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Apple is changing the rules in the app store

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I’ve been having & hearing of issues from many app developers about a lot of new app rejections over using videos in apps, and also using buttons in games & apps to suggest similar games the user might enjoy. Looks like its a widespread issue right now. Here’s an update from Vungle about it.

I’m reaching out about a recent piece of news from TechCrunch, regarding Apple’s rejecting apps that use rewarded video views, incentivized social sharing, and “More Apps” buttons like the ones from Upsight and Chartboost.

To summarize, Apple seems to be applying a new interpretation of the App Store Review Guidelines that relate to “gaming the app store.” The specific clauses are below:

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

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 which provide significant added value for a specific group of customers

Vungle has been investigating these rejections, and working proactively to develop solutions that will allow you to avoid revenue loss. Your account manager should be in touch shortly with best practices.

Please note that Apple seems to be applying the new interpretations inconsistently, and your app may not be rejected if you submit. Additionally, we have not heard of apps being rejected retroactively, and we do not feel that it is a significant risk at this point, given the manual nature of the app review process.

If you want rewarded videos, incentivized sharing and the “more apps” button back, the best thing you can do is to reach out to your contacts at Apple and request that they make a change.

Although it’s unlikely that Apple will reverse its decision, they should care if enough of their developers protest.

Here are some key points you can use when you contact them:

We saw this article in TechCrunch today. It seems that you guys changed the way you were interpreting some clauses in the App Store Guidelines to ban rewarded placements, incentivized sharing, and maybe all app install ads

[Our users/we] love rewarded placements, and they have been really [lucrative/profitable] for us

If Apple takes away rewarded placements, I can’t [monetize as well/acquire users profitably]

I really want to use this functionality. Please contact me to clarify what we can and cannot do, and consider changing your stance on the bans

We are disappointed that Apple has seemingly chosen to crack down on growth and monetization tools that users, developers, and advertisers all like, and which have been the foundation of so many great mobile businesses. We are going to continue to pursue clarification from Apple, and we will keep you updated with news.

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Elaine Heney is an online entrepreneur, triple #1 best selling author and international keynote speaker. Elaine is an Amazon FBA ecommerce advisor, investor, Hollywood movie producer, online business consultant and CEO of Chocolate Lab Cashflow. Elaine has also published over 300 mobile apps across Amazon, Apple & Google, and enjoyed over 20 million app downloads and over 50 #1 apps worldwide.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Johannes June 10, 2014, 1:52 pm

    Hi Elaine,
    which email address or website is the best to contact Apple with these petitions?

  • Georgie June 11, 2014, 10:17 pm

    Unfortunately I think you’re wasting your time petitioning Apple, they don’t care.

  • Harlan Yee June 13, 2014, 3:45 pm

    Hi Elaine, this new issue is definitely going to be a hurtle for someone like me who has no coding experience. I just finished reskinning the Mustache Bash code and making final tests before uploading but now I’m worried it’s going to get rejected. I know of the workaround for the More Games button by only promoting my own apps there but the app does have a social sharing component to it that could be an issue.

    I’ve only been reskinning apps for 6 months and have been able to do it all on my own to keep costs down so I can afford more source codes. However, if my apps get rejected I’ll need to get a developer to make modifications, making it financially harder to move forward with app development at my early stage in this industry.

    But the only thing I can do is submit the app and adapt with the changes. I’ve had rejections before and I’m sure I will be able to figure this out!

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