lunes, 19 de marzo de 2012

Deep Dive Into Ad Network Behavior on Android

Ever wonder where tech reporters get all their fancy data? For instance, how do we know that 52% of mobile app sessions were for games in the first couple of months or 2012 or that the use of native apps versus the mobile Web is tied? The truth is that a lot of the interesting stats in the mobile ecosystem are provided by marketers and advertisers. Those networks know how consumers are using their devices to a degree of granularity that at times is creepy. How do they know what users are doing?

A new research report tells us how ad networks implement in-app libraries to deliver advertising to consumers and help developers get paid. For the most part, the largest networks are benign but consumers have learned to never trust an advertiser. In-app libraries can often function like the app that hosts them but can have access to far more information that the user ever intended.

NC State Dives Deep Into Android Advertising
For the consumer, the fundamental difference between users downloading Android apps and iOS apps is that Android is designed to let the user know all of the explicit permissions that an app can use on the device. For instance, a popular app like Rdio will have access to system tools, read the ready phone state and have network for communications access. Permissions allow for developers to be upfront with the consumer about what they are doing and how they are doing it and allow security checks to be made by third parties.

More so than iOS, Android developers rely on advertising networks to make money. Developers connect to ad networks through SDKs and APIs within an app creating sub-level to an app that the developers do not necessarily control. Think of it on two levels: there are the permissions that the app can use that are explicit to the end user. Those same permissions can be used by ad networks and are not explicit to the user. This can lead to privacy issues as user information that the user never intended to share ends up on ad networks' servers.
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