Thursday, 21 June 2012
Math Formulary miscalculated the impact of Airpush and LeadBolt
Popups and notification spam
Everybody hates shady businesses like Airpush and LeadBolt that spam your notification bar with advertisements. Those ads come bundled with apps, but unlike normal ad banners Airpush and LeadBolt push their ads into your Android notification bar when you're not using the app. Imagine: you use an app once a month, but it pollutes your notification bar with junk each and every day! Who wouldn't hit the uninstall button right away?
Adware like Airpush and LeadBolt is no different from the junk that used to come bundled with Kazaa (anyone still remember them?). That malware from days gone by filled your computer with popups with such a high frequency that people made alternative Kazaa versions (Kazaa Lite) that had the adware stripped out.
Ratings down the drain
The Google Play Store has a rating and comment system. Guess what happens to a good app that turns into spamware because its developer gets too greedy?
Yep, you guessed right. The app in this example, Math Formulary, used to get a truckload of praise and over a thousand 4* and 5* ratings. But then an update to the app sneaked LeadBolt in. The Play Store comments instantly turned into battery acid and the 1* ratings piled up. That single star was one too many, but unfortunately you can't punish greedy devs with zero stars.
A long time ago the well known app ApnDroid experimented with Airpush. It didn't last long. The maker of ApnDroid quickly figured out that adding notification spam ads was a mistake, pulled the crapware out of his app, and apologised to his users. Voice assistant Iris experimented with notification ads but pulled them out again. The author of Math Formulary should follow their example.
Update: The author of Math Formulary found out that adding LeadBolt spam was a bad idea. The push ads are gone in version 2.6. They've been replaced by banner ads and a nag screen that nags you when you exit the app with the back button.
• Math Formulary
• Algebra Cheat Sheet (this one doesn't spam your notification bar)
• Detect which apps spam your notification bar