Apple error sends Search Ads Basic advertising reports to wrong developers

Posted:
in iOS edited February 7
An issue with the way Apple provides reports to iPhone and iPad app developers about advertising and installation rates has been uncovered, with a number of app developers claiming to receive reports for apps belonging to other developers instead of their own creations.




Emails sent to developers as part of Apple's Search Ads Basic usually provide details about installation rates, ad spending, and cost per installation for their apps. TechCrunch reports some developers are instead getting emails relating to other apps enrolled in the program instead of their own.

One email sent to Steve Troughton-Smith and published on Twitter shows he received information for two apps he claims belong to other developers, including the number of installations, CPI, and ad spend for each app. Some replies to Troughton-Smith's post reveals other developers have received the same type of email, each containing the wrong apps.

Based on the developer response, it appears the issue affects a limited audience and isn't widespread, and only those enrolled into Search Ads Basic. It also appears to be the only issue with the service at the moment, with developers advising both iTunes Connect and the Developer Portal services continue to function as normal.

Um Apple you might want to check why Search Ads is emailing me some other developer's ad spend details pic.twitter.com/hfBcsqpCiy

-- Steve Troughton-Smith (@stroughtonsmith)

Introduced in December, Search Ads Basic provides developers a way to set up an advertising campaign for their apps within the App Store, paying only when a user installs the app on their device. The Basic version was created as an alternative to the existing Search Ads platform, renamed Search Ads Advanced, with the Basic tier providing fewer options for focusing a campaign and a budget ceiling of $5,000 per month, while also simplifying the process.

The accidental sharing of this sort of data to the wrong developer is certainly a breach of confidentiality, as such advertising data is valuable and companies typically don't want this information provided to competitors. That being said, only three bits of data are offered for each app, with the remainder held in a password-protected dashboard, rather than a release of all an account's information.

It is also unknown how accurate the released information is, as the data set provided may not relate to each identified app.

This is not the first time developers have mistakenly been given data on the wrong apps. In January 2015, developers logging into iTunes Connect discovered the My Apps section displayed apps that belonged to other companies and individuals.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 13
    This might have been a one off, but better quality control needs to happen.
    WWDC 2018 cannot come fast enough.
    macOS HS & iOS 11.2.5 have been good to me at least.
    edited February 6
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,150member
    This might have been a one off, but better quality control needs to happen.
    WWDC 2018 cannot come fast enough.
    macOS HS & iOS 11.2.5 have been good to me at least.
    Well, taken with everything else, it’s quite a lot of one-offs. 
    ksec
  • Reply 3 of 13
    This is only likely to be a weird simgle ome run-off if the process isn’t automated, unless the number of developers using that particular program is only that small handful.

    More likely a truly atrocious and stupid hash function bug in Apple’s code (didn’t implement both operator = and hash correctly, or they did something amazingly boneheaded otherwise and didn’t do proper testing).

    Wait until the new EU PII laws come into effect, and if Apple keeps this up, they’ll lose an absurd amount of earnings via fines for each of these events.
  • Reply 4 of 13
    Rayz2016 said:
    This might have been a one off, but better quality control needs to happen.
    WWDC 2018 cannot come fast enough.
    macOS HS & iOS 11.2.5 have been good to me at least.
    Well, taken with everything else, it’s quite a lot of one-offs. 
    Bad year for software I guess.
  • Reply 5 of 13
    Email... Who knows how it works, amirite?
  • Reply 6 of 13
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,150member
    Rayz2016 said:
    This might have been a one off, but better quality control needs to happen.
    WWDC 2018 cannot come fast enough.
    macOS HS & iOS 11.2.5 have been good to me at least.
    Well, taken with everything else, it’s quite a lot of one-offs. 
    Bad year for software I guess.
    Indeed, but as you say, they’d better get on top of it this year. 
  • Reply 7 of 13
    Hate to break the news to you, however, if you are using a Smartphone -- any Smartphone -- and one has an Apple ID and/or a Google ID attached to it, then one is being tracked, monitored, profiled, and marketed to.  Sure, there are different privacy policies pertaining to what's collected, how long it's stored, and what it is used for, however, one is NOT anonymous.  ALL the tech companies -- hardware manufactures, clouds, carriers, ISPs, etc. cooperate with the government!

    These companies also change their privacy policies from time-to-time.  They also can have different policies for different services within the same company!

    If it's in the cloud, then don't be surprised if it "gets out."
  • Reply 8 of 13
    This happened to me today, too. I always wonder if they make the same kind of errors with my app sales...
  • Reply 9 of 13
    Rayz2016 said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    This might have been a one off, but better quality control needs to happen.
    WWDC 2018 cannot come fast enough.
    macOS HS & iOS 11.2.5 have been good to me at least.
    Well, taken with everything else, it’s quite a lot of one-offs. 
    Bad year for software I guess.
    Indeed, but as you say, they’d better get on top of it this year. 

    If the rumors are to be believed, we'll get iOS Snow Leopard this year.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 3,858member
    Rayz2016 said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    This might have been a one off, but better quality control needs to happen.
    WWDC 2018 cannot come fast enough.
    macOS HS & iOS 11.2.5 have been good to me at least.
    Well, taken with everything else, it’s quite a lot of one-offs. 
    Bad year for software I guess.
    Indeed, but as you say, they’d better get on top of it this year. 

    If the rumors are to be believed, we'll get iOS Snow Leopard this year.
    Why do people keep referring Snow Leopard as this wonderful OS? It did have many many bugs and issues just like other versions of macOS. 

    https://9to5mac.com/2018/01/31/snow-leopard-became-reliability-legend/
  • Reply 11 of 13
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 3,150member
    BubbaTwo said:
    Hate to break the news to you, however, if you are using a Smartphone -- any Smartphone -- and one has an Apple ID and/or a Google ID attached to it, then one is being tracked, monitored, profiled, and marketed to.  Sure, there are different privacy policies pertaining to what's collected, how long it's stored, and what it is used for, however, one is NOT anonymous.  ALL the tech companies -- hardware manufactures, clouds, carriers, ISPs, etc. cooperate with the government!

    These companies also change their privacy policies from time-to-time.  They also can have different policies for different services within the same company!

    If it's in the cloud, then don't be surprised if it "gets out."
    No piece of useful information has ever been imparted by a sentence beginning with “Hate to break it to you”. 
  • Reply 12 of 13
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 1,901administrator
    macxpress said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    This might have been a one off, but better quality control needs to happen.
    WWDC 2018 cannot come fast enough.
    macOS HS & iOS 11.2.5 have been good to me at least.
    Well, taken with everything else, it’s quite a lot of one-offs. 
    Bad year for software I guess.
    Indeed, but as you say, they’d better get on top of it this year. 

    If the rumors are to be believed, we'll get iOS Snow Leopard this year.
    Why do people keep referring Snow Leopard as this wonderful OS? It did have many many bugs and issues just like other versions of macOS. 

    https://9to5mac.com/2018/01/31/snow-leopard-became-reliability-legend/
    That piece undersells how BAD Snow Leopard actually was until the very last patch.
  • Reply 13 of 13
    macxpress said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    Rayz2016 said:
    This might have been a one off, but better quality control needs to happen.
    WWDC 2018 cannot come fast enough.
    macOS HS & iOS 11.2.5 have been good to me at least.
    Well, taken with everything else, it’s quite a lot of one-offs. 
    Bad year for software I guess.
    Indeed, but as you say, they’d better get on top of it this year. 

    If the rumors are to be believed, we'll get iOS Snow Leopard this year.
    Why do people keep referring Snow Leopard as this wonderful OS? It did have many many bugs and issues just like other versions of macOS. 

    https://9to5mac.com/2018/01/31/snow-leopard-became-reliability-legend/

    My tongue was firmly in my cheek!
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