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Apple will be giving some iPhone and iPad application developers some extra incentive to choose the company’s upcoming iAd network over competitors, according to a story in TechCrunch.

When Apple announced the iAd program last month, it sounded like a big threat to other mobile ad networks, although most were quick to argue that they could hold their own against Apple. The real question was how far Apple would go in using its control over the iPhone and the App Store to beat competitors.

So it’s not a great sign for the competition if Apple is promising iAd participants that they can join a “VIP Program for App Downloads,” as the company seems to be claiming in a sales email that was forwarded to TechCrunch. (The slide is labeled “Quattro Wireless,” which is the mobile ad startup Apple recently acquired.) In this program, developers will get special real-time data about exactly how well their ads are doing — namely, how many ad views are luring people into downloading the app. That’s data other ad networks can’t access as directly.

This follows earlier complaints that new developer rules might prevent non-Apple ad networks from collecting the analytics data they have had access to in the past.

I’ve emailed Apple and a number of mobile ad companies for comment and will update if I hear back.

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