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Ads in Applications – Twitterific and The Deck

Ads in Twitterific

I’ve never heard of The Deck, but they appear to be serving ads in one of my favorite OS X desktop applications, Twitterific, a great little front-end for Twitter.

Ads in Desktop Apps

Ads in desktop applications: who knew?! Hopefully someone at Adobe is keeping track of this The Deck stuff closer than I am. If they prove to be profitable, best to snatch them up before they get too big headed and graft them into the AIR group and platform.

Back at Adobe MAX 2006, as James noted, there was quite the to-do about “making money for the community.” Flash games making money for Flash game developers, for example. And why not? What better community building could there be than “we help make you money.”

With GUI ads in applications, you can imagine, “build your applications in AIR, just flip the ad switch, and start getting ad revenue in your desktop applications.” Of course, the same could apply to any platform: Silverlight, OS X junk, whatever.

Holy crap, can you imagine how much more motivated developers would be to kick out desktop apps? And imagine spreading that across the work-place. Sounds both thrilling and terrifying.

Ads in the Workplace

Many years ago now, I recall thinking that ads in applications would be silly, esp. work applications. But then I reflected on how many ads there were at my workplace at the time (BMC): that giant Coke machine in the break-room; the wrapper around the printer paper; the junk mail we each got stuffed in our mailboxes; posters people would hang-up; the brand on every device, like all our Polycom phones; and finally the TVs that were always on and tuned to the Weather Channel, CNN, or Fox News.

Like that nant covered Mars in Rudy Rucker’s latest book, Postsingular, that uses a whole planet to make a giant billboard in the sky, you can’t escape advertising.


With this The Deck thing, it’s like the last refuge of ad free living – the desktop – is finally clobbered. To mention them twice in one day, RedMonk client Spiceworks figured out a way to sort of sneak in ads to desktop applications via their behind-the-firewall web applications. Getting ads in GUIs, though, that’s something new-ish. Sure, we had PointCast, browser toolbars and IM ad-blitz pop-ups. But, Twitterific with The Deck feels like much different than what I’ve seen before. It’s more like the web, but on the desktop. Hence, the comment about Adobe keeping their eye on them.

I’m no fan of advertising – I gotta tell you, most ads make me laugh at how absurdly silly they are. But, hey, smoke ’em you got ’em, I guess. It’s only $15 to get a version of Twitterific without the ads. And you know what? I don’t mind paying for software I like, rely on daily, and can get for a reasonable price.

Of course, maybe it won’t work out. Maybe no one will click on these ads in desktop-land. I suspect they’ll work though: when have ads not worked in any medium? I often feel like the only reason people exist is to watch and click on ads. That and buying $1.25 packs of tube socks.

Let’s just hope there’s always an option to buy out of ads. Barring that someone just needs to port Adblock Plus to the desktop.

Disclaimer: my dad works at Polycom, though in the video division. Adobe, BMC, and Spiceworks are clients.

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Categories: The Analyst Life.