SellARing, Sell your Soul, and the Press

I've been contributing to lots of money making strategies and libraries for the Basic4Android community, and as such, I have to take the libraries further by applying them into my apps. Things like these has its risks and dangers. No doubt, the feeling is still quite exciting.

What is that I hear?

SellARing is a new ad company which is making its presence heard (pun intended!). It is very innovative (I wonder what the founder was drinking when the idea struck!). It makes good sense to me too. I mean, instead of listening to just the normal ring tone before a person answers the phone on the other side, you could optimise that space for an audio ad eh?

From my point of view, this idea could work in the long run. I made the wrapper libraries for this ad company, applied it into my Tennis Juggling Game and released it to the markets. I really wanted to test what the extra permissions would do to user reactions.

And then... it stopped ringing!

I knew from the get go that this would be a disaster. But, being a daring person (a trait that has grown into my life ever since Android revenues have been higher than my day job!), I decided to whack those permissions for calls interception and GPS location into my app and get it out. I really wanted to see how it went with the library.

Well, I found out quite quickly that it was not worth the effort. They have a horrible fill rate, and their eCPM isn't that great either (Sorry SellARing, eCPM of around $3 doesn't cut it for me anymore). I had some not so nice ratings due to the permissions and downloads dropped, and the best part? I received a mail from the London's Sunday Times asking me why my app needed the permissions!

Ok, now, I did set the record straight with the Sunday Times, explained to them why the permissions were in, informed them that I have removed the offending ad and permissions, and even wrote an apology on the android app's market description. Really, the ad implementation was just not worth it.

Now my app is (in-)famous! Google for "tennis juggling game intercept call" and you will get many links to the article on this. Oh well, maybe there MIGHT be a positive impact from this? Who knows?

The advice.. oh please speak, the wise one!

The wise one says, be careful with what you implement and what permissions you use!

I learnt this lesson the hard way, though not much impact was to my revenue. For now, I am really happy just making simple games and apps with my current ad formats!

So, sorry folks of B4A. To save you the trouble, I wont be releasing the sellaring library. You're really better off without it!

Here is to me spying on you visiting my blog! Muahahahha!
-Infamous Bill

PS - At least I am in the papers! :P


  1. Hi Bill,

    2 days ago I discussed with Zohar Halachmi, CEO of SellARing, about permissions of their SDK. He said that on next version, deverlopers can choose which permission will be implemented. I also asked him about voice ads for non-English users, he said SellARing will serve ads base on user location so non-English users will listen voice ads in their language. Is it good enough?
    In my personal opinion, SellARing is a great idea but not so good execution. However, it's worth to wait for their next version.

    1. Oh, I almost forgot. Sorry about your trouble, I'm feel so bad because I asked you to write SellARing wrapper library :( Sorry my friend.

    2. Hi susu,

      You are right, and you will need to wait for them to at least get better fill rate before deciding on them. I do not think it was worth for me to lose the downloads on their current low fill rate.

      Btw, did you mention which country your app is used in? They currently have very few countries covered too. And implementing location permission would likely upset more users too. Though I too agree users gotta let us use location permission as it gives better ads to them.

      -Bill the Spy!

    3. No trouble susu... it actually was an interesting experience :)


  2. Hey Bill.... aren't you being a bit unfair? As you say, we have developed an exciting new concept. If we get it right (and the signs so far are pretty good) then we'll be making a lot of money for a lot of developers in the coming months and years.

    We're really sorry that you had issues with our current SDK. I promise you that we're talking and listening to all of our developers, and we're working around the clock to improve everything by the day. Our upgraded SDK is coming out next week, this version will have far less permissions, as requested by our registered app developers.

    We appreciate all your feedback, but please reconsider things from our side, and be patient. Rome wasn't built in a day and creating something as new and as revolutionary as SellAring is also not a simple or quick task. We are passionate about what we are doing, and we are determined to work with and for the benefit of our developers as vital partners on this journey.

    Community Manager

    1. Hi Yang,

      Thanks for dropping by and your feedback. I don't quite understand how I have been "unfair"?

      As you can see from my writings above, as well as my comments, I have mentioned that SellARing is a really nice idea, just that in its current state, the losses far outweighs the gains.

      I understand that it is new. I am sure you know what Airpush went through too when they started? (Just a hint, SellARing might just steal the thunder from Airpush soon! .. the "danger" of being innovative and the first person on the scene!)

      I also believe that users will need to sooner or later understand the needs of those permission. I agree, those permissions were required to get SellARing to work, but again, the losses were just too great for now.

      And while Rome is being built, please do try to work out an online form submission. I for one do not enjoy printing a form and scanning a manually filled up form for submission.

      Also, the library is at version 0.2.2 right now. May I know if you're using your developers as beta testers of your library?

      Hope we will have a better work together experience in the near future! Nothing unfair about this.


    2. Hello Bill,
      Thanks for the warm feedback.
      As I mentioned, we are working diligently to increase our capabilities and deliver better results to our app developers. Feedback is very well appreciated and we see it as vital.

      We do have a fully automated online application submission, so I assume in your comment you mean form submission for referrals?

      Regarding the library version, as the numbers indicate we are very new. We are happy to learn from our registered app developers, as we advance our services. However, we are not in beta and our app developers are in no way beta testers. We have an in-house team for that.

      I hope we'll have another round together in the near future and thanks again for the warm words!


  3. This idea is disgusting, abuse of the user's phone by sending advertising material outside of the application itself. This is a step away from Airpush, extremely rude, disrespecting users and their property. The programmer who implements this type of advertising is zero from the point of ethics. Sending advertising material outside of the application is scum and rightfully should be punished by low ratings and destroying the reputation of the developer.

    1. You've gotta get used to it, I'm afraid. 2012 is really gonna be the year mobile advertising blasts off, and lots of companies will be attracting developers to use their platforms.

      There are bound to be copycats of SellARing that will pop up.

      Just like how we hate pop-up ads on websites, or one of those suddenly appearing browser toolbars, the changes will come sooner or later.

      Maybe the trend might be to get dumbphones after this?


    2. Nothing is really free! We need ads to keep developing free aps. You have a choice to use our apps or not.

  4. As another commenter said, this is disrespecting users and i would class it along with airpush type ads as malware. Ads should be confined to the app itself. If I caught an app installing rubbish like this on my phone I would go out of my way to slag it off regardless of the apps quality itself.
    I would imagine this would be a kiss of death for a devs reputation.

  5. Hi,

    Thanks for the feedback. It might be interesting though, that overtime, the ads are gonna be a norm, and accepted.

    Especially with Google also looking into the same venture. Now, when Google does something, then that really sets a new definition.

    Lets see where all this will go to.



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