to download it, and 10k people are playing it regularly what kind of money do you make? $100/month, $1000/month, $10k/month? anybody know?

I googled and posted this above, meant to post it to you. From GigaOM, 10/4/2012:

Most app developers make less than $500 a month (chart) By Rani Molla - Oct. 4, 2012

We know that not every app is Angry Birds and not every app developer is Rovio. But just how tough are things for the workaday app developer? In a recent GigaOM Pro study (subscription required) of app developers, more than half of the respondents say they make less than $500 a month from their paid apps (see chart below). Perhaps not surprisingly, app development isn’t a full-time job for most of them. Some 75% of 352 respondents either hold another job or do app development only as a portion of their main job. (The picture is even grimmer for developers of advertising-dependent apps — a third of those developers make less than $100 a month in ad revenue, according to the study.)

On the high (and much more rare) end of the spectrum, about 5 percent of app developers in the survey make over $20,000 a month. These developers tend to be part of big app firms. (see chart at linked page)

http://gigaom.com/2012/10/04/most-app-developers-make-less-than-500-a-month-chart/ [gigaom.com]

My opinion on this will be unpopular (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594665)

Basing anything on ad revenue is a cursed way to make money, and in the long run, unsustainable. Google and other large ad companies, including Microsoft may be making money, but that income from ads is not sustainable forever. Sooner or later Google will become used up like Yahoo and other also-ran players.

Putting ads in programs is so... unprofessional. It reeks of financial desperation.

We are heading toward feudalism in the online/digital world. Pick your lords, gents and ladies.

Re:My opinion on this will be unpopular (3, Interesting)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year ago | (#43594835)

Basing anything on ad revenue is a cursed way to make money, and in the long run, unsustainable. Google and other large ad companies, including Microsoft may be making money, but that income from ads is not sustainable forever. .

I don't know about that. The television networks have been doing it for 60 years. That seems pretty "sustainable" to me.

On the other hand I would agree that the idea of "anybody can make a buttload of money from ads on the Internet" is a flawed business model. I particularly like this one comment from the article:

"I used to have a good bit of impressions / day then it dropped to barely nothing last week and now we're essentially at zero. I do only free apps so this is killing me! How am I even supposed to cover my Windows Azure costs let alone all the labor invested!" wrote user "silverdollar."

Translation: I want free money and I'm pissed that I"m not getting it.

My opinion on this will also be unpopular. Not making enough money from ads? Boo-fuckking-hoo. Get a real job and stop annoying us with your bullshit ads.

Re:My opinion on this will be unpopular (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#43595795)

"Free" money? Those apps didn't write themselves. Nor is it free to provide the services that the apps rely upon. Do you expect that your so-called "real job" would come with a paycheck as compensation for the work, or would you say anybody who expects that just wants "free money" as well?

I can understand the hatred of in-app ads, although in the real world most people are less upset by ads than by the concept of actually *paying* for the software they use. You went a bit off the deep end when you went on your rant about developers of ad-supported apps, though. Nobody is entitled to successful business or anything like that, but the user you quoted has a perfectly legitimate concern: through no fault of their own, the monetization strategy they were using fell through. Would you tell somebody to "get a real job [with job security and pensions]" if they complained about suddenly being part of a massive layoff?

hulu plus (1)

aahpandasrun (948239) | about a year ago | (#43594671)

Hulu Plus is the only Windows 8 app I ever use. The others are just... bad.

Re:hulu plus (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about a year ago | (#43595813)

The Skype app is good enough I haven't bothered to install a standalone one. The only others I use much are games. Pretty much all of the other "utility" apps are crap, and only a few of the apps offer any meaningful advantage over using the relevant site in a web browser.

Why advertise Bing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43594909)

Why advertise Bing to the people probably already using it on the locked down portion of the experience anyway? What a waste of money. I'm sure they stopped because they found it wasn't gaining them any additional exposure.

Ad Network issue? (1)

Tridus (79566) | about a year ago | (#43594957)

If this is part of its own ad network or a smaller network, it'd explain the problem. These apps can drive a lot of traffic, but it's not in a place the market particularly has interest from advertisers yet.

It'll probably clear itself up as time goes on. Either that or we'll see ad supported apps disappear from the Windows platform... and I wouldn't shed any tears over that.

They must pay you! (4, Funny)

pseudorand (603231) | about a year ago | (#43595153)

Wait, Windows has an app store? Even more surprising is that anyone bothered to advertise there.

It seems to me that for this "revenue" to plummet from $0, it must mean they're paying businesses to advertise on their site. Sounds good. Sign me up!

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