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It's likely one of your most familiar phone habits: drag your thumb down the screen, watch the gray circle spin, and see your content update. The feature -- called "pull-to-refresh" -- creates a common empty space in mobile email, social media and a host of apps.
Now, a startup wants to stick an ad in it.
Today, Appsfire, a Paris-based mobile ad network, is launching "Brichter-San," a software program that creates a customized in-app ad inside the small space opened during refreshes. With one tap, the ad disappears. The tool is named after the pull-to-refresh technology creator, Loren Brichter. (His company, Tweetie, was acquired by Twitter, which now owns the patent for the feature.)
Appsfire was born in 2009 as an app discovery platform, but swiveled to become a network in December. The new ad feature has been available for demo on its application, Newsfire. Starting today, developers can download the company's software-development kit to exploit the ad feature. Appsfire is trying to capitalize on the boom in-app ads, a business that saw new products from Twitter and Google in the past week.
The pull-to-refresh ads will be sold on a CPC/CPM basis, said Appsfire CEO Ouriel Ohayon. The units will be sold soon in real-time bidding platforms, he added. Appsfire says it works with over 500 customers, including Disney, Amazon and eBay.
In a video introducing the pull-to-refresh feature, Appsfire cajoles us to "kill the banner." Whether their innovation can replace the reviled ad unit awaits an update.