OpenUDID, a new, open-source identification scheme created by marketing company Appsfire, says it has rounded up support from 17 mobile advertising companies (including itself) as developers look for alternatives to the UDID. Mobile app developers are scrambling for solutions as Apple phases out an older unique ID system called UDIDs that was criticized for compromising consumer privacy.
A straightforward ID system is key for developers who want to understand who their users are and how to target them with advertising, so developers are looking for alternatives that Apple will tolerate. There are several contenders and many different methods, but it’s still not clear which one the industry will settle on.
I’ve surveyed a bunch of methods here. There are many approaches from device fingerprinting to HTML5 cookies to using the MAC Address. We also had a guest post over the weekend from Fiksu, a Boston-based company that helps developers acquire users, which showed the methods that are getting the most traction. Fiksu surveyed a bunch of different ad companies and found that OpenUDID has the second most support behind device fingerprinting methods.
“It is not clear yet if this is going to be a lasting solution, or if Apple will eventually address tracking in a consistent way but we believe OpenUDID is a viable, cross-platform alternative that will serve many networks,” said Appsfire co-founder and former TechCrunch France editor Ouriel Ohayon.
OpenUDID was unveiled last September and it uses the copy-and-pasteboard method. That means it stores an ID in a segment of the copy and paste bin on an iOS device. It’s a strategy that’s roughly analogous to the way you might copy something from one application like Microsoft Word and paste it in PowerPoint.