Exclusive: Tapatalk inserts ads into its paid forum app, blames popular forums

Those of you who like to browse our forums on your mobile device may have found a disturbing new development: ads appearing as threads in the paid Tapatalk app. When presented with a refund request, Tapatalk allegedly placed the blame on some of the popular forums its app provides access to. However, an administrator from XDA flatly denies responsibility for the ads.

In the screenshots below, you’ll see this disturbing development laid out – in the first shot, you will see the Verizon Galaxy Nexus Development section here at RootzWiki, as viewed through the paid Tapatalk app on my Droid DNA. In the second shot, you will see the advertisement itself, with a grey “what’s this?” box at the bottom, and in the third shot you’ll see the message that results, stating that these ads represent a way for forum owners to receive additional revenues from their sites.

Attached Image: VZW Galaxy Nexus Development forum view.png
Attached Image: Screenshot_2013-02-15-12-19-38.png
Attached Image: Screenshot_2013-02-15-12-19-45.png

As you might expect, this has caused quite an uproar in the community, including this thread on XDA. In this rather enlightening thread, you can find this post by an XDA administrator named js1999, in which XDA denies having anything to do with the ads in the Tapatalk app. When another XDA member sent a refund request to Tapatalk, he allegedly got the message depicted in the screenshot below, in which Tapatalk claims the ad was placed there at the request of the forum owners.

Attached Image: uploadfromtaptalk1360907302172.jpg

For RootzWiki’s part, forum administrator and founder Steve Smith (aka b16) has assured me that he has not authorized these ads to be enabled and is currently investigating the matter.

I should note from personal experience that I haven’t seen these ads in every forum that I use Tapatalk to view, and even in the forums for which I did see the ads, they were present in only a couple of sections. Furthermore, the paid RootzWiki and XDA apps are apparently unaffected, which means this issue only affects the universal forum app directly from Tapatalk. Update: reports are coming in via G+ that these ads have found their way into the paid XDA and RootzWiki apps. I have seen no indication of these ads in the Tapatalk HD beta app for tablets, but if you see them, please let me know in the comments section.

I have sent an email to Tapatalk Support requesting comment, and I will update this article as more information comes in.

UPDATE: it appears that there is an opt-out feature for forum owners to prevent ads from showing up in their forums, but Tapatalk is set to opt-in by default. XDA administrator js1999 recently posted that the issue has been resolved on XDA’s end. This still is a rather sneaky ploy by Tapatalk, especially due to the ads being shown by default and Tapatalk’s failure to communicate this to forum administrators BEFORE implementing this feature. Furthermore, js1999 still maintains that XDA has received no compensation for these supplemental ads (which is not surprising to me, since these ads only recently began appearing – the advertiser would still have to receive the clicks and pay Tapatalk, who would then in turn pay the forum owners).

This, of course, doesn’t really benefit the end users who still have to see ads in their paid apps if the administrators at their favorite forums fail to specify to Tapatalk that they wish to disable the ads.

UPDATE 2: Thanks to our admin Steve Smith, the ads have now been removed from our forum as well. Forum owners who wish to opt out of Tapatalk ads should log in to the Tapatalk website and disable the ads from there.]]>

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