Lately more developers have been releasing a free but ad-powered versions of their applications, as well as a paid version to get rid of the ads. Some applications, like Astro File Manager have only been available as a free (and ad-free) application. That changed with an update today. So, this begs the question: If your favorite application added in-app ads, would it be enough to make you leave? Often times there are other alternatives to the application, so would this be enough to make you venture off and try one of them? Personally, I can deal with the ads as long as the application does what I want, but we would love to hear what you think about it all!


Reader comments

Poll: If your favorite app adds ads, would you leave it?


Wheres the poll option for AdFreeAndroid. Why find a new app when you could just block the adds.

Because you are breaking the unspoken contract you have with the developer of the app.

The developer of the app spent time writing the app and is willing to let you use it for free if you have ads so they can make a little money.

If you break that contract and block the ads, then you are using the app in a way the developer did not give you permission to use it.

If everyone did that, app developers would decide their users are asshats who spit in their faces instead of respecting their work, stop updating their apps, and never develop another one.

Don't be an asshat.

I have to disagree with this statement...there are no EULA when installing any free or ad-based software.

I also think ad-free is the way to go.

Then don't install any ads unless you pay for the ad free version.

most Devs won't continue to develop and update quality products if it's all pro-bono.

OK, I'll remember to add a EULA to any of my apps.

Do you honestly think it is more ethically OK to block the ads than to pirate the ad free version?

Those are obviously the same right?

Just because there is no written and signed document doesn't mean you can throw common decency out the window. If a developer takes the time to code, test, and publish an app for free - the least you could do is click on an ad every once and a while. Maybe do your part to make sure it stays that way...

Right now, the latest statistics show that the Android Market has a total of 43% paid and 57% free apps. Do you really want to move towards the high prices of paid apps and limited selection of free apps on the iTunes App Store? I doubt it - and sincerely hope not.

Think about the guy/gal sitting on his/her computer writing code for hours on end to make sure you have that app to enjoy.

- AdamZ

As someone who has paid per click for ads, I object to people clicking on ads merely to put money in the pocket of a developer. Doing so is just as irresponsible as blocking ads or pirating an app.

And when the person that writes that app adds ads to help fund it what will you do then?

Good grief people. Stop hating ads just because its cool to hate ads. Its not like they are in your way. And how will you ever find out about new things if they are never advertised.

I was going to suggest the same thing for Phils survey.

Would you move to paid to get rid of the apps. Obviously it depends on the value of the app to you. Something I use daily I would probably pay up. If I use it rarely I would either find a different one or stick with ad support.

Ads in apps are not like Ads in web pages. I can click Open in New Tab for a web page ad. But I'm not jumping out of my app to open some ad. Not happening.

I'll rate this down as how are they supposed to do that when Google marketplace only supports paid apps from 9 locations worldwide????

Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, United States

I was/am a WM 6.x developer I looked at Android for a while and like it but won't bother wasting my time developing for it as Google Checkout doesn't support selling apps from Australia. MS does and I have my WP7 developer phone on the way, shame as I said I really like Android but Google half does things.

P.S. They did promise Google Checkout Merchant support for Australia in a "couple of months", but that was 3 years ago and still no update...

I do agree though I would prefer paying for apps than having advert supported apps, but I understand many many developers are in a no win situation thanks to Google and their merchant location restrictions.

Well that would certainly be nice if it was simply an option you just had to choose, but I'm guessing it takes a little more work for the dev? IMO, if Ad's bug you so much, then just don't get it. These hard working devs aren't required to make anything for us. Lets just be happy when they do, and not demand an app made to your specifications. I happen to really appreciate the work these guys do, and am willing to support them by both paying for apps, and clicking on ads that interest me. I don't think they are asking too much. If people don't like it, they can always make their own app, right???

It depends on the circumstances and how the ads are added.

Though truthfully, I kind of wish developers would make it possible to (optionally of course) re-enable the ads in their pay/donate version.

If they aren't obnoxious I really have no problem leaving the ads enabled, and I'd like to continue to support the developer and our platform.

I don't like the idea. I use the news app that came with my Instinct everyday. A while back they released an update that put ads in it. Ever since the app has been sluggish, crashes often and takes me to the websites of the ads despite never clicking on said ads.

That's why I don't follow that practice when releasing my apps. One of the things I do is try to make the ad color compliment the colors in the app (using AdMob). So the ad is part of the user experience.

I will say this: Android users are CHEAP!!!! And that is from an Android fanboi/developer. They don't want to pay for apps then demand a bunch of features be included in their FREE app.

My first app I put on the market only got 25 downloads in two weeks. I made it free (and gave back every penny to every user who downloaded it. I think making someone pay for an app then making it free is not fair to those who paid).

After I made it free, I got 2,000 downloads the next two weeks. After 3 weeks I made back in ad revenue all the money I returned. After 3 months, I now have 22,000 downloads.

I discovered that if you give users ads from the door, they won't complain. If you make it ad-free THEN put in ads, users get really upset.

I think a large part of it is the uncertainty of the Android marketplace. It's still in the maturing phase and very "Wild West" in the quality of the apps. I'm still pretty new to Android, so I'll download several apps that are free, and appear to be high quality (based on ratings/reviews), even if they do the same thing because I don't know how the app will perform and what the alternatives are. It's hard to say which apps are worth paying for, and I'd rather not shell out money when I don't have to or buy an that only looks good on the surface. As long as I can get a "lite" version to whet my appetite, I'm OK, at least until I figure out what I want. I literally have not purchased a single piece of software for my 1 month old phone, because "lite" or "ad-supported" versions are good enough for now. As the platform continues to come into its own, I expect much of this will change and there will be more "must have" apps that are worth the cash.

With the Android Market, you do however get a one-time 24-hour grace period during which you can uninstall&refund. That gave me some confidence in buying apps, knowing that if it was crap I could always get a refund.

I have no issues with ads in my apps as long as they arn't obtrusive (paid or free versions)

As long as the app does what I want, I'm happy if the developer can make some money (and I donate when I can).

We need to attract and retain high quality app developers for android, and insisting that everything be free with no chance for the developers to make money will not do that.

What are 'ads'?

Being rooted and running the app 'AdFree' i'd almost forgotten there are ads delivered in android apps.

i never click them anyway. ads are for suckers.

Ads don't bother me, UNLESS I paid for the app. As far as I'm concerned, if I pay for it then you relinquish your right to advertise to me, especially if it a $5+ app. I'm a bit lenient with $1 apps, but you better provide a LOT if you want me to pay and still advertise. I honestly don't care if the ads are relevant to the app or not, as I actually tend to block them out without realizing anyway for the most part.

There is one point where I think advertising goes overboard, and that's when it takes up a majority of the screen. Older versions of Bonsai Blast were what initially come to mind. During loading screens they used to cover up approximately 45% of the screen over top up game images. Now they squash the game image and insert a ad in the bottom. I have no issue of using the real-estate during load times, what my issue with it was that it overlapped the game map.

Edit: Also saw that some people saying the ad slows down Astro, which I never actually noticed until I read that. This is true (for me at least), and something the dev may want to look at.

I currently use a free Twitter app that runs ads at the bottom of the screen. They do not get in the way when I use the app, and always stay in one spot. Very tolerable!

Wow. Astro has ads now? If I wasn't already using estrongs file manager I would switch because of that. Certain apps should never have ads. Case by case.

So the developer should work for you and others for free? I doubt many people will sign up for that job...


I've gotten very good at ignoring them, so I really don't care. My only issue would be if I paid for the app as ad-free, and then started getting ads. In that case I'd expect a refund of my purchase price (I doubt I'd get it, but I'd want it.)

I don't mind some adverts. It's only fair if you are using a free app to keep the adverts in it and not be a thief. If you don't like the adverts then uninstall our make your own.

I dumped astro for Linda file manager. Its not that I don't like to pay for apps but as long as there is an ad free app that does what I need it to for free then I am most likely not going to pay for an app that does the same thing. If devs want us to pay for their apps then they need to give us something that all of the free apps don't and they need to do it better than the free ones. I buy apps. You get what you pay for. Free doesn't always mean better. But just a message to all the devs out there making new apps do your research and go big or go home. Stop filling my market with crapps that only 14 year old kids download cause its the closest thing to porn they can get.

As a practice I don't mind ads. However, every Android app I have checked which uses the same advertisement API (AdMob?) has a bug where it continues to run while in the background. When I check they register as 2.5 to 3% of CPU consumption while in the background. This can drain your battery quite a bit faster than normal, so be sure to completely close an app with ads and don't multi-task it.

how about you don't add ads to stuff you've already released for free? You've already set an expectation with the freeware then you go and change it to ad supported and everyone is gonna be cool with it?
the reason I use your software is because 1: its free, 2: the lack of ads spamming me every time i look at my screen.
Don't be surprised if people don't like the decision, its like misleading your customers.

I'm personally tired of seeing ads on EVERYTHING, from tv to radio to dvd's to my damn phone now? fail.

I would move to a free version without adds or if its truly great I would just buy it. But I see no reason to buy Astro File Manager when ES File Manager is free, add-free and better in my opinion.

I was planning on installing Astro on my Galaxy S when I got it, but now I won't. Samsung includes a free file manager, so while it may not necessarily be as good as Astro, I would rather use something without ads.

Ads are distracting, they cheapen the app, get in the way of the interface and make it look like the developer is only in it for a quick buck.

I'm not interested. If your app isn't good enough to charge money for, adding ads to it will only make it worse.

Note: I do like having an ad supported version of a great app available so I can try before I buy, but only as a temporary thing, and only for great apps. Something like a file manager is a dime a dozen, so it doesn't work here.

As some app developers have pointed out, android owners are very cheap. It's much more profitable for them to include ads than to try and charge for the app. The sad truth is that most people won't pay for an app even if it IS high quality. They'll just search for a free, even inferior, alternative, or trying kanging the premium app for free via sideloading.

Astro is one of the most updated apps use, and I rarely have issues with it. It is a high quality app. His listing on the market always hinted that it was free for a limited time. And the developer IS in it for money. What do you think? That these people are devoting hours, if not days of their time producing an app just to get a star rating on the marketplace?

A file manager is a file manager. People do projects like this as college assignments or as a learning experience. Then they use what they learned to make something that nobody else can make. Nobody is going to pay you for something that someone else is willing to code for free, or something that Samsung ships with their phones for free.

And no, android apps tend to not be very high quality. I would never pay for an android game for example, because for the same money I can get a much better experience on my iPad. Maybe if it was very cheap, a 3D game for under a dollar maybe, but anything more than that is out of the question. It's not because I'm cheap, but because I have higher expectations. Actually, from what I have seen, the best apps on Android are usually free, either open source or commercial (ie. coded by google or amazon).

"I'm not interested. If your app isn't good enough to charge money for"

You left out if the developer doesn't live in the 9 locations below, the only places Google will allow developers to sell their apps from:

Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom, United States

I would much prefer to pay for an app than use one with ads - if there are many apps that do the same thing, I tend to go with a pay, ad-free version. That said, many of my apps have ads, especially the "fun" ones I rarely use. The every-day type app, I would get annoyed by the ads (I can't wait for Maildroid to go pay, ad-free ;p).

Also, it is just human nature in general, either start your app from the beginning with ads or keep it ad free. If you add them in at a later date, there will be ceaseless bitching.

Android users are douchebags. Devs need money too, they aren't spending their time for free. You guys are like people who charge people to jailbreak iphones. Give everyone else a bad name.

If they're so desperate for cash why are they releasing free apps? Make some payware and make your money. that's how it works

As we don't have access to the paid Market here in Sweden yet, I really don't have much of a choice but to stick with the free apps I can get. I wouldn't have a problem with paying a few bucks for my favourite apps, but I guess I'll just have to wait.

I stopped using ASTRO yesterday because of the ads. I also stopped using gReader yesterday for the same reason. I would gladly pay for these two apps if the option were available but sadly neither app has a premium paid-for version. If an app is useful and well designed I have no problem paying for it, I've bought several apps for my phone.

Since yesterday I've started using OI File Manager (the only other file manager that worked with the 'Upload any File' option in Dropbox apparently) and have a shortcut to the mobile version of Google Reader on my home screen.

Devs should make free ad-supported versions of their apps, and premium versions without ads, then everyone has a choice and they make money either way.

"Devs should make free ad-supported versions of their apps, and premium versions without ads, then everyone has a choice and they make money either way."

I think most developers would agree with you if Google supported more than 9 countries for developers to sell their apps from...

I use a fair number of ad-supported apps, but really, I'd rather just pay for good apps.

I stopped using Astro yesterday because the ads seemed unusually intrusive, I think because they changed very quickly so that there was always motion at the edge of my vision. Drove me crazy, to where I just didn't like using the app any more.

I would've gladly paid a couple bucks for access to an ad-free version, but the change prompted me to look at other options, and I found free, no-ad alternative that meets my needs for now.

I think the great issue with IT is that we think we must have all the services and no pay nothing.

Say, for instance, that someone give me a Car for free with the only downside that I occasionally see an ad on the windshield, with no obligation to buy something it show, with no obligation to even only click on it.
I think not only I'll get the car, but I'll build myself an altar to the newborn God of the AdsSupportedCar service and go all around saing people to embrace the new religion :D

I am searching for a comparable new file manager now. I do not need extra garbage cluttering up my file manager screen. A file manager is used to get things done, not dilly dally around with adds.

My phone is not a social butterfly, I actually use mine for work and being productive. The new add stuff just really irritates me.

If anyone can direct me to a file manager that I can VPN access and login to a windows domain, like Astro without adds Im gone. I would even pay Astro for the option to remove the stupid adds.

Not related to the ads, but I'm using ES File Manager by a lot of time instead of Astro: is pretty much similar but with windows/linux network shares and ftp navigation. Very usefull for me.

If Astro does what you want the way that you want it to and you are using your phone in a productive, work focused way, why not pay the developer the $3 for the ad free version. You will likely save yourself a fair sum of money, as I assume your time has a financial value attached to it and time spent finding, installing and learning an alternative application when you already have a viable option available is a pure cost overhead.

Wow, so much whining over a simple add in an app

It's not that big a deal as long as the app does what it's supposed to do, Astro still does so the ads are not an annoyance some make it out to be

If you add some ads then you should have an paid ad free version. I'd throw some money to get some apps ad free. Not that big of a deal. I like to get paid too when I work on something.

Android devs don't make much money from my experience. Ads don't really make that much money either. And yes, I have a paid version of the app I a whole 18 purchses while the ad-based one is installed on 600+ users' phones...
So leave the ads alone...they're there to get some money back for the developer who is probably making $0.01/hr from how much work he put into it because he thought Android was a good market...

There should be an option: "Not if they offer a paid version." I gladly paid 3 bucks for chompSMS. Just liked it better than handcent.

The only time those ads get clicked is by accident. they are a joke. after i while am able to just block them out with my eyes. Its always for a website or some garbage too. They could at least say like, "drink coke" or "this app brought to you by McDonalds" "Try a Rom Burger"

Very true... There was a whole week where the only ad I would see was "Jesus loves you" - in games, social network apps, IM, anything! Same ad everywhere. I really don't care, am not religious, and the message was just annoying and off-topic for the app/game I was in.

At least it didn't pop out and invite me to play an interactive HTML5 Jesus game.......

Ads killed ASTRO for me today after an update. I do not have data plan, 'cause I use Wi-Fi connection at home and work mostly. Now when I start ASTRO it's trying to load an ad and screen with data plan subscription pops up and even if I close it or go back it pops up again rendering the browser totally useless. Google just needs to create native file browser. WTF google? :)


Its a key that removes the ads.

I wrote the Developer and suggested this. Got a personal reply. Apparently they had planned this but simply had not gotten both pieces into the market at the same time. Either than or they are damn quick.

In any event, I bought it instantly. Astro is worth 2.99 any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Plus I knew they would never make a cent on me clicking on the ads, and I want to encourage them to continue development.

Most notably, I will cite SportsTap. That was a fantastic app that I used daily for my sports info. But they added advertisements. They weren't terrible--even the ones that popped up didn't bother me too much. The worst, though, was when the ads would fade, and the main screen would load, displaying my teams, etc. Then, AFTER the screen had appeared for about a second, the ad "bar" would pop in from the top of the screen, shifting the entire screen down by a few pixels.

So if I tried to click something as the other ad was fading, it would frequently shift the items down so that I would click something higher than what I intended to click.

That was a horrible implementation, and ads should never have been put in the program UNTiL THEY WERE READY. If the ads were always at the top, I would have been fine with that. And they probably are now. But I've left the app for long enough to have no desire to go back.

Shame, cause it really was pretty nice at one point.

I don't mind ads as a way for developers to make it worth their while to develop apps. However, I don't want them to be overly intrusive where it interferes with actually using the app; and for those apps that I use frequently, I would like a way to pay to have them removed. I don't mind paying for apps that I find useful. And if having ads allows for a longer "demo" period (longer than the standard 24 hours in the App Market), then that's great. Just want to be able to remove them via a pay mechanism when I'm done evaluating.

And no ads in purchased software. I paid money to not look at ads.

Just bought the PRO version. So now anyone can use ASTRO for free, but if you don't like ads you can pay $3 to remove them.

If it is a free app, then generally I'll keep it. It's a great way to support devs that keep their work free. If people do ditch apps that add them, that's OK too. I just hate people that complain constantly like they are entitled to the benefits of others hard work, for nothing at all. If you don't like someone else's free work, then go make your own damn app and quit whining. Really tho, the ungreatful, whiny d-bags complaining of not getting enough for free, but can't make the most basic of applications themselves, are just tools.