Monday, October 31, 2022

Gambling Ads on App Store Product Pages

Simon B. Støvring:

With Apple’s recent changes to ads on the App Store, your product pages may now show ads for gambling apps. One of my product pages just did that 😞

Marco Arment:

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.

Cabel Sasser:

It is really sad to me that Apple needs to start taking Casino Game Ad Money in order to make their line go up for the shareholders. When Steve introduced iAds and the whole pitch was, “These ads aren’t garbage, you’ll like these ads.” This department shouldn’t exist at all, imho

Sebastiaan de With:

I know it’s not as easily quantifiable, but Apple is utterly annihilating brand value, trust and goodwill with these ads. How is the revenue possibly worth it?

As a developer, this sucks. As a user, it sucks. As someone who cares about Apple products it’s just profoundly sad.

Nick Heer:

Apple is increasingly leveraging its customer base to maximize individual spending on services, accessories, and accessories for those accessories, but it is its cautious yet determined rollout of ads that makes me most nervous.


It feels like a bait and switch: my loyalty in buying products that are better for me as a user is being tested because shareholders need to see more services revenue. Apple knows most people will not switch because it relentlessly promotes its own services across its systems or because there are ads for third-party apps all over the App Store — or, if as rumoured, it rolls out ads in Maps. But it will feel a little bit scummier every time I go to download an app or get directions.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

Apple: demands stringent content moderation in any apps with user generated content on the App Store

Also Apple: provides no way whatsoever for users to report a nefarious/malicious ad in the App Store app itself

Marco Arment:

“Stringent guidelines for the App Store” is a myth.

They’re strict about the 30%. Nearly every other “rule” is poorly, inconsistently, unevenly, or insufficiently enforced.

They’ve shown this over and over again. Again, actions speak louder than words.

Federico Viticci:

Can you imagine having $48.2 billion cash on hand and YET still thinking “ah yes, those House of Fun Casino ads will grow our bottom line, let’s do it”

i guess what i’m saying is that i miss the days when you opened the App Store and there was the app for farts, the one with the glass of beer, and, somehow, OmniFocus

John Voorhees:

I looked at this tonight too. They’re everywhere 😔


Just checked and my app that is mainly used by teachers and kids now show a sports betting ad too Is anyone at #AppStoreAds doing anything other than counting all the money they’re pulling in?

Rob McAlavey:

I’m seeing gambling ads on a popular children’s education app here in Australia for children aged 2-13 (Reading Eggs).


These App Store ads are something…

Reading? You might also like: Adult Video Chat

In Therapy for Addictions? You might also like: Gambling

Streaming Disney? You might also like: California Psychics

Improving your Marriage? You might also like: Hinge Dating


What’s this? Ads for gambling at the bottom of a listing for a gambling addiction recovery app.

Sean Heber:

The App Store thinks that if you like @linea_app, maybe you’d also like to invest in crypto?

John Gruber:

If these App Store ads were in our email inboxes, we’d all flag every one of them as spam.

Adam Faircloth:

There’s no longer any reason someone should browse the App Store. It’s a dirt mall with a mob casino in it.

If you want to find new good apps you have to read trusted journalists or listen to tech podcasts. Then scroll by the unrelated ad when you search for your new app.

John Voorhees:

Ads on developer product pages are yet another argument in favor of side loading.

Let developers sell their apps themselves, the way they want, and free of the junky, flea market vibe that has descended on the App Store.

Thomas Clement:

How messed up is this. To give Apple 30% of your revenue and get placed 8th position when someone searches for the exact app name.

Shac Ron:

When ads first appeared in the App Store in early iOS betas, many inside were very upset. It was an insult to our customers. We pushed back strongly. After a meeting where management pretended to listen to our concerns, it was evident they had no intention of changing their mind.

I’m glad to see apple getting raked for ads in the OS. They are disgusting and shameful. I hope they will realize how offensive these are, but realistically I doubt it.

This was the strongest pushback effort I’ve seen in my time at Apple. It was also doomed because Tim Cook saw the money Facebook, Google, and others were making from ads for apps and decided that he wants a portion of that.

To me ads in iOS are particularly offensive because I took pride in making products that served the customer. Ads turn “customers” into “users” to be monetized for the real customers, the ad buyers. They fundamentally compromise the integrity of the product.

James Thomson:

I’ve never really liked App Store search ads, because it always felt like paying protection money to Apple on top of the regular commission, rather than an organic way to boost discovery of your app. Now with dubious unrelated ads on your app page itself, it feels much worse.

I wouldn’t normally invoke “this wouldn’t happen if Steve was still in charge”, but I genuinely think this push for Services revenue above customer experience wouldn’t have. It feels cheap.

Glenda Adams:

I don’t know how to explain it’s but the App Store is both the most Apple thing and the least Apple thing at the same time.

Wesley Miller:

This crap has been a problem for nearly a decade. Why do the ads bother you? The “games” should have bothered you years ago.

Jeff Johnson:

Once again, it appears that nobody considers the Mac App Store worth selling ads on.

Joe Rossignol (tweet):

In a statement shared with MacRumors today, Apple said it has paused gambling ads in App Store app pages[…]

Basic Apple Guy:

I hate the ads (always will), but to Apple’s credit there’s been a significant change in the recommendations.

Florian Mueller:

What is highly controversial and has also drawn regulatory attention in various jurisdictions, however, is when those loot boxes become like an in-game lottery: gamers don’t know what’s in those boxes and are asked to pay to open them. Games raise hopes that super valuable items are to be found, but often you just get a consolation prize. What’s a related problem is when games have rigged wheels of fortune where it looks like each item has an equal chance of being drawn, but one just has to play the game for some time to realize that the most valuable items are hard to come by. Some games charge for using such a wheel of fortune, and may even charge an exponentially increasing amount for each turn.

While Apple says the gambling (casino app) problem has been addressed, I assume the in-game equivalent of a casino called loot boxes, and related issues such as rigged wheels of fortune, are issues that persist. That’s because you can’t ban those based on categories: the category is games (or a game genre). Apple’s app review theoretically could identify such issues, but then they’d have to play certain games for hundreds of hours, and they only have a few minutes of manual review time per app submission--with the focus being on the enforcement of their rules, above all: the app tax.


Update (2022-11-01): Nick Heer:

Still very psychic-friendly here[…]

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

I’m starting to think Apple search ads are a giant scam. I started a campaign recently and the majority of keywords related to my app are as high as $9 up to $25, $30 A TAP. I can spend $100 for five taps. I can check my Search ads dashboard and they’ve drained my daily budget by noon for single digit taps (not installs). If I don’t raise the bid to these absurdly high prices I get 0 impressions.

There’s all this outrage over the gambling ads (justified) but no one is really talking about how they’re putting the squeeze on indy developers.

What nefarious other thing are Apple trying to divert our attention from? Oh... their continuing 30% tax.

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