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Apple ViP program to tie Quattro ads to iTunes app downloads

Apple subsidiary Quattro Wireless is promoting a new "Verification of iTunes Purchase" feature as a competitive advantage enabling iPhone app developers to link to iTunes to obtain data on download conversion rates.

Quattro, which is developing Apple's forthcoming iAd program, recently contacted iPhone app developers with an email introducing ViP as "a brand new program launching this month," according to a report by TechCrunch.

The ViP program is aimed at developers promoting their other App Store titles via ads appearing in iPhone apps. The feature provides "true real-time conversion tracking with a proprietary direct link from the ad to App Store."

The feature enables developers to see the results of their ad campaigns immediately, using detailed information proprietary to Apple. Quattro promotes its "exclusive integration with the App Store" as a feature other competing ad networks can't match. The promotional email notes that ViP uses "no SDK or server-side integration—this cannot be duplicated by any of our competitors."

Competing ad networks such as Google's AdMob can estimate conversion rates to help determine the value of ad campaigns to the advertiser, but without Quattro's proprietary links to the iTunes App Store, they can't obtain as detailed or accurate metrics. AdMob also requires developers to integrate the company's advertising APIs within their apps in order to provide conversion tracking.

Apple has already introduced new provisions in the iPhone SDK which prohibit app developers from sending users' location or other private data to third parties, a step observers noted could dramatically remove value from mobile ad networks hoping to target users with location-based or other customized ads.

Paired with Quattro's new ViP program, Apple's deep integration between its iPhone OS development tools, ad network, and mobile software store could raise new eyebrows regarding the company's level of control over its platform and the level of access available to competitors who want to benefit from the business Apple has created.