By Eddie Wrenn
PUBLISHED: 07:55 EST, 14 May 2012 | UPDATED: 08:02 EST, 14 May 2012
A new advertising agency has been branded ‘evil’ for trying to replace the ‘ring ring’ tones of Android smartphones with ten-second advertisements for established brands.
SellARing is trying to entice app developers with the promises of riches by asking them to add the ad network to their apps.
Most developers who offer free apps normally place banner advertisements within their app, gambling that users will either occasionally click on the revenue-earning ads, or upgrade to the full ‘no-ads’ version.
SellARing takes this a step further, by automatically installing a replacement dial-tone on your phone so that, when you make a call, you will be treated to an audio advert from brands which already include Fox, NBC, Vodafone and Walmart.
The Android community is up in arms over the fledgling business, partly because there is no ‘opt-out’ for users other than uninstalling the application, and that the ad network ‘hijacks’ your phone by running regardless of whether you bother to use the application or not.
Android users have already found themselves plagued by creepy ad networks, such as AirPush, which without warning will send advertisements to the Android notification bar.
In perhaps one of the crassest ad campaigns so far this year – full of app developers with dollar-signs in their eyes and fist-pumping with delight at their earnings – the company states that ‘those ads get implanted in their heads, not through their eyes, but through their ears.
‘SellARing stays installed and runs even if the app is not being used, so you are still earning, and carefully target apps don’t interfere with regular app usage or phone calls.’
App users will also receive a full-screen banner advert at the end of their phonecalls.
The company adds: SellAring’s out-app advertising model monetises your entire installed base, and not just your active users as traditional in-app ad networks do.
‘In other words, your app doesn’t have to be running in order for sellAring to play an audio ad before a call, or display our Click to Action Menu.
‘This means you earn significantly higher revenues, up to five times more than what you earn with traditional in-app networks.’
Writer Raveesh Bhalla, writing for Phandroid in an article entitled: ‘Developers, please, don’t ever use SellARing to monetiae your app’, said: ‘Developers, I’m going to take it to a whole new degree with selling if I find it in your app: not only am I going to uninstall it immediately, I’ll ensure to leave a scathing review on Google Play with a one star.
‘Then I’ll tell anyone and everyone I know that your app is a disaster. And finally, I’ll name and shame you on Phandroid itself if I feel like it.
‘Believe me, I know how difficult it is to make money. My own app isn’t doing well for various reasons, but that doesn’t mean I’m ever going to sell out my users in such a horrible way. It’s not going to get you anywhere. Make as good an app, with as enjoyable a UX as possible, and we’ll help you out if we can by reviewing your work.’
PhoneDog, in a posting called: ‘Developers, ads do not belong outside your app’, said: No. Just no. This needed to end as a mere (and very poor) idea, before it ever began. This is invasive, sleazy and downright wrong. I am all for developers making money. The more they make, the better apps we all get.
‘But ads should never extend beyond the app. They should never appear in my notification shade, nor should an audio ad be played in my ear when I’m calling my mother. Not once per day. Not twice per day. Not at all. Never.
‘The very second I hear an ad play instead on a ring or a ringback tone, I will uninstall the application and will probably never install or purchase another app by the developer again. Excessive? Maybe. But so are intrusive applications that serve ads in places they should never be.’
Liam Spradlin, writing for Android Police in a post headlined ‘Pure Evil’, said: ‘As irritating, intrusive, and outrageous as this concept sounds, I can’t help but wonder just how many developers will actually integrate it.
‘If Airpush (or T-Mobile’s ad-pushing antic) serves as any indication of users’ feelings toward intrusive advertising, it seems that a network like SellARing, despite their sensational promises of wealth for developers (and their impressive arsenal of stock photography), would be poisonous to any apps associated with it.’