TapJoy to Open Its Own 'Incentivized' App Store

TapjoyMonths after Apple forced its incentivized app download model out of the App Store, mobile marketing company TapJoy is poised to launch a new direct-to-consumer initiative this week that works outside of the iOS App Store.

A Web app at TapJoyGames.com, lets users find and link to download pages of apps in the Apple App Store and to gain in-app virtual currency for installing the apps. Plans for the new approach leaked to the gaming and tech press late last week in advance of the formal launch.

A TapJoy spokesperson confirms to Online Media Daily that the Web app model will launch soon, likely in the next week. The Web app gets around Apple’s new restriction against in-app incentivized downloading by moving the program onto the mobile Web where Apple exerts no control. The company continues its incentivized downloads program in the Android Marketplace.

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According to TapJoy, however, the Web app strategy had been in the works well before Apple changed its policy. TapJoy has been purely a business-to-business play until now, working directly with developers and advertisers. This Web app creates a direct-to-consumer model that presumably will help the company build its own brand. TapJoy continues to offer its network of app partners in-app ad views and videos that a user can experience in exchange for virtual currency in the app or game.

The Web app from TapJoy requires that the iOS user agrees to link one’s device in the Settings menu to TapJoy’s system in order for the company to determine which apps the user already has installed that are part of the TapJoy network. The company claims 10,000 apps are currently compatible with its promotional system. 

The incentivized download model ran afoul of Apple earlier this year when the model tended to skew app rankings. TapJoy and other companies using the format would reward those that downloaded sponsored games they may not have ended up playing with virtual currency that could be used in games they were playing. Thus, advertisers could buy their way up the app popularity lists, generating even more interest in their titles.

While not formally launched, users can get a taste for the way in which the TapJoy system works by navigating to TapJoyGames.com. After entering age verification information and establishing an account the user is asked to install the URL as a Home Page app and then agree to link the device to TapJoy.

The Web app then recommends titles such as Glu games Contract Killer: Zombies and AOL’s Editions. Users also found Flixster, Groupon and Ludia’s Family Feud and Friends apps in a wall of 10 apps in the “popular” section. PocketGamer.biz reports that major mobile providers, such as Zynga, Glu, Pocket Gems and Capcom Mobile are involved in the new model.

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