Uber Tests Push Notification Ads

Rebecca Bellan, reporting for TechCrunch:

Uber recently launched its new advertising division and in-app ads. Apparently, those ads aren’t staying within the app.

Instead, ads from other companies are being sent out as push notifications, much to the chagrin of some Uber users. Over the weekend, people turned to Twitter to complain about the notifications, sharing screenshots of ads, including one particularly popular one from Peloton that Uber had sent out. One of the primary complaints: notifications are being sent out when users aren’t engaging with the app.

A few weeks ago on my podcast, Nilay Patel and I speculated about Uber putting ads in the Dynamic Island after you’ve hailed a ride. This isn’t that, but it exemplifies why we singled out Uber as a potential abuser.

I wish I had more confidence that Apple will enforce the clear App Store guidelines that forbid this:

4.5.4 — Push Notifications must not be required for the app to function, and should not be used to send sensitive personal or confidential information. Push Notifications should not be used for promotions or direct marketing purposes unless customers have explicitly opted in to receive them via consent language displayed in your app’s UI, and you provide a method in your app for a user to opt out from receiving such messages. Abuse of these services may result in revocation of your privileges.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022