Mike Zonrek reports that Apple has suddenly removed iAds from kid-focused applications in the App Store. Zonrek is the developer behind Dex, a Pokémon-browser that has been downloaded over 500,000 times and is a favorite among kids who are into Pokemon.
Zonrek uses a combination of iAds, AdMob and in-app purchases to generate revenue from his app. Late last week, Zonrek noticed his iAd fill rate had fallen from 16.5 percent to zero. Concerned by the drop, he fired off an email to Apple to find out what happened. Apple responded with the following statement:
We periodically review the apps in the iAd Network to ensure that all apps receiving ads are aligned with the needs of our advertisers. Currently, our advertisers prefer that their advertising not appear in applications that are targeted for users that are young children, since their products are not targeted at that audience.
Zonrek was surprised by this response as this policy change is not mentioned in Apple's iAd or developer documentation. Such a modification would not be surprising as Apple has taken some heat for accidental in-app purchases by children. Advertisers and Apple alike may be treading carefully when the interests of children are involved.