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Apple Expands Crackdown on App Discovery Apps

apples-app-store-icon-oApple has been cracking down on app discovery resources in recent months, removing high profile apps like AppGratis for violating guideline 2.25, which states the following: "Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected."

A report from AllThingsD in early April indicated that AppGratis' rejection from the App Store was just the first phase of a much wider crackdown, which was today confirmed by PocketGamer.biz after Apple began rejecting apps that feature tools for "filtering, bookmarking, searching, or sharing recommendations."
We've been contacted by one developer whose app discovery tool has recently been blocked by Apple because it includes such features, with App Store regulation 2.25 - which restricts apps that could be confused by consumers as app stores in their own right – cited within the reasoning.
The developer, who opted to remain anonymous, said that the rejected app focused primarily on sharing app recommendations to friends.
"I have not seen this rejection notice before and believe that it is a new one. We thought that basing our recommendations on sharing was suitable for Apple, as it had previously stated that if you bake in social or local into your app discovery, you would be fine.

"However, either we are not social enough, or Apple is going back on its position. Either way, it appears the scope of 2.25 continues to grow and I think they aim to be the only provider of recommendations for apps, along with being the distributor."
As noted above, guideline 2.25 has non-specific, generalized wording that does not include specifics on the filtering, bookmarking, searching, and sharing violations, which means the company could use the rule to reject and penalize a number of apps that incorporate similar features.

Top Rated Comments

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21 months ago
How about making a decent App-store app, instead of banning out people who try to make it easier for us.. Search is still terrible in the app-store and you're punishing these developers for it, gg Apple.
Rating: 42 Votes
21 months ago
As well as poor app discovery, does anyone else find the AppStore to be horrendously slow at loading? It is on my 4s anyway.
Rating: 27 Votes
21 months ago
eff Apple sometimes man.

seriously, do they think consumers are THAT dumb?

maybe its time to grab an HTC one
Rating: 18 Votes
21 months ago

Good for you apple. I'm tired of these "apps" that show you other apps. It's their product. You aren't adding anything of value you are just trying to suck the blood from apple without contributing anything. If you want to do this make a web-based app or site and then go to town. Stop filling the AppStore with useles repeats.


How is it sucking blood? You still have to download the apps from the app store. So Apple gets their 30% regardless of how you found the app.

They do add value by making it easier for us (consumers) to actually find apps we are interested in. Compensating for some of the App store's serious stort comings.
Rating: 10 Votes
21 months ago

Good for you apple. I'm tired of these "apps" that show you other apps. It's their product. You aren't adding anything of value you are just trying to suck the blood from apple without contributing anything. If you want to do this make a web-based app or site and then go to town. Stop filling the AppStore with useles repeats.


So don't download one of these "apps."

And actually - given the enormity of the app store and how challenging it can be to find apps (let alone those on sale) - the apps provide great value to developers.
Rating: 10 Votes
21 months ago
This entire story is about ONE new app being rejected, for reasons we don't know.

The rest seems to bloggers "confiriming" each other to make this sound like a proven "big deal."

Meanwhile, there are tons of apps like this that ARE on the store, including AppsFire which recently had an update approved, and AppShopper which was recently accepted as a new app.

People are getting angry because Apple MIGHT have expanded their restrictions... But the evidence so far as thin.

And re the specific apps that are rejected--while others are being accepted--are we sure they are shining knights of goodness, with apps we truly crave? I like AppShopper a lot, but AppGratis sounds pretty shady with their push-notification ads. There has to be a line--not to benefit vocal developers nor even Apple (directly) but to benefit we Apple customers.

If the rules have changed in some terrible way, let's see more evidence and less vague FUD.

As well as poor app discovery, does anyone else find the AppStore to be horrendously slow at loading? It is on my 4s anyway.


Me three! Dog slow, with the important stuff in a too-small central panel. Scrap it for iOS 7!
Rating: 8 Votes
21 months ago
I guess it didn't occur to Apple that people use Discovery Apps because the official app sucks.
Rating: 8 Votes
21 months ago

Guessing Apple has discover some kind of fraud with some of this apps?


They don't want these apps to be able to drive the "top charts" in various categories by essentially doing the app-store version of Search-Engine-Optimization (SEO). They want the top-charts to based off regular marketing of apps and word of mouth rather than having these stores be proxies for the App Store and therefore be able to milk app developers out of money to gain the top spot by buying their way there.

As well as poor app discovery, does anyone else find the AppStore to be horrendously slow at loading? It is on my 4s anyway.


Ever since they updated App Store in iOS 6, they also updated the back-end/server-side of App Store. The server side is so slow now that the iOS app and the Mac iTunes app both lag in pulling screen refreshes (in my opinion). Whatever they did, they need to fix it. It sucks.

why make an app if you can make a relevant website with suggestions or whatever filter shared via the socialites? are people that dependant on push notifications? aren't mail notifications good enough?

wtf to that


I think that Apple specifically does not want push notifications used as an advertising medium. Apple does not charge developers per push notification so it becomes a free advertising medium that avoids iAd and enables competing advertising platforms. Also, novice users will just get to hate their iPhones if they get drowned in notifications that are advertisements. Many users don't know how easy it is to turn off push notifications for an app.
Rating: 7 Votes
21 months ago
So why don't they focus more on a web app solution? Would it be possible to do the same sort of things in HTML5? If they want in the free promotion/exposure of the iTunes ecosystem, unfortunately you have to play by the owners rules. They have an unmoderated solution out there, and its called the Web.

Everyone just wants to get the benefits of publishing in the iTunes ecosystem. Free exposure/publicity/distribution. But then they complain when Apple makes it clear what they don't want. Its clear, Apple doesn't want these kinds of apps in the App Store, and developers keep trying to figure out loopholes or workarounds, rather than just doing what they should do, building a great web app and promoting it the old fashioned way.
Rating: 6 Votes
21 months ago

Glad that Apple finally stepped in on the app discovery apps. In my opinion, these apps add clutter to my iPhone and reveal to me subpar apps that I end up deleting shortly thereafter.


EXACTLY!!!

If i don't like something, after having tried and then deleted it, it is my firm belief that nobody else should be allowed to try it at all....
Rating: 5 Votes

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