Apple began displaying more ads in the App Store on October 25th, particularly in the “Today” tab and at the bottom of app listings. Since then, several developers have complained about seeing gambling ads in the “You Might Also Like” section of their listings when they have nothing to do with their apps.
Marco Arment was one of those developers, who shared a screenshot on Twitter of gambling advertisements on the App Store page for his podcast app Overcast. Other developers reported the same problem and made it clear that they did not approve of casino ads on their product pages.
Apple has now confirmed to MacRumors that it has “paused ads related to gambling and a few other categories on App Store product pages.”
That’s pretty much it for Apple’s statement. It’s unclear whether Apple plans to resume serving gambling ads once the backlash settles down — Apple did not clarify its decision, and the word “pause” suggests that the change is only temporary.
According to MacRumors, people have been criticizing Apple for serving casino ads in general, rather than just within app listings. Florian Mueller of the FOSS Patents blog also claimed that by placing ads on app pages, Apple is forcing developers to pay for ad space.
This is because if they do not purchase them, competitors may use them and drive away potential customers.
Apple has been selling advertisements in the App Store for years, but the ads space in the Today tab was previously reserved for a curated list of recommendations from Apple’s editorial team. Meanwhile, the “You Might Also Like” section, which now appears at the bottom of listings, included suggestion cards for similar apps. However, because Apple allows advertisers to target categories other than their own, casino ads can appear almost anywhere on the App Store.