Tapjoy, one of the mobile advertising companies that has made the pay-per-install incentive scheme a cornerstone of its business model, got hit hard when Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) changed its rules to prohibit these services. Now Tapjoy is trying to get its own back. Today it has launched a new scheme, the Android Fund, which will see it giving away $5 million to developers to port their apps to the Android platform.
Tapjoy is offering not only to port the apps, but to test them as well on behalf of developers. And it will also offer “free marketing credits” to developers who take Tapjoy up on the program. Tapjoy currently works with some 9,000 apps, which have been downloaded and consumed by over 200 million mobile users.
These marketing credits are the basis of Tapjoy’s pay-per-install ad platform, which offer users in-app credits for the app (often a game) that they are currently using, in exchange for downloading another app. Pay-per-install is a service that Apple has recently forbidden — partly, it was reported, because the most popular gaming apps were by default generating high downloads of other games, which would then end up in the most popular ranks of apps.
And although Apple makes a very small portion of its overall revenue from in-app payments, it is true that by offering credits as an incentive to download other apps would have made it less likely that users would be running transactions through Apple’s own iTunes system itself.
Given that Apple’s change in policy has had a direct impact on Tapjoy’s business, it’s no surprise to see the company launching this initiative — although it does make you think that if and when Apple changes its policy again, Tapjoy will have trouble doing business with Apple in the future.
The Android Fund follows on from a survey that Tapjoy produced earlier this month, which charted the effect of Apple’s changes on developers. Predictably, the developers reported lower active users; more complaints and a decrease in revenues.