Opinion Brief

Is Apple's control freakery hurting its iAd service?

The tech giant's insistence on taking creative control of advertisers' content is stifling progress, say critics

Apple's mobile ad service is reportedly off to a sluggish start. iAd was unveiled with great fanfare in April as a means for companies to display interactive ads inside iPhone applications. But only five of the 17 original partner companies have released their campaigns since iAd was rolled out on July 1. The delays are reportedly due to Apple's tight control of the creative side of the iAd content. Chanel has since dropped its iAd plans altogether, and other companies are reportedly reconsidering their support for the platform. Could Apple's quest for control kill off its iAds service? (Watch Steve Jobs introduce iAds)

This kind of control freakery could sink iAd: The current system is unsustainable, says Eliot Van Buskirk in Wired. Apple's notorious "penchant for control" has slowed production of these ads to a crawl, and cut advertising agencies out of the creative process. Couldn't they just allow their partners to "make their own ads following Apple’s guidelines"? These delays are hurting iAd's reputation."Apple's control issues hamper iAd rollout"

Keep in mind, iAd is already showing results: Companies already running the ad service call it a huge success, says Tony Bradley in PC World. The interactive spots have "higher click-through rate and longer periods of interactions from users." Like it or not, that's "testament to the Apple creative process." Yes, streamlining ad creation would produce more ads. But without Apple's input, "they might be less effective.""Apple's iAd platform: Success or failure?"

The system is still new, and has some kinks: The delays have made publishers and ad buyers cautious, says Meghan Keane in Econsultancy, which could certainly "turn brands away from [Apple's] popular devices." That said, "iAd has only existed for a month." Apple is a newcomer to the advertising world. You might have predicted they would "stumble before getting things right.""Apple's success with iAd may not extend to iAd"

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