Monday 7 July 2014

First 3rd party app with advertisement

Ad block seen on Jolla's lock screen

Edit July 7, 2014: Updated version published, Ads are gone. See comment.

There it is, the first advertisement block on my Jolla's lock screen. We haven't seen ads on Sailfish OS before and some users think we never should. Sailfish OS app named Quickbar was the first, but probably not the last.

Here we take a look into the issue from both user and developer sides and try to stay objective in between. Let's figure out where this came from and why and take a scope into the starting discussion.

The first app showing ads

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3rd party Sailfish OS app named  Quickbar enables quick opening of your latest used applications directly from your lock screen. This great app developed by tortoisedoc gives a great new feature, but some people might find it annoying that in every second time you open an app via Quickbar you'll see an advertisement popping up into your lock screen. It's not there for more than a second, but is this just the beginning?

Why the advertisement?

First, let's keep in mind that 3rd party apps are made by more and less skilled app developers, and they are doing the job for free. So far, the only benefit for them has been reputation, but you can't eat reputation. Most of them would like to have some funding for their hours used in development.   Second, Jolla hasn't enabled downloading of payed apps in their Jolla Store. Neither we see any clear donation link in the app preview page.

This doesn't leave much choise - developers might either be happy for just the rep, or try to gain few cent with advertisement campaigns. For testing, I tried to click an Ad. Nothing happened, so they are for showing only.

Privacy... what did Wireshark tell?  

Some users are worried that the user privacy is compromised with advertisement. The fear has a point - most of the campaigns do this phishing as much as they are able to. In my small test with Wireshark, a program to spy your home network traffic with high details, I didn't find Quickbar to send any private information from Jolla to the Ad server, or any other server. We are phished much more using Facebook, Google etc. So far Jolla seems to respect user privacy better than many other phone models, but the ad server admins might not value "too safe" campaigns high enough to credit their advertisers. As an example, I'm using Google Ads and Anonymous Ads on this blog. The click rate has been about the same for both, but for each euro from Google I'm getting two cents from Anonymous Ads. However, I support the idea of more private ads and will keep these campaigns rolling.

Discussion starting

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  1. There's an update (waiting for approval to hit the Jolla Store):
    Ads are removed, donation button added.

    This version is already available in Openrepos, please read this before updating:

    1. Ad free version now in Jolla Store. I'm recommending this app, it gives a great add to the functionality of Jolla. Not a bad idea to support the developer too, listening to the users and quickly removing the adds. Now, Sailfish OS is Ad free again!