MASTERCLASSING

Mintegral hits back at iOS ad fraud allegations

Tyrone Stewart


Having recently been accused of spying on users and ad fraud via its iOS SDK, Chinese mobile ad platform Mintegral has offered up a full explanation around its ad serving strategy and click analysis.

The Mobvista-owned platform was hit by allegations from Snyk last month. The security company said that it had uncovered malicious code that spies on user activity and fraudulently reports user clicks on ads.

In response, Mintegral has provided details about how its SDK works.

According to the company, its ad optimisation algorithms consider engagement with ads shown in the app, regardless of the source of the ad, as additional signals. These signals are then used to serve follow-up ads that the user is more likely to engage with – and this is a feature used by many SDKs.

“We have been accused of collecting click data in order to claim credit for app installs over another ad network’s click. We have indeed collected URLs accessed by users, the data points referred to as ‘click data’, but we do not, and have never used this data for click hijacking. We use this for optimising our own ads, and to yield better results for our developers,” said Erick Fang, Mintegral CEO.

“Knowing which ads have more engagement is valuable information when serving ads. It helps developers get more relevant ads to show, which is the very purpose of an ad provider.”

It has also come to light that Apple itself hasn’t found any evidence of Mintegral’s SDK harming users – or breaching the company’s terms of service – and the tech giant has spoken to Snyk regarding this.  

Nonetheless, Mintegral has made the decision to stop the collection of ad engagements and has removed these signals from the process. It is also releasing an open-source SDK, which won’t contain these data points either.

“Despite this challenging period, we appreciate efforts by the companies and media involved, to call for accountability in the mobile ad industry. This conversation has fueled our resolve to make our practices even more transparent, fully open-source our SDK, and put our support behind an initiative to advance the entire industry towards more open, and fair data practices,” concluded Fang.

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