We talked to you last spring a little bit about AirPush, an ad network that delivers its messages to users by means of Android notifications. Following a very vocal user backlash, we saw developers start to keep their distance from the service. While it sounded like smartphone users had spoken, apparently the specter of notification ads continues to loom over companies involved in the market, and some are still tempted to implement them. The latest we’ve heard of comes courtesy of Japan’s KDDI.
Phones sold for use on “au” by KDDI include a custom app store instead of the usual Android Market. The app can’t be removed without rooting, and automatically updates. In one of those recent updates, the carrier implemented advertisements that appear as Android notifications.
To KDDI’s credit, it does appear that there’s a way to opt-out of the advertisements, which shows up as a link in the boilerplate licensing agreement most users simply click-through when the app updates. While that alone keeps the carrier’s actions from sounding outright evil, it certainly seems like it’s doing everything in its power to get most of its users viewing these ads. Advertising obviously plays a valuable part in the smartphone ecosystem, but is the notification bar ever an appropriate place to be displaying it? How would you feel if your carrier starting pulling some of KDDI’s tricks?