Apple announced on October 25th that users would soon see new ad placements from Apple Search Ads on the App Store. The update was meant to make it easy for advertisers to promote and drive discovery of their apps in certain sections of the App Store, like the ‘Today tab’ and the ‘You Might Also Like’ section.
Mere hours after the new ad placements went live, industry developers were quick to point out how their App Store feed was full of unsavoury and off-putting ads related to gambling apps, as shared by MacRumours.
Now my app’s product page shows gambling ads, which I’m really not OK with.
Apple shouldn’t be OK with it, either.
The App Store has corrupted such a great company so deeply. They make so much from gambling and manipulative IAPs that they don’t even see the problem anymore. https://t.co/MnNlf7k0kT
— Marco Arment (@marcoarment) October 25, 2022
Developer Simon B. Støvring said, “With Apple’s recent changes to ads on the App Store, your product pages may now show ads for gambling apps,” while podcast app Overcast’s developer Marco Arment was displeased that ads for gambling apps were showing up under his app in the ‘You Might Also Like’ section.
Apple just sent all developers an email that "Today tab and product page campaigns start October 25." It's another means of increasing the effective app tax rate, forcing developers to buy ads on their own app pages in order to avoid that others steer customers away from there.
— Florian Mueller (@FOSSpatents) October 21, 2022
Legal expert Florain Mueller condemned Apple’s move last week by saying that ads on the Today tab and product page campaigns are just another way for it to increase its effective app tax rate, “forcing developers to buy ads on their own app pages in order to avoid that others steer customers away from there.”
Subsequently, in a statement shared by MacRumours, Apple said that “We have paused ads related to gambling and a few other categories on App Store product pages.” While that should stop gambling ads from showing up on app pages for now, it doesn’t address the issue of app developers needing to buy ads on their own app pages to keep competitors from advertising there instead.