Cubics Implements New Anti-Deceptive Ad Standards, Will Others Follow Suit

Don’t expect to see any misleading or deceptive ads on Cubics anymore with their new anti-deceptive ad standards. Over the past few weeks I’ve been covering the “race to the bottom” among Facebook ad networks and developers which has quickly evolved. Just last week Facebook shut down both Social Hour and Social Reach for running ads that were violating Facebook’s terms of service. Little has been mentioned since then but Cubics is trying to lead a new movement: the public denouncement of misleading advertisements.

The company has now implemented a new set of rules for all advertisements run through the Cubics network:

  1. Ads cannot state the users friends have done something when they have not
  2. Ads cannot state the user has recieved a ‘message’ or ‘notification’
  3. Ads cannot suggest that something has happened in their Facebook account or imply Facebook functionality. Ex “Inbox (7)”
  4. Ads cannot state something has happened when it has not. Ex. “You have new Crushs” – Acceptable formats would be “Check to see if you have a new Crush” or “Do You Have a New Crush?”
  5. Ads cannot contain elements that imitate Facebook navigational elements, including, but not limited to, the Facebook Blue button as shown:

While most ad networks are not innocent, it’s past due for companies to start promoting ethical standards of advertisements. What’s most difficult though is that this substantially impacts the bottom line for many of these companies. A number of developers I’ve spoken to saw ad revenue drop by over 75 percent after Social Hour and Social Reach were removed. It’s only expected though. High risk means high rewards and many developers were willing to play in the game.

The real question is whether or not Cubics will suffer or benefit from putting forth standards which prevent deceptive advertisements. At the end of the day there are many developers that have built a business around the ad revenue they’ve built. To those individuals I suggest they stop making financial projections based on the display of deceptive advertisements.

One issue with the current application advertising economy is that most advertisements are cost per acquisition (CPA) advertisements. While many say that a business based on CPA ads is not scalable, nobody has had to worry for the time being because Facebook’s user base continues to grow exponentially. Regardless of how thing play out in the long-run, having companies that start drawing the line is important for the space to evolve.

One thing that isn’t clear from this announcement though is what rules the company has on pages that can be promoted. While click-thrus may be reduced, the company could still be running ads to high conversion landing pages, such as the mobile IQ tests that I’ve covered heavily. Regardless of that, this is a step in the right direction. Do you think such rules are necessary for ad networks to implement? Who’s ultimately responsible for the advertisements being displayed?