HasOffers, the fast-growing Seattle startup that helps companies manage affiliate advertising programs, has been removed from Facebook’s mobile measurement program after it ran afoul of the social networking giant’s privacy policies related to data collection. San Francisco-based mobile analytics company Kontagent also was booted.
“After working with a third-party auditor to review the practices of all our mobile measurement partners, we discovered that some weren’t adhering to the terms they agreed to,” Facebook said in a statement sent to AdExchanger. “As a result, we’ve removed a couple of our partners from the program. We take our contracts seriously, and will continue to act swiftly anytime we find out they are being violated.”
We’ve requested a comment from Facebook and HasOffers on the situation, and we’ll update this post as we learn more.
The removal could create havoc for the two companies, with AdExchanger reporting that they will “no longer be allowed to provide Facebook measurement or onboard new advertisers.” The main issues centered around holding onto data too long, and failing to notify users of data collection.
Last September, VentureBeat reported that HasOffers had violated Facebook’s policies, and was forced to change its tactics. In an email to clients at the time, CEO Peter Hamilton acknowledged the “mistake,” and said that its MobileAppTracking platform “inappropriately allowed advertisers to obtain device-level attribution and performance data.”
In a lengthy blog post, Kontagent CEO Andy Yang explained how they ran afoul of the policies, including the issue of holding onto data.
“Storing the encrypted data beyond the required timeframe was an error on our part and could have been easily resolved had we been given the opportunity to remedy the situation,” wrote Yang, adding that they are hopeful that they will get the chance to participate in the Facebook Mobile Measurement Program again.
Founded in 2009 by twin brothers Lee and Lucas Brown, HasOffers has been one of Seattle’s fastest-growing startup companies. It raised $9.4 million in funding from Accel Partners, Founder’s Co-op and RealNetworks founder Rob Glaser last May.
UPDATE: Here’s the full letter that HasOffers’ Hamilton sent out to customers today:
Dear MobileAppTracking Customers,On Tuesday, Facebook suddenly removed HasOffers and Kontagent from the Mobile Measurement Partner (MMP) program. Please know that this was completely unexpected or we would have created a plan to communicate this to you faster.
Thank you all for your outpouring of support, praise, feedback, and ideas over the past couple of days. Our team was fortunate to be a part of the creation, launch, and success of Facebook Mobile App Install Ads, and I am very proud of that.
I want to be clear that we did not violate any privacy regulations, and there was no data leakage or inappropriate data provided to advertisers. This has been confirmed by Facebook. We first disclosed all of our data storage and deletion processes with Facebook during an audit in September. We sought clarification on certain issues and offered solutions to allow our products to work within Facebook’s terms. We believed we were working collaboratively with Facebook to comply with their requests. Regardless of their recent and sudden decision, we remain hopeful and open to working with Facebook in the future.
We understand that an enormous amount of work and investment has gone into developing your Facebook campaigns. Our number one priority is ensuring that those efforts are not lost.
How do I keep measuring Facebook performance?
1. To continue working with Facebook, we strongly recommend including the Facebook SDKs for iOS and Android in your apps by April 15th (if you have not already done so). This is the only way to ensure you can measure your Facebook campaigns moving forward.
2. You do not need to take any action in order to continue attribution for the 375+ other integrated partners on the MAT platform. Our integrations, workflows, and reliability continue to be the best in the industry.
The MAT platform is built to provide a fair, transparent, and equal opportunity for all advertisers and publishers. I hope you agree that we set a new industry standard for mobile app advertising and attribution over the past two years. We now work with over 375 advertising partners and platforms, and they grow in strength and number every day. We continue to work extremely hard to quickly create solutions for our clients. We provide responsive 24/7 customer service, the most transparent postback system, the most reliable API, and the fastest delivery of new features. If you have worked with us for very long, you have already experienced this commitment to our customers. I can’t wait to show you where we go next.
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