Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Invasive Ad networks on Android

So there I was, looking through all the Android ad networks trying to see if any made "sense" for the Android application I was developing when I ran across sellAring. It changes the "ring" sound played when you make a call to an ad. That has got to be annoying.. assuming you make calls with your phone... which is sooooo y2k.

This is part of a bigger problem of free android apps that do very shady things. Free isn't free so to speak, you have to shovel through the muck.

To help I found AppBrain (Airpush?) Ad Detector. This little application can help you keep track of:

  1. Applications that require access to private data
  2. The ad networks used by the installed applications
  3. The social network SDKs used (like facebook or google plus etc..)
  4. The SDKs used by your installed applications (apparently 2 applications I have use Apache Commons I/O)
  5. Keeps track of notifications and allows you to block them.
I was actually hoping I would find such a program because I wanted to know which ad networks my applicationsare using. Kind of a drive-by referral. In the end this wasn't needed because the same company that makes the Ad Detector also collects which ad networks are in use overall and by the top 500 apps. Funny story: the company that makes Ad Detector also has their own ad network. It's the number 2 ad network by their own statistics. I'm not sure what to make of that. I'm going to go take a shower now.

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