We’ve heard from numerous sources that mobile ad network AdMob may be in the process of acquiring AdWhirl, the startup that lets iPhone developers tap into multiple ad networks. One source has even said that AdWhirl is already working out of AdMob’s offices, though we haven’t confirmed this. Update: this is confirmed
Asked on the phone whether AdWhirl has been acquired by AdMob, AdWhirl CEO Sam Yam responded, “How did you know that,” before clamming up with a “no comment.”
It’s an interesting partnership, and one that raises a few questions. AdWhirl allows developers to switch between different ad networks on the fly without having to submit a new application coded with another ad network to Apple. The service has support for five different ad networks, including AdMob, Quattro Wireless, Videoegg, Jumptap, Mobclix and Millenial Media. Mobclix has a competing iPhone exchange that AdMob is not a part of. But if AdMob and AdWhirl have a relationship, this might make the waters a bit murky for the other networks. It would be suspect to have an open platform that is owned by one of the ad networks.
The acquisition does come as a surprise, however. In June, AdMob announced its decision to cut off ad network aggregators like AdWhirl and Tapjoy, claiming it had been hearing of complaints of technical glitches related to ads served by such “ad net mediators.” The company later announced a delay in this decision in August.
UPDATE: AdMob acquired the assets of AdWhirl, according a press release issues this afternoon.