Google to shutter AdWhirl, mobile app developers angered

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Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) will shut down its AdWhirl mobile advertising mediation platform at the end of September, according to a notice on the AdWhirl homepage. Google also confirmed the move in a letter sent to developer partners.

The AdWhirl platform enables mobile applications to switch between competing ad networks on the fly, simplifying inventory management and fulfillment. Google acquired AdWhirl as part of its 2009 agreement to purchase mobile ad network AdMob for $750 million and continued to support the platform while also building out its own similar AdMob Mediation service.

"As we continue to improve AdMob Mediation, we've decided to retire AdWhirl, and will be discontinuing the service on 30 September 2013," Google writes to developers. "The open source code for AdWhirl will still be available if anyone wants to run their own AdWhirl service." Google goes on to urge AdWhirl developers to begin migrating their apps to AdMob Mediation, which it calls "no cost and more robust, with features like network-level reporting, country-level allocation and support for more ad formats… We encourage you to start using AdMob Mediation prior to 30 September. You'll need an AdMob account to begin using AdMob Mediation."

In a Google Groups post, Google Developer Programs Engineer Eric Leichtenschlag added "Mediation will stop working for apps using the [AdWhirl] service. This means we will return a 404 to the SDK and there will be a blank space where the ad used to be. Users will not be able to login to their accounts after that date because we will be retiring www.adwhirl.com too. We recommend that users downloads any reports they want to keep prior to that date."

Mad Rabbit developer Vinh Nguyen, who forwarded the Google letter to TechCrunch, expressed frustration with the decision to sunset AdWhirl. "We developers understand that [AdWhirl] might be discontinued in the future, but terminating this in three months is just too fast for us to migrate," Nguyen said. "A lot of developers depended on most of their revenue through this product."

Another Google Groups developer commenter argued "How about a little more time to migrate[?] Some of us have used AdWhirl for 4 years and have tons of apps to update for this change. When you killed off Google Ads and forced us to use AdMob at least you gave us till the end of the year."

The AdWhirl announcement follows roughly a month after unveiled a rebuilt AdMob integrating technologies from other Google ad services including AdSense and AdWords, also introducing new features including Conversion Optimizer, which touts increased conversions and decreased cost per acquisition. IDC reports that Google's mobile ad efforts generated 2012 gross revenues of $243 million, trailed by Millennial Media (NYSE:MM) at $151 million, Apple (NASDAQ:APL) at $125 million and Jumptap at $90 million.

For more:
- read this TechCrunch article

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