Now there's one more reason to use Gas Cubby. App Cubby and Honeywell's consumer auto brands (FRAM, Prestone, and Autolite) have joined together to release Gas Cubby by FRAM [iTunes link], a free sponsored edition of Gas Cubby. According to developer David Barnard of App Cubby, this could be the "first sponsorship deal of it's kind where an independent iPhone developer has partnered with a single company to sponsor a free app."
Gas Cubby by FRAM will include ads for the Honeywell auto products, and Barnard explained to TUAW why Honeywell decided to partner with App Cubby rather than hire another developer to create their own app.
First, Gas Cubby is the leading fuel economy and/or vehicle maintenance app in the App Store. It's a proven entity with over a year of solid reviews from users and critics alike. It would have cost Honeywell tens of thousands of dollars to try and replicate the success of Gas Cubby, but with the App Store's hyper-competitive market, there's just no telling whether they would have seen anywhere near the same level of success.This deal appears to be a win-win-win situation. iPhone users will be able to download a high-quality iPhone app for free (albeit with advertising inserted), Honeywell gets a new, targeted audience for their car product advertising, and App Cubby gets a new group of enthusiastic customers.
Second, Honeywell isn't just buying ad space in some random app. I'm working very closely with them to hone our strategy. I personally oversaw the creation of the ads and landing pages to make sure they fit in with the app and were appropriate for the iPhone. Many large companies push iPhone related tasks to their web team who may or may not have their finger on the pulse of the iPhone and the App Store marketplace. I'm also working with them on long term plans to bring more value to Gas Cubby users and find more innovative and user friendly ways to market within the app.
Third, iPhone owners are a diverse, but very desirable demographic for advertising and Gas Cubby delivers a captive audience of users who, by taking the time to download Gas Cubby, have demonstrated a concern for fuel economy and vehicle maintenance. It's the perfect place to advertise consumer auto parts to mobile users.
For those who wish to avoid seeing the ads, the non-sponsored version of Gas Cubby will still be available in the App Store. David Barnard posted his feelings about "selling out" in the App Cubby blog, and the post is fascinating reading.
While this may be the first sponsorship deal of its kind, it certainly won't be the last. What are your thoughts about sponsored iPhone apps? Let us know in the comments section below.