In a significant change to the App Store, Apple has begun to crack down and reject apps that use some pretty familiar tactics to help garner a larger audience.
According to TechCrunch, and confirmed by MacRumors, Apple is rejecting apps that reward users for watching video advertisements and sharing on social networks. Also being rejected are apps that offer discovery tools for users to find other apps.
One developer recently posted to StackOverflow an exchange with Apple. Their app update was rejected, even though the developer said the underlying code had remained the same and the new version was simply a “reskin.”
Apple offered these sections from the Developer Guidelines:
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.
After pressing Apple further, the App Store team said the rejection was because the app promoted other apps that weren’t the developers own and because the app offered free in-game credits for watching video of other apps by different developers.
Interestingly, TechCrunch says there are hints Apple could apply these new rules retroactively and pull the offending apps. That would possibly affect a huge number of titles, including popular freemium apps like Candy Crush Saga.
As you probably know, players of that game can ask their friends on Facebook to give them more lives.
Last week, at the WWDC keynote address, Apple announced a number of changes to the App Store for iOS 8, which will be released to the public sometime this fall.
Along with adding an Explore tab to the interface, Apple will be allowing app video previews. Developers can also offer App Bundles, which allow buyers to pay one price for a group of apps.
TestFlight, which Apple acquired earlier in the year, will be integrated into iOS 8 to allow developers to more easily beta test their apps.
And in late May, Apple changed the way the App Store Top Charts are viewed on iOS devices. On both the iPhone and iPad, only the top 150 apps are displayed.