Is Apple clamping down on third-party app promotion services?

Discussion in 'Public Game Developers Forum' started by Samuramu, Oct 1, 2012.

  1. Samuramu

    Samuramu Well-Known Member

    Jul 27, 2011
    Game designer and coder
    #1 Samuramu, Oct 1, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2012
    What do you guys think? I'm using TapJoy fairly successfully to get a bit of downloads, especially to get kicking with a new game, wondering how this will affect.

    With the changes to the App store, promotion tools become even more important, however if Apple really sorts out the semi-legit promotion issues and forces EVERYONE to play fair, this may actually be better for real game developers, and indies.

    (via pocketgamer)
  2. apps2be

    apps2be Member

    Sep 27, 2012
    I hope Apple won't be doing anything against promotion services like FAAD
  3. MrBlue

    MrBlue Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2008
    iPhone Developer
    lol. With this change, something like "Chomp" can never happen again since it'll never be approved in the first place.
  4. HTWGames

    HTWGames Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2011
    Game Developer
    I honestly want them to destroy those promotions... we need to stop giving our software away just to get noticed. It's creating a defeatist mentality among developers and is giving the consumer all the choice in the world to sit and wait for app A to go free after app B just came off a free promotion.

    It's basically giving everything you've worked on away for free just to get noticed...that's a sad situation and needs to be solved in a better manner than you taking the hit in sales. All those titles given out means you lost money.

    My company did it for 4 days with FOTD, we gave 94,000 titles away only to make about 200 sales in the next 3-4 weeks. That type of return is basically rape.

  5. From the sound of the new clause in their T&Cs, it looks to me like they're trying to stop apps from using App Store-like features to promote other apps. App Shopper, for example, uses buy buttons very similar to the App Store.

    I've also seen a dating app, where the ad for 3rd party apps is designed to look like it is part of the UI of the actual app, in order to trick users into thinking someone has sent them a message and therefore tapping the ad.

    I don't think they're going to stop the legitimate cross promotion of apps. I think they want to stop stuff like this.

    However, I could of course be completely wrong. Will have to wait and see who gets affected by this.
  6. NateDogX

    NateDogX Member

    Sep 21, 2012
    Hi guys,

    First post around these parts. Please don't bite. :)

    I work for Chartboost as their Marketing Manager and would love to get your guys' opinion on our service and your impression of our company in general. If there's anything we can do to help you guys out in the mobile games space, don't hesitate to ask.

    I've been in the games industry a long time (or as long as someone who's 27 can be in the games space). I've spent time at as an editor, worked for Apple in their marketing communications department on iOS games and apps, and worked for another small mobile games startup that no one has ever heard of. Also have done consulting for EA, THQ and LucasArts in the past.

    Ping me if you need help, advice or just want to talk about games!
  7. Me too, since we just launched and the associated iPhone/iPad app!
  8. IntrinsicGames

    IntrinsicGames Well-Known Member

    Just wanted to say that I've been working with Chartboost (and Nate, directly) for the past few months on both the publisher and advertising side, and cannot say enough good things about the service and the team there. Nate makes every effort to respond to any emails as quickly as he can (which, given Chartboost's growth, can not be an easy task), and it's just one of the reasons why we're pushing to implement it inside each of our games.

    The only issue that some developers may have is the type of ad, which functions similar to a near-fullscreen pop up. But Chartboost's dashboard lets you customize the frame so that it feels like a part of the your game, rather than a random popup.

    Definitely check them out:
  9. katiezeal25

    katiezeal25 Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    This could potentially have a really big impact on marketing of apps. The problem with Apple is they make things extremely vague and so we'll have to wait and see what the true repercussions are.
  10. StaggerLee

    StaggerLee Well-Known Member

    We are using Chartboost, but in very limited capacity due to some issues we have with your service. Fist, every time we show an ad, 16Mb of memory gets allocated and it doesn't get freed until the app is closed. This is by far worse of all networks serving interstitials (we are using 5 others).
    Second, running campaigns through your system is confusing. After placing the CPI bid and clicking compare, I get comparison with the CPC campaigns and even then it doesn't really show me any relevant info - number of expected installs, etc.
    You guys have some very cool features and I would like to use Chartboost more so hopefully those issues will be resolved shortly.
  11. Well, this thread seems to be taking a 180 degree turn into a thread about marketing companies, so I just thought I would throw something into the ring too.

    I am a very active user on TA, and have done a lot of beta testing lately, but somehow I think it would be fun to get involved in marketing/pr for developers such as yourselves, and somehow find a way to fund my hobby by doing things I like to do, like promoting games, writing game reviews, helping users with information on games, and making recommendations on purchases.

    It's not just me either, I have a lot of friends on this board that are some of the most senior members that have expressed interest in joining me on this crazy adventure. If ten of the top active members on Touch Arcade joined together, then it would be big enough for us to somehow make a difference in this ios universe.

    Anyway, I plan on starting another post dedicated to this subject soon, and quite possibly recruiting some other gaming fanatics like myself, so we don't have to waste time here on this thread about it.

    But this thread seems to have evolved into marketing and services, so all I would like to say is, that I am interested in getting involved in the ios world somehow in a marketing and services role, and I can recruit some of the best TA senior members with me.

    If anyone finds what I say interesting, please pm me. Or if any developer wants help, let me know, but only games where I would deem 4 or 5 stars, because I do want to establish a reputation for helping great games flourish especially from small Indie firms.

    You can read all the Wimp threads in the iphone, ipad, price reduction, and game of the week threads as to my participation on what a good game is all about as proof that I care about ios gaming.

    And to the developers that I have interfaced in the past which are way too numerous to post here, I thank you for giving me a chance on adding my feedback on a lot of amazing games. It really makes me happy to see games on ios with improvements made because of some of my suggestions via talking to the developers here on this forum.

    Thanks again for some great games and also for letting a peon like myself have some input on such amazing apps. I am very glad to have found Touch Arcade, and I will always continue to support it. :)
  12. Royce

    Royce Well-Known Member

    Mar 22, 2011
    If 10 of the most active members on TA formed a promotional service, they would go from enthusiastic gamers to self serving promoters. It would compromise the integrity of the forums, and I suspect you would run the risk of being bannd depending on how you decided to carry out your activities.
  13. #13 Connector, Oct 6, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2012
    Yeah, I agree there would be a fine line between promoting a game for pay or whether you really did like it. But there are many marketing companies, web sites, free apps sites, etc, that use Toucharcade with no problems. Just look at this thread, that is kind of what this thread is becoming, a promotion thread for various marketing and promotion apps and websites.

    And yes, if you took the top 10 most active users on Toucharcade and paid them off, it could quite possibly influence the board a lot, but really, TA is in reality only a small part of the the ios marketing ecosphere. It probably has the best forums in the world for ios, but marketing would really be done in other places, and it would be a cooperative friendly approach to join all websites and services together in an organized structure.

    There are a lot of other users here that work for marketing groups, developers of apps like free my apps, developer's pr groups, representatives from other major websites, etc, etc, etc, and I have never seen anyone get banned, even though of course they probably were some. But any group could coexist I'm sure just fine with TA if properly handled.

    Anyway, I will start a dedicated thread about it later in the developers section, cause I was curious in what kind of support they need and stuff like that.

    And, I will make it clear, I don't work for any kinds of those businesses, I have worked as a transportation engineer and a system administrator. Never worked in marketing or ios gaming just in case you were wondering. :)
  14. pat3ck

    pat3ck Active Member

    Hmm. It could definitely affect the marketing of apps, however, the current wording is a bit vague. Let's see what kind of punishment they have in store.
  15. MarkFromBitmenStudios

    MarkFromBitmenStudios Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2011
    IT Architecture, Development Project Manager
    Austria, Europe
    I think writing reviews and promoting things are totally different things, one is from a non-biased perspective, the other from a biased. I don't think that it's a natural step from being a senior board member and enthusiastic gamer to a promotion service. As for reviews, that would be a natural step but there's quite a bit of reviewers already around. It can still work but not on a generic base.

    I guess what's rather possible is to concentrate on key areas and provide expertise there. Like an Indie needs to create something distinct from major publisher, you should focus on some area that is not covered well.

    One thing I think is totally neglected at the moment is (sub-)genre-specific app scouting. Let's assume for a moment that I'm a fan of tower defense games (which I am not but whatever), then I might be lost in the numerous TD games on the store and I don't know which one to pick. Who helps me? A generic review site that does all kinds of games and leaves me to compare them? How can I compare a review done by different testers? Or even different review sites? And how do I know that I have the same taste as reviewer A who happens to test every game he comes across?

    Other not so popular subgenres are even hard to find. Some people are looking for a game like <insert console/desktop game here>. Obviously, that exact game does not exist (or they would have found it) but which other games are a similar and can be recommended if I like that game?

    This is a challenge for a lot of people that traditional review sites do not address well or at least not at the right granularity. TA focuses on games, well that's a very broad area. I could personally never bring myself to play 90% of the games on the app store, how do I find the other 10%. Note, that it's not only a matter of quality but more a matter of taste.

    So, maybe ask yourself what games (or even other apps) you like most and where you think you have or can develop a level of expertise and then work on offering "consulting services" or genre/subgenre expertise. For example, you are the TD specialist, your other friend from the forums has specialized in puzzle games. Don't try to cover everything (and get non-credible).

    Focusing on genres also makes the task more managable. You can't play all games that hit the app store. But you can maybe manage to keep a close eye on all games of one or two specific genres.

    I'd even say the genre granularity of Apple on the AppStore is far too coarse. Strategy game, what is a strategy game? Chess is a board strategy game, Plants vs Zombies is a tower defense strategy game, Starfront is a real-time strategy game, yet they will typically appeal to a totally different audience. If you like all of them then you probably don't like any of them enough.

    If you can build up a name in one or a few subcategories then this will put you into a powerful position for the following reasons:
    1. For any fans of your genre, you are a trustworthy peer. Any review you make will be know to come from a lover of that genre, not some generic reviewer. How many times is a game tested by somebody who actually doesn't really like that kind of games and thus has a hard time understanding what is important or why other enjoy that type of game. Sometimes they even clearly state it. "I was never a fan of xyz games but this one looks pretty good". Why would you know?
      He may rate a crappy game good (thinking a lover of the genre will like it even though he doesn't) or underestimate a good game (because he didn't enjoy it).

      For example, I personnally never enjoyed Tetris. It is a dumb game, really. Blocks are falling down and should be ordered to complete rows. Why would I do that? What's the purpose? It makes no sense to me. But apparently many people really enjoy it. That means, I'm a bad reviewer for casual games like Tetris. But I'm certainly a fantastic reviewer for other types of games I really enjoy.

      Whenever I see a review done by somebody about a game falling into a category I really enjoy, I often get the suspicious whether that guy - despite the many games he gets to see every day - is qualified to do that.

      It's a bit like reading in the newspaper about something that falls into your professional domain. The content more often than not is wrong or at least overly simplified. However, the same topic is very trustworthy from a scientific magazine. That guy has specialized.
    2. For any publisher of a genre, you are an opinion former. You'll be a valuable person to ask what type of game is worth making (in the initial design) or you can be employed to lead the public opinion (after it's released). A bit like in fashion where they have opinion leaders that give valuable input and lead the mob. You might even make it to a game design consultant.
    3. For any developer you are a trustworthy feedback source (e.g. during beta). You are considered an expert on that kind of game and are therefore a valuable for game design, playtesting, balancing, etc.

    The key point to takeaway is: specialize. Everybody can say he's an expert in games but we all know, there's so many different types of games and nobody equally enjoys them all. If you are a jack-of-all-trades then you are a master of none.

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