Ina Fried

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TapJoy CEO: Apple App Store Changes Won’t Shut Us Down

TapJoy CEO Mihir Shah said on Monday that changes Apple has made to its App Store rankings and policies have caused the company to adjust its business, but insisted the moves won’t force them out of business.

“They haven’t shut us down,” Shah said. Apple last week changed its ranking algorithm to downplay download numbers in an effort to crack down on certain cross-marketing practices, including those core to the way TapJoy makes its money. Apple has also rejected certain apps over the last few weeks that include various TapJoy ads, Shah said.

TapJoy was particularly affected by Apple’s changes as its business model works by allowing mobile app developers to essentially pay to get a certain amount of downloads and installations of their apps. Typically, users of one app are rewarded with virtual currency or other inducements for downloading and using another application. In many cases, the goal of TapJoy customers is to get a new application into the Top 25 of an app store category, said Loopt CEO Sam Altman.

The methods used by TapJoy–and similar approaches–have become increasingly important in a world where developers are struggling to get attention amid a flood of new mobile applications hitting the market.

Their comments came during a discussion at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit in Sausalito, Calif.

Shah said TapJoy doesn’t yet have total clarity on what will appease Apple, but said it is making some changes, such as guaranteeing that no single app will be used to vault another app into the top of the rankings.

“They (Apple) have rejected certain apps for a certain mechanism,” Shah said. “When we have tweaked that mechanism we have seen apps approved.”

Shah said that his company is committed to making the moves it needs to make in order to ensure its business model is sustainable.

“I think we are very early in the market,” Shah said. “We are going to have to tack a few ways.”


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