BuySellAds to Integrate Ads Into Desktop Mac Apps

BuySellAds, a popular internet advertising service (and the company we use for advertising on AppStorm), has today announced a new venture into desktop advertising. They are launching a new service that allows developers to integrate advertisements into Mac applications, in the same way you would a website.

Although this isn’t a new idea – various Mac apps have been ad-supported for several years – it does represent another tipping point in the ongoing shift towards paying for apps with your attention rather than your wallet.

Today I’ll be exploring what this means, and asking for your opinion on whether we should be welcoming this shift with open arms, or becoming a little concerned!

What are BuySellAds Offering?

Before we talk about desktop advertising in general, let’s take a look at what BuySellAds is starting to offer developers today. You can find out a little more at their developer site, which states the following:

BuySellAds' Developer Site

BuySellAds' Developer Site

Information on the mini-site is fairly scarce – this clearly isn’t going to become a flagship product overnight – but there’s plenty of documentation that explains how developers can integrate this feature into their applications today. Kiwi and Bodega are two applications that have already done this, and I’m sure that developers will see this as an interesting new source of revenue to explore.

BuySellAds has long had a focus primarily on design websites, and it’s not surprising to see that they are expanding towards the most design-centric desktop platform first. Details are only available for integrating ads using Cocoa, so it’s safe to assume that this is “Mac only” for now.

Do We Want Ads in Our Desktop Apps?

For me, it depends. Although I have become accustomed to sponsorship slots sitting toward the side of almost every website I visit, my Mac is a relatively ad-free zone. I don’t want this serene, beautiful software platform to become just another place I need to wade through an endless sea of advertisements. I can’t imagine anything worse than flashing, bright, colourful ads adorning the sidebar of Things.

But that might not become the case.

OS X and iOS developers generally seem to have a high degree of integrity when it comes to designing and monetizing their work. Most of my favourite apps have veered towards the likes of Fusion Ads and The Deck for advertising purposes – two of the most design-centric platforms I’ve ever come across. I heard many people comment that, even after purchasing Tweetie, they left advertising turned on because they found Fusion Ads’ content to be so relevant and appealing.

There’s no reason that BuySellAds has to be any different – publishers still have full control over the advertisements they accept or reject from appearing in their app. Hopefully we’ll still be treated to sympathetically designed ads in our desktop software – providing the desire of developers to cash-in doesn’t overcome that of producing something simple and beautiful.

Personally, I think that a near-perfect model is as follows:

  • Allow people to purchase your app and remove ads if they so choose
  • Provide a minimal number of relevant, beautiful advertisements to everyone else

What Do You Think?

I’m interested to hear what you think. Would you rather pay for a particular piece of software, or have an ad-supported version? Do you think that this is the model we’ll see developers taking with desktop software in the future?

Let me know what you think in the comments, and let’s kick off a debate!