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Windows 8 app developers hunger for ad revenue


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All through the month of April, ad-supported Windows 8 apps have gotten next to no ads. That means no revenue for developers. What gives?

Microsoft has long supported its developer community, but even there it can stumble on occasion. Developers of ad-supported apps for Windows 8 have been left high and dry for the month of April with no in-app advertising.

Starting on March 31, ads provided to ad-supported Windows 8 apps have been almost completely absent. The ads come from pubCenter, which provides ads to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 applications.

For the most part, Microsoft was the primary buyer of the ads, so developers could at least count on Bing ads to show up. Since 3/31, however, even the Bing ads stopped and now ad-driven apps aren't getting a thing. So apps will get millions of impressions (translation: users) that are not being converted into income, and developers are upset, to say the least.

In two separate community threads (1, 2) on the Bing support boards, developers have repeatedly demanded an answer from Microsoft, with only one mid-level Microsoft staffer catching the spears but having no answers.

"I used to have a good bit of impressions / day then it dropped to barely nothing last week and now we're essentially at zero. I do only free apps so this is killing me! How am I even supposed to cover my Windows Azure costs let alone all the labor invested!" wrote user "silverdollar."

"This is pathetic. I've been defending windows 8 since the day it came out. I would think that microsoft would want to build up the ecosystem by at least PAYING their developers. It looks like I may have backed the wrong horse," wrote user "javalsu."

"I published a new game 4 days ago, and so far it has generated 0.01 EUR, even it already has a lot of downloads. If a new developer is in this situation, i'm pretty sure he'll quit developing for Windows, and turn to another OS," wrote "mezzie."

It only adds to the problems that the Windows Store has had since launch. Microsoft executives promised 100,000 apps within the first 90 days, an ambitious promise that didn't come close to being met. More than 120 days later, the Store has 65,000 apps, according to MetroStore Scanner.

Both the Windows and Windows Phone stores also fail to fence off foreign apps, so U.S. customers see all kinds of foreign language apps that they can't even read. Then again, if they segmented the app segments by languages, some of the categories would have next to nothing in them.

Is anyone home?

In response, Parker Fox, who lists himself as Ads-in-Apps Account Manager at Microsoft in his LinkedIn profile, wrote "I hear you all loud and clear. Your sentiment and comments are being seen and shared internally by the right people. I assure you all of us on the Windows 8 Ads in Apps team are working hard to improve monetization for our publishers. Once I have an update I can share, I'll post back here ASAP."

Microsoft attributed the problem to a change in its ad campaigns. When asked about the issue, a company spokesman from Waggener Edstrom Worldwide issued a statement that said "As you know advertising is a seasonal business and its normal that there will be peaks and valleys. During the month of April, there were reports of low fill rates from some developers, this was within the expected norm of campaigns ending and new campaigns ramping. Ads continued to be served in the month of April."

The statement went on to say "That said, we are constantly making improvements for developers using our Advertising Platform and are always looking at ways to ensure that we can smooth out the natural peak & valleys associated with the advertising business. We welcome the feedback and thank our developers for being patient."

Fox's posting left the impression he was not in a position to do much or give them the answer they needed. Needless to say, this has not placated the users on that board. Most of the ones contacted by ITworld did not want to discuss the matter beyond their posting. Some did, however.

Dry spell

Erkan Deveci, who runs Deveci Games, said he was getting a satisfactory number of impressions before April 1. "This is the 24th day with almost no ads. We've had 60 million requests with only 160K filled," he said.

"This is the first time I start to lose my faith in Windows Store as an indie game developer who expects some incentives for adopting and supporting the platform," he added. Deveci is strictly on the Microsoft platforms, so it doesn't have iOS and/or Android to fall back on, but he's ready to consider it.

"Cross-platform development has always been a delayed plan for me because of the time I am able to spend on mobile development; but it is a must follow practice for all developers/companies, and a definite must for me considering the current poor monetization options for Windows Store Apps," said Deveci.

"The free app model provides a way for consumers to get into an app at no cost. Developers either make money by providing a premium upgrade feature, or they make money off of the ads. Not all apps can provide a premium upgrade feature, so the ad serving has become a common way to make money ... and if that ability is no longer feasible, well then there's no point in a developer making free apps," said one developer who did not wish to be identified.

Wes Miller, research analyst with Directions on Microsoft, an independent IT planning information service based in Kirkland, WA, said he found this lack of ads "definitely concerning, because even Microsoft is betting on advertising to back some of their apps. Anyone who has bet big on Windows and counted on ads to fund development will find it hard for them to make it."

Could that result in defections, especially by developers who have bet the farm on ad-driven apps to bring in money? Not immediately, it seems. Miller thinks they will stick it out and hopes Microsoft will fix the problem "sooner rather than later."

Thus far, that appears to be the case. As frustrated as they are, the developers we spoke to are hanging on. "I like the platform, Windows Phone devices, Windows, Surface, developer tools and competing as an indie developer in a recently launched platform. However these are not free; you spend a lot of time. I'm expecting a resolution for the next month," said Deveci.

"My past experience tells me that Microsoft expected to screw things up with the first version of Windows 8, just like with Vista. But they're getting ready to release 8.1, which they'll be pushing at Build. I expect this may very well help adoption, which in turn will help bring in advertisers. Again, though, I'm still annoyed at the way things are being handled now," said the anonymous developer.

Then again, jumping ship isn't easy, Miller noted. While Microsoft has in the past done a pretty good job with developer relations, which has earned it some measure of loyalty, there's also the fact that you don't just snap your fingers and change platforms. "They don't just fold up shop and go home and start coding in Objective-C for the Mac. Part of it is loyalty and part of it is not having to or wanting to learn a new set of skills," said Miller.


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Maybe nobody is using them. Almost every app I found in the store is worthless shit, for lack of a better description to describe how hopelessly inadequate the app selection is.

FFS, fake apps for all popular services dominate the top free, with no real app. Not even Facebook will make an app for the damn OS, even with MS giving them integrations into their app (Messager or whatever).

Also, I bet many of them are HTML apps with crappy wrappers around them. There must be all of 10 must have third party apps (that exist on iOS and Android and every user knows about), with all other apps being garbage.

Anyway, why one would browse Amazon or watch Netflix in them vs the more featured browser version (even if you use IE10 Desktop), is beyond me.

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I tried apps on windows 8 for a few weeks. I wasnt impressed. So I waited a few months, then checked it out again. Still not impressed.

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stylemessiah

Ill cover the original topic, apps, but also Microsofts practice of pushing Windows 8 to the point of undercutting Windows 7 machines..

True Story:

Last week i had a Windows 8 user that bought a brand spanking new touchscreen ultrabook.

She actually wanted a Windows 7 ultrabook, but arriving at a national retailer, she was shocked to find that it would cost her $200 more for a Windows 7 ultrabook. This im assuming is in response to Microsoft hammering OEMS like HP to sell windows 8 units, even to the OEMS bottom line detriment.

For those who dont know what this means, is that Microsoft has adopted a "shit rolls down hill" policy in response to the extremely lackluster uptake of Windows 8. They have licensing agreements with most OEMS that disallow Windows 7 downgrades. So OEMS with Windows 7 devices at one point were selling them at a loss to run them out of the door. Factor in the downturn in PC sales and that wasnt working. Microsoft got pissed and flexed its licensing muscle. End result, its now, in some areas, basically forcing OEM's to increase its Windows 7 device prices to push Windows 8. With the first low price on Windows 7 devices, and then the pendulum swing to raising the price, the OEM's must be lucky to be breaking even. Of course once people get the Windows 8 monstrosity home they feel ripped off as its so anti user friendly people i know are returning them.

Respect to Lenovo who saw their sales tank and lifted the Windows 7 downgrade embargo. They did the right thing. HP however, went the wrong way, as above.

With that said, lets get back to the Apps issue.

As i said, user i know bought a Windows 8 touchscreen ultrabook.

She had it "set up" at the box sellers (retailers). Of course she then came in to see me as she couldnt get her mail.

I volunteer a day a week at a retirement home in the country....

Windows 8 Mail App, oh what a piece of shit thy are.

First issue was that the box seller had set it up so her Microsoft account on the thing was linked to her Gmail account.

End result, she could get her email, however, she couldnt get her Gmail contacts.

Soon figured out the issue...Microsoft account linked to Gmail.

* Removed the Microsoft account.

* Try adding Gmail account....no dice. (Contacts and Calendar syncing as options)

* Bit of google (id avoided having any knowledge of the Windows 8 abomination, now that i have some i wish i'd kept my cherry....)...find the information about getting gmail on there, with contacts, hmmm not a lot of good press on that one.

Followed steps :

* Add a Microsoft account - created Microsoft account just so i could get access to App Store. Makes sense similar to having a google account for Android phones or an Apple Id for iPhone/iPad.

* Try adding a Gmail account...(Contacts syncing as option. Calendar option missing after App Store update....) no go, error about username/password (thinking she had forgotten her password, i tried web login...not working. Password reset, test login....ok)

* Try adding a Gmail account...no go, error about username/password//wtf?

* Back to google...30 minutes later, find article about a Mail App update...need to check for that first

* App store - check for update - Update downloaded, installed

* Try adding a Gmail account...no go, error about username/password......wtf?

* Back to google...15 minutes later, find article about even if you update the Mail App, and still get error, you may need to remove all accounts until accounts are blank and start over.....nice to see things go smoothly for new Windows 8 users.....

* Remove ALL accounts

* Reboot

* Add Microsoft Account...ok

* Try adding a Gmail account...no go, error about username/password....wtf? still?

Really smooth

By this time im coming up on 2 hours to add a fricking email account....

Lady just needs to have access to her email

5 minutes later...thunderbird installed and working in desktop mode.

Had to laugh with the modern/desktop jumping paradigm rearing how stupid it is...she has a broadband dongle. So if Mail App WAS working, she would:

1) Click on Broadband dongle dialing software tile, which would send her to desktop mode.

2) Have to then switch back to Modern to click Mail App.

3) Get back into desktop to sever the connection when done

Now this is just an average user who was quite happy and competent until her Windows XP machine died....she just wanted the simplicity she used to enjoy. This was a woman who was already annoyed at the 4 clicks to power the thing down, instead of 2....

So i have a return visit with her this week, and im hoping that a week of desktop thunderbird will have put her off using the modern interface.

Either that or im about to waste an hour or more trying to get the Mail App working ...and im already into it for 2 hours.

Nice job Microsoft, if i didnt already hate it before now, that just sealed it.

So yeah, Apps.....not smooth and productivity sapping...in conjunction with "which corner of the screen do i need to go to again to do xxxx?" questions from everyone ive seen with windows 8.....really fricking anti user.

So if the default Microsoft Apps cant even work as advertised, i hate to think what crap 3rd partyists will come up with....

I personally hope the App Store dies the death its due, and we can all go back to using a sane interface on a desktop OS, which is all Microsoft should be concentrating on. I think ive said before i have never in the years since they released a phone here in australia, known anyone to have one ro for them to know anyone that has. As for the tablets, see last comment. I headed off any of my poor users form even considering a Windows Surface RT, although they didnt need much convincing when they found out it could only run Apps. People i deal with want to run desktop software on a desktop, not a frankenwank interface.

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calguyhunk

Last week i had a Windows 8 user that bought a brand spanking new touchscreen ultrabook.

....................

She had it "set up" at the box sellers (retailers). Of course she then came in to see me as she couldnt get her mail.

...............

By this time im coming up on 2 hours to add a fricking email account....

Lady just needs to have access to her email

............................

Now this is just an average user who was quite happy and competent until her Windows XP machine died....she just wanted the simplicity she used to enjoy. This was a woman who was already annoyed at the 4 clicks to power the thing down, instead of 2....

:wtf: :wtf: :wtf:

Or she could have just gone to mail.google.com to check her mails! :dunno:

Rule of the thumb - People who can't set up their mail clients themselves, prolly don't need 'em anyways. Unless you're a busy pro in a work environment with a dozen active accounts, just give those mail clients a miss ;)

Just go to the website in your browser, log in to your account and do the needful. If you don't want to log in everytime, then just log in once in your favorite browser, select "Remember me", save the password, save the cookie, pin the tab to the taskbar icon (create one first instead of the omnipresent desktop icon) and voila. You'll never even have to log in again! :yes: - That should be good enough for 99% of the population. No pesky mail client apps for the geriatrics and the technologically challenged :tehe:

Anyway, why one would browse Amazon or watch Netflix in them vs the more featured browser version (even if you use IE10 Desktop), is beyond me.

Amen to that! Just don't get the reason for anybody to use 'apps' (which is a $h!tty dumbed down word anyways) to browse websites when you can go directly to the actual websites themselves :o

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if i want or need an app...i install it on my ipad...my win 8 computer is just simply that...a friggen computer... i do not use it to play games or look at apps or amuse myself..with them

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stylemessiah

Last week i had a Windows 8 user that bought a brand spanking new touchscreen ultrabook.

....................

She had it "set up" at the box sellers (retailers). Of course she then came in to see me as she couldnt get her mail.

...............

By this time im coming up on 2 hours to add a fricking email account....

Lady just needs to have access to her email

............................

Now this is just an average user who was quite happy and competent until her Windows XP machine died....she just wanted the simplicity she used to enjoy. This was a woman who was already annoyed at the 4 clicks to power the thing down, instead of 2....

:wtf: :wtf: :wtf:

Or she could have just gone to mail.google.com to check her her mails! :dunno:

Rule of the thumb - People who can't set up their mail clients themselves, prolly don't need 'em anyways. Unless you're a busy pro in a work environment with a dozen active accounts, just give those mail clients a miss ;)

Just go to the website in your browser, log in to your account and do the needful. If you don't want to log in everytime, then just log in once in your favorite browser, select "Remember me", save the password, save the cookie, pin the tab to the taskbar icon (create one firstly instead of the omnipresent desktop icon) and voila. You'll never even have to log in again! :yes: - That should be good enough for 99% of the population. No pesky mail client apps for the geriatrics and the technologically challenged :tehe:

Lol :) i do know about the web login, use it myself as my primary access, i have used the interwebs since before it was interwebs....she always had a mail client set up, and only used the web page login when away. So it was user preference.

Hey, at least Windows Live Mail wasnt an option :)

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MidnightDistortions

I never have and never will buy apps. Got an android phone and i avoid looking at anything other than in the free section. Any programs i check out on my desktop is generally free and only if i really need/require a certain software only then i will buy it. Ads are pretty annoying especially when i do not want to buy any of the junk they spew out. I only have an app for an ad from my job and that's only because we had major cuts due to the declining economy... this is just another reason to hate Windows 8 because people spend less in retail and more on their PC/laptop/tablet/phones then they do in store.

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Anyway, why one would browse Amazon or watch Netflix in them vs the more featured browser version (even if you use IE10 Desktop), is beyond me.

Amen to that! Just don't get the reason for anybody to use 'apps' (which is a $h!tty dumbed down word anyways) to browse websites when you can go directly to the actual websites themselves :o

On a smartphone, the app is usually better than the mobile website, and runs better (native code vs HTML5), plus you can add more features to the app.

Apps that are nothing more than a web wrapper (my bank app is basically the mobile site + the feature to scan to deposit a check, but this is a feature not possible on the web), are of little benefit, and pretty much all the apps for W8 could be browser apps, they may have some superficial features, but a 100 item catalog of stupid shit (these apps eventually burn in hell on a smartphone as better apps are reviewed (or buy the top spot...), so you don't run into as many of them).

Because almost all W8 apps are crap, you get a bunch of web wrapper and cheap imitation trash, while next to nobody is making good apps. Also when you have a full desktop, the need to make a good app goes down. Why bother trying to port to stuff to Win RT, anyone who would choose WinRT over iPad or a good Android tablet needs their head examined. I have rushed to prevent people looking at Best Buy ads from buying one. They run quick when I explain it can only run apps and there are no apps. Plus you can buy a $350 laptop anyway, why pay $350-500 for WinRT?.

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haha! Now I know why one of my boss is not in the mood the last time we chatted about his venture. haha!

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