Apple Cracking Down on Apps That Incentivize Ad Watching, Social Sharing

It appears that Apple has begun cracking down on some of the methods that developers use to monetize their apps, including those that offer in-app rewards for viewing videos and sharing on social networks. Providing in-game currency, extra lives, or another incentive for watching an advertisement on another App Store app is common in freemium games, but some apps with these features have begun seeing rejections from the App Store staff.

As noted by TechCrunch and a source that spoke to MacRumors, Apple has been rejecting apps that incentivize social sharing and use ads as rewards since last week.

discozoovideoadds
According to one developer, Apple rejected an app that had been previously approved many times after an update that included only a re-skin without changing any core functionality. Apple cited guideline 2.25, which it has used to shut down many app discovery apps like AppGratis, and 3.10, which involves manipulating app rankings.

2.25: 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, unless designed for a specific approved need (e.g. health management, aviation, accessibility, etc.) or to provide significant added value for a targeted group of customers.

3.10: Developers who attempt to manipulate or cheat the user reviews or chart ranking in the App Store with fake or paid reviews, or any other inappropriate methods will be removed from the iOS Developer Program

Screenshots attached to the rejection pointed towards an advertisement within the app for a different game (a violation of 2.25) and a button that rewarded users with in-game coins for watching a video (a violation of 3.10).

The 2.25 rejection is for promoting other apps not your own. The attached screenshot showed an EA game as a "Free Game".

Additionally, your 3.10 rejection was for offering free in-game credits for watching videos of other apps by developers other then yourself.

An Apple representative went on to explain that developers are not able to have a "More Games" or "Other Games" section that points to apps other than their own, and that it is not acceptable for users to watch a video about another app to get in-game credits or benefits. This could have a significant affect on both developers and app monetization companies that use incentivized video like Tapjoy, Flurry, and more.

Other developers have received similar rejections under the same guidelines, with one getting rejected for offering hints after an app was shared on Facebook. Incentives for sharing games on social networks and rewards for watching video ads are two highly popular monetization methods used by countless freemium apps, including major players like Candy Crush.

Apple's crackdown on certain advertising methods being used by app developers may be related to an App Store overhaul that the company plans to introduce alongside iOS 8. iOS 8 will bring several changes to the App Store, including an improved App Store search algorithm, an "Explore" feature, app bundles offered at a discount, and TestFlight beta testing for developers.

Top Rated Comments

DarkCole Avatar
96 months ago
This is great. So many "games" aren't even games anymore. They're just tricks to make quick cash and just feel like spam on top of spam.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DavidLeblond Avatar
96 months ago
So basically every free game EA Games has on the app store?
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iLoveiTunes Avatar
96 months ago
about time... but, I am sure there would be folks who'll dislike the idea
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
/dev/toaster Avatar
96 months ago
I am very happy to see this change. Developers have been very getting abusive with in game credits. I feel sorry for the advertisers who have been wasting money on video in exchange for credits. I doubt the users are really paying attention to the videos, they do it multiple times to get those free coins or whatever.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AngerDanger Avatar
96 months ago
Ugh, in an app store where games costing $0.99 - $4 are seen as "expensive", I'm all for incentivized ad-watching. If you have a problem with IAP, ad-generated bonuses, and prompts to share, avoid the damn games that feature them heavily.

¡Viva el revelador!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
seamer Avatar
96 months ago
Ugh, in an app store where games costing $0.99 - $4 are seen as "expensive", I'm all for incentivized ad-watching. If you have a problem with IAP, ad-generated bonuses, and prompts to share, avoid the damn games that feature them heavily.

¡Viva el revelador!

$4 is a lot if you're expecting users to buy clones, reskins, and other crudware. $4 for unique and/or new twists on an old favorite is something else.

Can you imagine how much buying all the Flappy Bird clones would have cost at that price?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
airtag in hand

Apple Enhancing AirTags Anti-Stalking Measures With Android App and Shorter Sound Intervals

Thursday June 3, 2021 11:10 am PDT by
Apple is enhancing AirTags security to prevent stalking using the Bluetooth devices, Apple told CNET today. Apple is already sending out over-the-air updates to AirTags that will shorten the amount of time before an unknown AirTag alerts you if it is in your possession. At the current time, AirTags play a sound after three days of being away from their owner. After the update, AirTags will...
maxresdefault

Here's How Apple's New iPhone to iPhone Data Migration Feature Works in iOS 12.4

Tuesday July 23, 2019 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple this week released iOS 12.4, the newest version of iOS 12 available for iPhones and iPads. One of the new features in iOS 12.4 is an updated data migration option that uses device to device transfers rather than relying on iCloud. Apple didn't provide much information on the new data migration feature, so we thought we'd check it out in our latest YouTube video. Subscribe to the ...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
macos catalina legacy system extension alert

Apple Begins Warning Users That 'Legacy System Extensions' Won't Work With a Future Version of macOS

Wednesday March 25, 2020 9:53 am PDT by
Apple has shared a new support document that indicates kernel extensions — which it calls "legacy system extensions" — will not be compatible with a future version of macOS because they "aren't as secure or reliable as modern alternatives."System extensions are a category of software that works in the background to extend the functionality of your Mac. Some apps install kernel extensions, which...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
airtag precision finding

AirTag Includes U1 Chip for 'Precision Finding' Feature

Tuesday April 20, 2021 12:11 pm PDT by
Apple's long-awaited AirTag was finally unveiled today, and as expected, the small circle-shaped accessories can be attached to items like wallets, keys, and more to allow them to be tracked in the Find My app. As was rumored ahead of release, each AirTag is equipped with a U1 chip, and on devices that also have U1 chips, there's a Precision Finding feature. U1 Ultra Wideband chips are...
iOS 15 General Feature Yellow

Everything New in iOS 15 Beta 6: SharePlay Disabled, Safari Redesigned and More

Tuesday August 17, 2021 2:12 pm PDT by
Apple released the sixth beta of iOS 15 just a week after the fifth beta, but the new update brings some of the most significant tweaks that we've seen to iOS 15 during the beta testing period. Safari Redesign Apple in iOS 15 beta 6 has added a toggle to move the Safari address bar to the top of the interface, which returns Safari to an iOS 14-like design and mitigates all of the Safari...
m1 macbook air

Kuo: Mini-LED MacBook Air Coming in Mid-2022

Thursday July 22, 2021 7:48 pm PDT by
Apple will release a new version of the MacBook Air around the middle of 2022, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said today in note to investors seen by MacRumors. The upcoming MacBook Air will feature a 13.3-inch mini-LED display, which would make it the second Mac to gain mini-LED technology after the 2021 MacBook Pro, which is rumored to include a mini-LED display and is expected to launch later ...
2016 macbook pro flexgate b

Apple Faces Another Class-Action MacBook Pro ‘Flexgate’ Lawsuit

Thursday August 20, 2020 6:43 am PDT by
Another class-action complaint has been lodged against Apple, which claims that the company was aware of a MacBook Pro design flaw that caused some devices to have backlight display issues (via Apple Insider). The so-called "flexgate" problem was present in some MacBook Pro models manufactured between 2016 and 2017. The problem appears as dark patches along the bottom of the MacBook Pro's...