Android News

The Android Notification bar is not a billboard, so stop advertising there [Opinion]

August 11, 2011 | by Andrew Kameka



My notification window reveals 19 unread Gmail messages, a missed call, prompts to update my apps in the Android Market, and – gasp – an advertisement.

Suddenly, Gun Bros has taken it upon itself to pop-up in my Notifications window and tell me that I should play the game. It’s apparently not enough that the game has already sucked up many hours of my “I could have been working” afternoons. Now it’s pestering me to play the game during my “I’m actually trying to work, so don’t tempt me” afternoons, too?

This is definitely at the bottom of the “world issues” totem, but I cannot stand when an app intrudes on the sanctity of my notification bar. As someone who receives dozens of emails, instant messages, and notifications from apps per day, the last thing I want to see is an advertisement clouding the stream – even if it’s from an app that I love.

It’s tough to come down on Gun Bros because the “ad” is a promo encouraging me to play the game at a certain time and receive double the points for killing aliens. It’s not like this is one of those horrible AirPush ads showing irrelevant promotions; this is something that actually speaks to my interests and rewards me. However, the fact that I’m still so ticked off by this shows how much I hate ads in the notification area.

Gun Bros can turn off alerts in the Settings menu, which is the only reason I haven’t deleted the game. I’m perfectly content buying an app, seeing an advertisement within an app, or purchasing upgrades, but I will not put up with intrusions on my notification area. I have enough to deal with there and I don’t want unsolicited offers getting in the way of that.

Any app that invades my notification bar and doesn’t provide a way to disable such alerts will quickly be shown the exit.