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History of cordova-plugin-admob-free

· 2 min read

2 years ago, I have a cordova project needed to add Google AdMob for showing ads. I was searching an open source solution, soon landed to the popular cordova-plugin-admobpro.


As my typical practice of choosing a open source project, apart from looking at Github stars and package download count, I would read the source code to evaluate the code quality and check past issues and pull requests for how well a project is maintained.

Like most Cordova Plugins, the code is written to be just work, not for read or extend. However, I was alerted when I was inspecting the source of its dependency, cordova-plugin-extension. I found 2 binary files were used, cordova-generic-ad.jar for Android and libCordovaGenericAd.a for iOS.

Then I searched through the documentation for explaination about the binary files, the author said nothing about them, but I found the pruchase license option, so it is very like some license verification code. After I run it under network monitoring, I discovered that the plugin is sending application information to to retrive Ad Unit ID. Searching the URL in the issue track reveals that a user reported lose revenue and the author explained it was some server bugs.

At this point, I have lost trust to the author, I started searching other solutions. Interestingly, there is no completely free and open source solution, many are doing ad-sharing without telling their users.


I then decided to fork a relative high quality plugin with the ad-sharing code removed, I picked cordova-plugin-admob-simple as it has the most recent commit at that time. Just 2 weeks after I had working on my fork version, cordova-plugin-admob author (the same author of cordova-plugin-admobpro) was claiming his credit.

As a result, cordova-plugin-admob-free becomes a fork of cordova-plugin-admob-simple and cordova-plugin-admob.


AdMob Plus, being the successor of cordova-plugin-admob-free, is continue to be free and open source. Instead of stealing your revenve, I ask funding explictily, but you don't have to pay to enjoy all features.