It’s a well- known fact that many free Android applications are bundled with some sort of advertisement platform which helps their developers make a profit. However, experts warn that certain platforms are not only annoying, but also somewhat aggressive.
GFI experts, there is a new “player” in town. It’s called sellAring (pronounced “sell a ring”) and it not only pushes ads in an aggressive manner, but also violates some clearly established regulations.
SellAring was founded back in 2009, being promoted as a revolutionary mobile advertising network that offered benefits not only to developers, but also to their customers. SellAring is based on audio ads that are played not when the app is executed, but before and after the user makes a phone call.
In theory, this should be advantageous for both users and the developers who embed the sellAring SDK into their applications.
The problem is that apps bundled with sellAring violate Google Play’s policy for developers, which clearly states that ads cannot be displayed outside the application.
Furthermore, the advertisements played back to the user should stop when the person who's being called answers, but that doesn’t always happen. In some cases, the ad is played during the call, making conversation nearly impossible.
To achieve this task, sellAring uses permissions such as “Directly call phone” and “Intercept outgoing calls.”
An annoying thing about the post-call sellAring ads is that they remain on screen for over a minute, making the task of making quick phone calls more difficult.
Although sellAring claims that it’s not collecting any user information, in reality, researchers have found that IMEI and MEID are collected.
Last, but not least, Android applications bundled with sellAring eat up a lot of the device’s resources.
So what should regular users do about it?
First of all, they must make sure that a reliable security product is running on their phones. Most applications, such as GFI VIPRE Mobile Security, have no trouble identifying and blocking intrusive ads.
Furthermore, they should be careful when granting permissions to an application during the installation.
On the other hand, developers are warned that aggressive ad platforms will certainly not increase their income. On the contrary, they can easily stain the reputation of an app and its creator.