Microsoft’s PubCenter continues to disappoint Windows Phone developers


12, 2014


Developers are unhappy, and that is not good for Windows Phone.

It appears Microsoft’s in-app ad network, PubCenter, is performing very poorly, and worse and worse over time, with poor fill rates (with as low as 2% of potential ads actually provisioned), and earnings dropping from dollars to single digit cents.

A developer writes:

Since my last thread on this was locked with the standard "raise a support ticket" response, we’ll try again:

Ten percent fill rate across all apps yesterday – raised only because one of my lower-yielding apps got lucky and managed to get a disproportionately high fill rate compared to all the others.

Two percent so far today.

Mr. Gale, if you are reading this and think (and I quote) "fill rates appear to remain pretty consistent between markets" is an answer, then you’re obviously missing the point, so I’ll spell it out:


What the hell is happening that is causing almost nobody in the entire world (according to the argument that fill rates are consistent between markets) is using pubcenter to advertise? Has anyone in the pubcenter team actually thought "hey, this isn’t working, we need to do something about this!"? If so, what strategy is being put in place? Are Microsoft in the slightest bit serious about breaking into advertising? If the answer to this question is "yes", then people need to be sacked, right now, for their utter continued incompetence.

Of course, if the answer is "no" then please tell us, the developers, so we know to stop wasting our efforts.

Can the Pubcenter team not see that all this is doing is driving away the developers – the very life-blood of the Windows Phone ecosystem?

Continually saying "we’ve made changes, things will get better" is just laughable – especially since most the changes have actually made things worse, with no sign of recovery.

For one, my team will no longer be making games that are solely ad supported – how our test go with other platforms and payment methods will be the determining factor in our long-term commitment to the Windows Phone platform.

At the end of the day – we have software licences to pay for.

It’s time Pubcenter started making an effort.

We have posted about the issue before, last year in September, and I think the central issue is that, unlike Google, Microsoft is not an advertising company, and that people wanting to advertise a product do not go to them generally, meaning there is always low inventory available.

Many more complaints can be seen in this thread here, stretching over the last few weeks, but unlike last year this year there is a solution available.

Google’s AdMob now has a Windows Phone 8 SDK. It is unfortunate that developers have to turn to Microsoft’s main competitor for revenue, but it seems the alternative is developers actually moving their efforts to a completely different platform, which is a lot worse.

What are the views of our Developer readers? Let us know below.

Thanks Joao for the tip.

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