Banner Ads on Android Apps: Are They Exempt from False Advertising Laws?

February 1, 2012
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Here’s a random thought from us…

So now it seems like scammers are targeting Android games to fool users into clicking on their ads. If you’ve been using an app or playing a game and you encounter a split screen containing message such as “Video codec missing- click here to install” or “You are this site’s 100,000,000th visitor! Click to claim your prize,” or even “Virus detected! Click here to remove it!”—don’t fall victim to them!

Let’s face it: free ad-supported games are a daily threat to Android smartphone users. This is something entirely expected from free apps. Take for example the highly popular and successful Angry Birds game—which has a lot of ads. Last year, Android Market announced they will be selling a paid version of the game, many rejoiced at the thought of having to play their favorite game without any ads. But then Amazon declared this option will only be available for North America.

Now that ads are getting smarter, we bet there are a lot of people who are falling victim to the lines mentioned above. Even though clicking on these ads are a bit scary, we felt the need to investigate. We clicked on the Virus alert and got redirected to the Marketplace, where a legitimate Android anti-virus program was waiting to be downloaded. This type of advertising is not only limited to Android, it also occurs in iOS devices.

That made us wonder—if this were an honest app, why did its developer feel the need to attract consumers with false and dishonest banners? Aren’t we protected by our rights against false advertising? If so, where are the lawmakers to defend them?

What do you think?

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