AppGratis’ ousting from the App Store this week made pretty big news among the tech sites, and for good reason. The popular app discovery program was kicked out for doing the exact thing it was designed to do. However, it does look as though any app that does the same will be given the same treatment.
The crackdown is reportedly on apps which break clauses 2.25 and 5.6 in the developers’ agreement. These specify that developers can only promote their own software and not apps from other studios and designers. Why? Because it could be too easy to manipulate App Store ratings and charts by paying a popular app developer to promote your software.
According to AllThingsD reporter, John Paczkowski:
Sources familiar with Apple’s thinking tell AllThingsD that AppGratis’s ouster was a first step in a broader enforcement action generally targeted at app-discovery apps that run afoul of clauses 2.25 and 5.6.
I’m told that Apple feels that these apps threaten the legitimacy of the App Store charts by providing a way for developers to spend their way to a high ranking. Apple did something similar in 2011, when it rejected
a number of applications running incentivized app installs within their apps.
Despite the app developer’s being quite bullish on the fact that this battle is not over, evidence would point to the contrary. Unless Apple changes its App Store policies, there’s very little room for an app which promotes other developers’ works. This isn’t quite over yet, but we’ll report with any further developments as Apple tackles rule breakers on the App Store.