Mobile app developers on the Windows Phone platform have been reporting a sharp drop-off in ad revenue from Google’s AdMob ad network, which has led some to speculate that Google is aggressively trying to kill off the rival operating system by making it harder for Windows Phone developers to monetise their apps, Windows blog WMPU first reported.
Google’s AdMob is one of the largest mobile advertising platforms. It allows developers across a number of platforms including Android, Windows Phone and iOS to earn money from their apps by integrating an SDK (software development kit) which serves ads.
But earlier this month, developers noticed a suspicious drop in ad revenue from their Windows Phone apps, which, incidentally came around the time of Microsoft’s annual “BUILD” developers conference. One of the big announcements at BUILD was that Microsoft was going to make it easier for developers to port their iOS and Android apps over to Windows 10.
Writing on a Google Group for mobile ads SDK developers, one developer claimed the fill rate on their Windows Phone app/s (the amount of ad space actually sold) dropped from 99% to 7% in one day, starting May 7. Another said the revenue generated by AdMob ads had decreased by 80%, and other forum members said they were experiencing similar issues and had yet to receive technical support from Google.
Some developers also tweeted about their Windows Phone/Ad Mob experiences:
Anyone have insights on a decent windows phone ad network? Admob fell to 69% fill rate, MS Pubcenter at 38% :-\
— Santiago Lema (@blackjack75) May 16, 2015
Business Insider has contacted Google for an explanation and for comment. We will update this article once we hear back.
One member suggested the issue may be down to a bug, while others were more conspiratorial as to the reason behind the drop in ad revenue.
“Luis,” wrote: “Sure, the google [sic] is trying to kill the WP platform (and this huge drop was after the Build 2015, coincidence?), that’s obvious. Guys, forget the AdMob, use the [Microsoft] pubCenter, is really better than AdMob.”
A commenter — Scott Humble — on the WMPU blog had another theory: “I am not convinced that Google is competent and calculated enough to do something like this. An unannounced Google API or service change seems more likely. It is possible that this is anticompetitive but we would need comparative data from competing mobile ad services as well.”
In the meantime, other mobile ad networks such as Microsoft’s own PubCenter and Smaato could provide alternative sources of revenue for Windows Phone developers.
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