As if you needed another reason to hate the very concept of Airpush ads in Android apps, there is now a lawsuit alleging that these ads have been used to bilk consumers out of some real cash. The class-action complaint, filed in U.S. District Court of Colorado takes aim at developer GoLive Mobile and the Airpush ad network. If the claims are accurate, there has been some seriously seedy stuff going on.

example Airpush

Maybe you've never seen an Airpush ad on your device, but plenty of users have. Airpush basically sticks ads in your notification area that often look like real system notifications. It's really lame, but there isn't usually any direct harm – just the annoyance of figuring out which app to nuke. The lawsuit alleges that GoLive took things a step further by making ads that looked like email or calendar alerts. When a user naively tapped on the ad, they ended up on a screen that used official-looking "Android Market" icons and told them there were app updates available. From there, a cleverly disguised website asked for the user's phone number. You probably know what happened next.

Premium rate text message charges from GoLive would begin showing up on the user's bill, sometimes for months before anyone noticed. Attorneys are seeking an undisclosed sum to cover damages caused by the alleged deceptive practices of both GoLive and Airpush. Neither company has yet responded to the lawsuit.

[PC World]

Ryan Whitwam
Ryan is a tech/science writer, skeptic, lover of all things electronic, and Android fan. In his spare time he reads golden-age sci-fi and sleeps, but rarely at the same time. His wife tolerates him as few would.

He's the author of a sci-fi novel called The Crooked City, which is available on Amazon and Google Play.

  • http://twitter.com/Defenestratus Defenestratus

    Time for Google to nuke this shit from orbit.

  • Brfield

    I hope they get them. This shit needs to stop. Ads are one thing, conning people into stuff like this should be fraud.

  • thisphuckinguy


  • DroidBricker

    I hope these &*^#$@! end up broke and sucking &*@# in a gutter to survive.

    • onpoint G


  • http://twitter.com/MyndMayze John

    Castrate these scumbags.

  • Chris

    Why does Google even allow this? I get why apps have ads, but no need to add them to the notification drawer. Google should stop allowing these and send an e-mail to all developers who use these ads to remove them or face a take down of their app

    Hate me if you want, but I like how Apple has their iAds. They are ads, but interactive.

    • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

      "They are ads, but ads"

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Phillip-Martin/100000077199240 Phillip Martin

      So you want them to manage their open platform

  • http://www.twitter.com/Genjinaro Genjinaro

    Wow, I never heard of such madness. Notification Bar Ads? That alone would piss me off.

    • http://profiles.google.com/olavamjelde Olav Alexander Mjelde

      A girl at work had some strange ads in the notification area, also she got shortcuts on one of her homescreens. I believe it's due to one app showing comic strips, as she does not have a lot of apps.

  • ProductFRED

    Google needs to crack down hard on these apps. The platform is more open than iOS, which is great, but there is such a thing as TOO open.

    • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

      The platform is open. The app store is not.

  • http://twitter.com/whatisajimmy ok

    I thought these were banned from the playstore anyway?

    • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

      Yes, they are already banned. This suit has to do with violations that already took place. Even if these types of things are banned, it doesn't mean some won't slip through, just that Google is being much more proactive about hunting them down.

      • jamesallen85

        They aren't banned. The developers need to be more upfront with what they are using but they are far from banned. All the Google policy did was pushed some responsibilities onto the developer's end to be less sneaky about what they used. Also, if anyone isn't aware, GoLiveMobile and Airpush are definitely working together. The CEO of Airpush is on the board of GoLive Mobile

        • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

          Hal Motley already linked to this: http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/07/31/google-updates-play-store-developer-policy-puts-the-smack-down-on-intrusive-advertising-say-goodbye-to-airpush-and-its-cohorts/

          While the wording doesn't come out and clearly state that this stuff is banned, it's politely dancing around using those words. It's known that Google has been ejecting apps that use these marketing tactics, and long ago they banned apps that used premium messaging or phone numbers. So, yes, the tactics described in the article and lawsuit are banned by the Play Store Terms of Service. This isn't about developers being up front, it's a clear case of fraud and it was in violation of the terms of service even before the updates made back in July (as linked to above).

          • jamesallen85

            Sorry, I thought you were referring to push notifications ads as a whole, not Airpush's specific tactics around push ads.

        • Just

          They are they owned by the same guy Asher Delug

  • Simon Belmont

    Weird. Wouldn't it be easier to just grab the phone number using the phone tools permission?

    I guess by having someone ENTER their phone number, it counts as authorization to use it. This is really shady stuff.

  • http://codytoombs.wordpress.com/ Cody Toombs

    I met some of the AirPush sales people at AnDevCon last week. Even these people had the stink of dishonesty on them. They were scanning badges without permission so they could collect email addresses, claiming that they were in competition with other booths to see who could "talk to the most attendees". None of the other booths lied about this. I didn't even realize they were scanning my badge until I heard a beep and one of their people scurried off to find the next person. I got the first spam email from them a day or two ago.

  • Slack

    The same lawyer went after the same 2 companies before and has lost every time....the owner of golive mobile and air push is Asher Delug hes quite the douchebage

  • Hater

    I hope to kill those responsible - slowly...

    Lock me up soon!