Tapjoy Acquires Appstrip, a Cross-Promotion Service for Facebook Games

We’ve just learned that Tapjoy, formerly Offerpal, has bought the social gaming cross-promotion service AppStrip. Charles Hudson first spotted the news, and was quickly followed by a TapJoy blog post.

AppStrip was created by Broken Bulb Studios, a mid-sized Facebook developer. Like Applifier, which the service was started to compete with, AppStrip is a simple bar that sits above or below a social game, containing links out to other games.

Two factors have made both Applifier and AppStrip successful. The first, and most important, is that Facebook’s viral channels have been becoming less effective, leaving advertising or cross-promotion as the only alternatives.

Second, the two promotion bars are mostly quid pro quo — if your game can send a user out, it will automatically get one back from the network for free. Most developers that aren’t large enough to run a cross-promo network from their own apps alone thus install one or the other bar.

Neither company has given us any further information yet, but it’s possible that Broken Bulb decided AppStrip wasn’t growing quickly enough to keep.

While Applifier had well over 50 million users in its network in September, and likely more today, AppStrip’s network appears to be hovering at around 10 million users, by our back-of-the-envelope count [Update: we now hear that number is far too low, more on this tomorrow].

It’s also not clear yet whether TapJoy plans to change AppStrip, but the bar does complement SocialKast, a service that TapJoy launched in July to promote apps across different social networks.