iPhones dialling up premium-rate bills again
It's enough to make one side with Apple
AdMob has been placing premium-rate numbers into iPhone applications again, this time in an application targeted at kids, who are even more likely than adults to hit the link without noticing.
The application concerned is "Talking Tom Cat". The free app records the user's voice, and plays it back with comedy animations to the delight of the whole family. So entertaining is the app that some users have given their handsets to their offspring to play with – who then manage to make premium rate calls thanks to a link in the embedded advertisement.
A quick look at Who Calls Me reveals a list of people who've been hit by calls to the number dialled by the offending advert, but few of them have tracked the behaviour down to the talking cat. Not that it's just ankle-biters doing it - adults are just as capable of accidentally hitting a link, and while a dialogue is supposed to pop up that's apparently not happening.
"We are also not satisfied with these dialing ads appearing in our app," the developer, Outfit 7, told us, adding: "I personally have written to AdMob at least 5 times concerning this problem."
It's not the first time this has happened: an almost identical incident in January saw users of the novelty application Bubblewrap suffering the same way. At that time AdMob explained to us that it was down to a unfortunate combination of bugs and errors that couldn't have been predicted, and would be fixed shortly. This time the company was rather more succinct:
"Click-to-call ads with premium numbers are classified as age-appropriate and normally would not appear in apps for children. We will work with the app developer to block these ads if we discover they are showing."
Obviously free applications have to be paid for somehow, but users do not expect the cost to appear on their next mobile bill, and if AdMob can't get this fixed it's going to make Apple's iAd an increasingly attractive option. ®
Obviously free applications have to be paid for somehow
Wrong, free apps are free, you don't pay for them... because they are free!
An add supported app is not a free app, you may not pay up front but you pay by being hit with ads.
An ad with a dialler is no better then the old modem trojans and the people doing it need their ass kicked.
If you have an iPhone 4, you can prevent it from sneakily making premium rate calls by holding it at the lower left corner.
Of course, if AdMob were anywhere close to being a halfway reputable organisation, they wouldn't take ads with click-to-dial premium rate numbers in anyway.
But they're not, so they do. What's the point of getting quotes from an obvious scam-merchant? You're only ever going to get bullshit, equivocation and outright lies by return.....
Forgot what ads looked like until I bought an iPad.
The solution is Adblock. But you'll never see that on Safari.
The word free has now been abused as much as the word unlimited.
Free access, but first we want your name, home address and email address. Ergo not free.
Free download, but first we require you to click through several pages of advertisements and provide an email address to send a download link to. Ergo not free.
Free laptop, but first you must sign a 2 year contract and pay us £35 per month. Ergo not free.
Some things are free, like the freedom to avoid such nonsense.