Antitrust What? Apple iAd Sales Rep Leaks Secret “ViP” Mobile Advertising Program

Antitrust What - Apple iAd Sales Rep Leaks Secret ViP Mobile Advertising ProgramIn an email sent to select iPhone app developers, a Quattro/iAd sales rep divulged some interesting information into a new secret program that’s being offered to certain app developers.

Known as the “ViP” program, or “Verification of iTunes Purchases,” the program is aimed at app developers who use iPhone ads to drive downloads and purchases of their own apps.  It ties an ad directly into purchasing data from iTunes, letting app developers measure the conversion rate of ad impressions to downloads.

The email, obtained and published by TechCrunch, states this tracking is made possible with a “proprietary direct link from the ad to the App Store” and once a “user downloads your app, they won’t ever see your ad again.”  The system basically incorporates a solution that developers would otherwise have to integrate third-party applications into to have the same effect.

What’s interesting is that this comes out at the same time Apple is fighting antitrust rumors regarding it’s methods associated with the App Store and iAds.  The email from the iAd sales rep ends with the line; “No SDK or server-side integration—this cannot be duplicated by any of our competitors.”

Even though this information was never meant for public interpretation, the message is clear; if Apple doesn’t shut out other ad networks completely from the iPhone by not allowing app developers to send tracking data to third parties, it might just use its control of the iPhone platform to give its own ad products certain advantages.

Things get more and more interesting as the story unfolds, but Apple doesn’t seem to mind at all that it’s facing an antitrust investigation.  The company has its vision in mind and it looks like it will stop at nothing to have its way.