Confirmed: Apple Kicks AppGratis Out of the Store for Being Too Pushy
On Sunday, AppGratis, which promotes paid apps by offering one for free everyday, abruptly vanished from the App Store without explanation or comment from Apple. This, just a week after Cupertino had approved the iPad version of the app. At the time of its disappearance, word on the street had it that Apple banished the app for violation of an App Store Review Guideline clause that states:
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.
And that was indeed the case — partially. Apple confirmed to AllThingsD Monday that it removed AppGratis from the App Store for violating clause 2.25. But it said that the app also violated clause 5.6.
5.6 Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.
Apple declined further comment on AppGratis’s ouster, framing the move as a standard response to guideline violations. But sources close to the company say it was more than a little troubled that AppGratis was pushing a business model that appeared to favor developers with the financial means to pay for exposure. “The App Store is intended as a meritocracy,” a source familiar with Apple’s thinking told AllThingsD.
In other words, app-discovery platforms are fine as long as they’re not built on paid recommendations.
In other words, app-discovery platforms built on paid recommendations aren’t going to fly with Apple.
This is a tough turn of events for AppGratis, which recently closed a $13.5 million Series A round of financing. But it’s also foreboding news for other apps with similar business models. Sources say that Apple is looking at them, too, and they could face the same consequences if they’re found to be in violation of 2.25 and 5.6. Recall that this isn’t the first time Apple has eighty-sixed a discovery app for running afoul of its guidelines. Last December it ousted AppShopper for violating 2.25.
AppGratis did not respond to a request for comment.