Emails show Apple’s internal debate over showing ads in the App Store

Apple has slowly been broadening the amount of advertising in the App Store, initially with Browse Advertisements in outcomes, and more recently with an ad slot in the “Recommended” location of the App Store Search tab. New emails made public as part of the Apple vs. Impressive legal fight, seen by 9to5Mac, offer a take a look at Apples internal argument over whether or not to present advertisements to the App Store.

App Store Search Ads were presented in 2016 as Apple intended to diversify income streams as part of its growing Services segments. A report in 2018 suggested that the Search Ads service created around $1 billion yearly in income, and that number has most likely grown because then.
Apples internal discussion about including Search Ads to the App Store appear to have began around February 2015, when Apples David Neumann emailed Eric Friedman a link to Googles announcement about permitting advertisements in Google Play. Neumann is 15-year veteran engineer at Apple, while Friedman acts as head of the companys Fraud Engineering Algorithms and Risk unit.
” Boy, I sure want we could do this,” Nuemann composed in the e-mail referencing Googles statement about ads in the Play Store. Friedman responded and stated that it was something that Apple had actually considered:

Yes, the capability to pay for promotion would be incredible. Weve floated it several times as the way to end chart video gaming: if people want to pay “marketing companies” (bot nets) to gain position, why do not we simply let them pay us to get position?
No one is willing to take that on. I suppose it would get pretty tacky, but a minimum of it would be transparently cheesy.
Ive in fact managed to convince myself that our App Store charts arent really a discovery tool at all. Think about it: a chart that puts YouTube and Flight Pilot Simulator 3D in the exact same list isnt helpful to a human consumer.
No, I believe the primary function of the charts is “inside baseball.” They serve as a Whos on top?” list for designers so that they know which mechanical rabbit to pursue in the market race.

Neumann explained and reacted that Apple need to post a “Thoughts on App Store Discovery” essay on its site describing the modifications, then launch Search Ads in the App Store.
Friedman wrote back that while the “devs would enjoy it,” Tim Cooks public messaging about marketing required to be thought about:

Friedman went on to explain that Apple ought to combine all of its “ranking functions,” such as charts, recommendations, search, and check out, to make it such that “the only way to game the system is to be an engaged developer who makes an useful, high quality app that lots of real devices keep around.”
Eventually, Apple wound up presenting App Store Search Ads to designers around 18 months after this email exchange.

Ads would be strangely at chances with that. I do think that search and check out are much better discovery tools. Popularity alone is a foolish ranking function for the App Store.
However in the App Store I dont just wish to know what is popular. I want apps that are high quality, well looked after by engaged developers, and maintained (because useful) by other users. Being popular within a category is a nice to have and need to primarily associate with the other values I explained.

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Ive in fact managed to convince myself that our App Store charts arent really a discovery tool at all. Advertisements would be weirdly at odds with that. Popularity alone is a foolish ranking function for the App Store. In the App Store I do not only desire to understand what is popular. I desire apps that are high quality, well looked after by engaged designers, and maintained (because helpful) by other users.

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