FORTUNE -- Unveiled by Steve Jobs in June 2010 with a promise of new generation of low-cost mobile ads that not only didn't "suck" but would have users coming back for more, the iAd platform was supposed to be Apple's (AAPL) answer to Google's (GOOG) AdMob.
But advertisers didn't exactly fall over themselves to fork over the minimum $1 million Apple required for the privilege of creating what are essentially miniature motion pictures on the screens of iPhones, iPads and iPod touches.
So Apple made some concessions. It raised the developers' share of the ad revenue from 60% to 70%. It lowered the minimum ad buy to $500,000 (Feb. 2011), $300,000 (July 2011) and finally $100,000 (Feb. 2012).
But Apple's sales calls on Madison Avenue are still a "tough slog," according to Kate Kaye's piece in this week's Advertising Age. Reason: The company's refusal, in her words, "to cough up enough of the consumer data that attracts advertisers to them in the first place."
Like Google and Amazon (AMZN), Apple sits on what Kaye describes as "incredible troves of information about what consumers actually buy and like, as well as who they are and where they live."
But Apple is reluctant to share the personal data collected from its 600 million iTunes accounts, making it, according to one ad exec, "the best-looking girl at the party, forced to wear a bag over her head."
There's also diffidence in Apple's ad sales pitches, says GroupM's Cary Tilds, perhaps reflecting the fact that U.S. advertising generates only 0.15% of the company's annual revenue.
"It's not their main focus," she says, "to tell everyone in the world how amazing advertising in iAd is."
Taking another crack at the $1.23 billion market for ads on tablets and mobile phones
According to several sources, Apple has hired Adobe vice president Todd Teresi to head its iAd mobile advertising service, a position that has been vacant since last summer.
iAd was one of those projects Steve Jobs launched with great fanfare but which hasn't quite panned out -- at least not yet.
He pitched it in April 2010 as MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jan 4, 2012 6:31 PM ET
Responds to the hysteria with a 10-part Q&A and the promise of a software update
"Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so."
So begins Apple's (AAPL) response to the controversy that has been mounting since last Wednesday when two British researchers released an open source application that let Apple's customers see -- in the form of multicolor MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Apr 27, 2011 10:16 AM ET
You might if it were an iAd, according to a study sponsored by Apple and Campbell's
The current issue of Advertising Age makes a striking claim.
According to the results of a five-week Nielsen study, people who saw Campbell Soup's iPhone ad ...
Were twice as likely to recall it than those who saw its TV ad
Remembered the brand "Campbell's" five times more often than TV viewers
Remembered the ad's message three times more MORE
Smaller rivals like Jumptap and Millennial Media are also gaining, according to IDC
The pie chart at right is somewhat premature, given that it is IDC's best guess -- via Bloomberg Businessweek -- of what the $500 million U.S. mobile advertising market will look three months from now.
But it's an indication of how the winds have shifted. Apple (AAPL), which had 0% share of the market before it bought Quattro Wireless MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Sep 27, 2010 5:45 AM ET
Two views of Cupertino's aggressive foray into the world of smartphone advertising
It's been four months since Steve Jobs unveiled iAd, Apple's (AAPL) bold bid to create a market for mobile ads that don't, in his words, "suck."
How's it going? That depends which report your read.It's great. Thursday's Los Angeles Times: Apple iAd partners say they're happy with early results. It sucks. Monday's Wall Street Journal: Apple's Ad Service Off to Bumpy MORE Philip Elmer-DeWitt - Aug 16, 2010 6:40 AM ET
A dispute that broke out Monday has already caught the eye of antitrust regulators
That didn't take long.
On Monday, Apple (AAPL) changed the rules that govern its new iAd mobile advertising platform to exclude competitors like Google (GOOG) and Microsoft (MSFT).
On Wednesday, Google took the matter public, blasting Apple for setting "artificial barriers to competition [that] hurt users and developers and, in the long run, stall technological progress."
On Thursday, the Financial MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 10, 2010 7:07 AM ET
The pressure is on Apple's CEO to surprise and amaze the tech world on Monday
"You won't be disappointed," wrote Steve Jobs a few weeks ago in one of his cryptic -- and increasingly frequent -- e-mail pronouncements.
This one was in response to a fan concerned that Apple's (AAPL) Worldwide Developers Conference, which Jobs will kick off with a keynote address, had been upstaged by Google's (GOOG) I/O conference a few MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 5, 2010 5:23 PM ET
All Things D is releasing video clips from Tuesday's interview one at a time. Here they are.
Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs spoke for nearly two hours Tuesday night in an extended interview with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher -- plus a Q&A with the audience. The videos are available at All Things D's site. We've collected all the clips they've made available so far, and will add more as they MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Jun 2, 2010 7:56 AM ET
Three days after the FTC blessed the $750 million deal to buy AdMob, Google has announced the deal is closed.
In a post on the Official Google Blog, Susan Wojcicki, Vice President of Product Management, said that Google was moving fast to integrate Omar Hamoui's Admob team into Google's advertising unit as quickly as possible. They are trying to make up some of the time the FTC's long look into Google's MORESeth Weintraub - May 27, 2010 5:53 PM ET
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