Appsfire Exits The App Discovery Business To Focus On Mobile Advertising, Native Ads

It’s tough to compete with the Apple App Store. Appsfire, which has been in the app discovery business since its founding in 2009, is pulling all its consumer-facing app discovery apps in a week in order to focus on its mobile ad technologies instead.

Says CEO Ouriel Ohayon, it’s “something we should have done a while ago.”

But the company’s database of App Store data, called “App Genome,” is not going to waste. It will power Appsfire’s ad engine instead. This means Appsfire will not serve ads for those apps already installed on a user’s device. “So what we did with the app was totally useful to what we’ll do now,” Ohayon tells us. “It’s more than useful. It is what we believe will make us unique.”

Appsfire detailed the changes on a company blog post released this morning, where the company noted that its consumer-facing apps (iOS and Android) have reached 12 million unique users and served over 2 billion recommendations to date. Even today, the service is growing with an added 8,000 to 10,000 new users per day.┬áReading between the lines, that growth may not have translated into the profits needed to keep the app discovery business afloat. It may have been worth doing, but it’s not worth continuing, it seems.

Early last year, Appsfire’s larger focus, and today its core business, was introduced. The company rolled out app engagement tools that allow app publishers to engage users, market and monetize their apps. The Appsfire SDK is today used by over 1,000 developers, reaching 150 million unique devices. Last month, the company rolled out the second version of that SDK, which now includes a new ad unit, which Ohayon explained at the time as being like an iAd experience without the banner. In fact, the goal with this full-screen unit is to kill off terrible banner ads altogether.

Now Appsfire is working on its foray into native advertising. Its next ad unit, code-named Ura Maki (or Inside Out), will debut next week, the company says. It’s being tested in a few apps at present.

Though the company is not offering a public preview, Ohayon showed us one example of the format in action. [Update: Ohayon asked us to remove our description of the ad format.]

It was a really different and unique experience, and one that felt like it belonged on iOS 7.

Ohayon says the ad is fully native and fully integrated in the app experience without changing it. It keeps the integrity of the app while providing an immersive experience, he explains.

As for the Appsfire consumer-facing app, it will continue to be maintained for existing users. But for new users, the app will no longer be available to download.