Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Tapjoy Puts up $5M to Help App Developers Port to Android

The paid distribution provider Tapjoy, many of whose users’ mobile gaming applications are now being rejected by Apple, has established a $5 million fund to help transition existing games to Android.

Since April, Apple has declined to approve iOS apps that use Tapjoy pay-per-install ads. Tapjoy customers have taken a hit because they can no longer offer their app users the popular option to install other apps rather than pay money to buy virtual goods. So now Tapjoy is looking for greener pastures, and hoping to bring app developers along with it.

The Tapjoy Android Fund will provide porting and testing development support, ongoing tools like a mobile analytics platform, and free marketing credits.

One of the weaknesses of Android from an app developer perspective is its comparatively weaker mechanisms for monetization, as compared to iOS. Part of that is a critical mass problem, so Tapjoy is trying to jumpstart the action. Tapjoy said it already has hundreds of Android developers, and it is already funding developers like SkyVu, maker of Battle Bears.

A mobile app developer recently relayed to me that he’d heard Tapjoy was “abandoning” iPhone for Android. When asked whether that’s true, Tapjoy spokesperson Matt McAllister replied:

“Not true at all, no. We are definitely turning more of our attention to Android from a sales and product perspective, but we still view iOS as very strategically important. Of course, without PPI it presents a challenge, but we’ve been adding lots of high-value, exclusive brand CPA offers like from Netflix, Gamefly, etc., and those actually seem to be working well. So yes, we’re still on iOS and believe it or not making good money there.”

Tapjoy said last month that a survey of about 500 of its developers found 54 percent of them have seen revenue decreases following Apple’s effective ban on pay-per-install.

Many developers run Tapjoy pay-per-install ads within their apps, as well as promote their own apps using the same ads. For a time, advertising on Tapjoy had become an integral part of the process of distributing an iOS app for everyone from start-ups to large players like Groupon, Google and Zynga. Tapjoy CEO Mihir Shah had told me prior to Apple’s changes that launching an iOS app on Tapjoy cost $30,000 to $500,000, while Android was significantly cheaper.

At the time, Mihir described Tapjoy, which raised $21 million earlier this year, as “very profitable.”

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