Any Facebook developer that’s been around for the past couple years will remember the days of Appsaholic, SocialMedia’s tool which tracked the traffic of applications across the platform. Since then, a number of services have come and gone and now we even track the statistics of a large percentage of the applications on the platform. While I haven’t personally been back to Appsaholic recently, one developer suggested I visit the application again. The findings were slightly surprising, only because of the history behind the application.
Whoever is currently running the application has displayed a list of instances where Facebook’s ad approval department approved ads which were in violation of the terms. While many of them still are questionable, it’s there to make a point: If Facebook is going to get aggressive on application developers for questionable advertisements, they should follow a similar policy.
One of the advertisements leads to an IQ quiz, something Facebook appears to be trying to remove recently, however I’m not sure when the advertisement was originally posted. Whether or not aggressive advertisements make it through Facebook’s ad approval team is not really the question here. Instead, one has to wonder who released this page and why they did so. SocialMedia has shifted their focus from running their own inventory to serving social ad units.
While the change is a subtle one, the company has been forced to shift its focus as the display advertising play on the Facebook platform hasn’t been that effective. So would the company launch this page to simply complain about Facebook’s actions that have forced CPMs down and have pushed developers to get more creative with their monetization strategies? Possibly, but I can’t say definitively that the application is still hosted by SocialMedia because the domain where the images are hosted (“mdotm.com”) is privately registered.
Despite the private registration, the domain appears to be hosted at the same location as SocialMedia based on a simple traceroute command. If the new application is in fact hosted by SocialMedia, it’s a clear sign of the company’s frustration with Facebook’s latest policy enforcements. Yes, some ads include aggressive landing pages, however there appears to be a grey area and enforcement is somewhat arbitrary. Most importantly, Facebook is trying to clean up the ads as quickly as possible.
There are plenty of developers that are still frustrated though and this latest change to the Appsaholic application illustrates many developers’ thoughts. The terms need to be clear and Facebook needs to clearly articulate what ads they’d like running in order for the platform to be a stable environment for ad supported applications.
It should also be noted that some of the ad networks that were being shut down were showing 10 percent to more than 50 percent of ads that were in violation of Facebook’s terms. Comparing such ad networks on equal footing to Facebook which also runs billions of ad impressions daily, is not completely fair. Facebook attempts to filter through ads whereas some of these ad networks on the platform are making a business out of deceptive advertisements.
As posted in the comments, Sourabh Niyogi, a co-founder of SocialMedia, developed this application. Apparently he had sent me an email earlier in the week however I just saw it yesterday evening. You can read his comment for clarification, however it’s still clear what the app is being used for!