Earlier this week, there was a bit of commotion over a new rule in Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines. PocketGamer.biz was the first to break the story, finding that clause 2.25 stated, “apps that display apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to the App Store will be rejected.”

Most believe the clause is aimed at promotional ad services such as FreeAppADay and AppGratis, yet in a highly competitive market, many developers rely on these legitimate services to drive downloads and give apps a boast in the charts. Due to the vagueness of the rule, there’s also some worry that it will extend to indie cross-promotion agreements.

Is this a step towards improving the quality of apps in the App Store? Or, is it an unnecessary move that will prove to alienate developers?

  1. Nothing yet? Hmm ok. I’ll start. This is a step in the right direction for Apple.

    Visibility should be determined by quality and popularity, not by who is most willing to exchange money for it.

  2. One problem with visibility being determined by quality and popularity is it makes it really tough to break in with a new app. For example, if quality is equal, then my new app, which has a popularity of ZERO at first, can never make it into the spot where visibility can help increase sales.

    I think this phrase, “…in a manner similar to the App Store…” provides some sort of loophole for indie developers to cross-promote, but we’ll have to see what happens when Apple rejects or passes apps that promote other apps.

    Gut feeling is that I don’t like the change, but until we see what it means in the real world, I’m unsure about how negatively it will affect me (and others).

    Jay

    • Here’s the thing, and I’m speculating here, but this combined with the new App Store layout indicate that Apple is not interested in providing an environment for marketing. That’s why the new layout makes it difficult to browse through lists of apps just looking for one to grab your eye. That’s why no more functional “New” section. They want the marketing to happen OUTSIDE of their sphere.

      If your game has zero popularity, it is supposed to fail. You have to market it yourself and make people LOOK FORWARD to its release. It doesn’t matter if that’s by word of mouth, or banner ads on other websites, or whatever. Apple has just decided they don’t want it happening within the App Store.

      The issue reminds me of the pseudo-science of SEO. Google’s search engine has, essentially, created a real estate market with cyberspace instead of physical land. With that market comes an ocean of content, so-called SEO “experts” trying to make a dime out of gaming the system, and Google consistently shifting the rules to put said experts out of business and keep content quality king. Apple sees what’s happened in that economy, is seeing the beginnings of it in the App Store economy, and is taking prophylactic measures. That’s my theory, for all it’s worth.

  3. It’s tough to get a new app up at the top, unless you already have an audience or a big budget, how can the little people expect to compete?

    From the other side of the fence, I hate Apple’s app software – it’s not terribly easy for me to browse and find interesting and new apps, for that I turn to third parties like appzapp etc.

    I say if they are going to take these 3rd party app finder apps away, then they had better replace it with something decent that allows users to get at more of the apps instead of the top 100 – it drives me crazy that it always seems to throw you back to page 1…

    Bit like the loss of google maps – not fair to us end users!

  4. You just said if an app has zero popularity it should fail. then why create any new apps. All new apps have zero popularity!!

    Quality and popularity should have something to do with it but not everything..

    Also basically what you have stated above is that someone needs to spend a crap load of time on SEO and marketing of an app to pump up the popularity of the app in order for it to have the RIGHT to be listed in the top of the apple store and sell.

    So even if you get a bunch of marketing and people buy it at first – it shoots to the top – it could be a pile of junk.

    That’s a load of BS, what will happen is the BIG dogs who are making money will pay to have their Apps listed at the top of the store, and boot you out off of the top pages.

    So what is really going on here is that Apple wants the money to have these apps “Promoted at the top instead of you getting the money to cross promote someone Else app”.

    There should be no restrictions on cross promoting of any apps unless it has something to do with “Age Group Restrictions” so if your app is for kids 6-8yrs then it all ads should be in that range ( just an example ).

    Apple has a monopoly on the store right now, but this wont last. Someone will challenge and when they do – all heck will break loose, because you see this is your device not apples, you have the right to do with it what you want. They should not be able to tell you what you can and can not put on it.

    Google android stores are open to other markets, Microsoft allows installing through other means.. Apples grip wont last if they keep squeezing…

    Just my thoughts.

    • You have taken two sentences from my reply to Jay out of context and mis-characterized my stance.

      You assert “All new apps have zero popularity!!” but this is not really true. Technically, a brand new app has zero downloads, but this isn’t the same thing as popularity. If you’ve marketed your app outside of the app store and gotten people excited about it, and inform them via social media when it launches, you have, say, 20 downloads based on that, and then those downloads lead to more downloads if your app meets expectations, etc. Eventually you’ll get a positive review or an article somewhere and your downloads should take off further from there.

      I don’t know about others, but I have never been to the app store and said “I want to buy an app of this genre today, any app.” All the apps that I have bought I read about on some website and/or noticed positive reviews for.

      You said “what you have stated above is that someone needs to spend a crap load of time on SEO and marketing of an app to pump up the popularity of the app in order for it to have the RIGHT to be listed in the top of the apple store and sell” – whereas that’s not at all what I stated above.

      SEO-based approaches are bull, and destined to fail. It is in the best interests of the arena – in this case Apple’s app store – to change things around once and a while and make sure that this is not happening, that apps with high quality and popularity rise to the top and not apps that take advantage of app store metrics or abuse cross-app promotion.

  5. I think this is just a strategic move by Apple to get apps like AppShopper removed from the market. Think about it, there is no way they could stop developers from promoting other developers apps or directly cross promoting their apps with services like LunarAds (http://lunarads.com) for Corona.

    In addition, most ad networks rely on app promotion as a large bulk of their affiliate advertising – even iAds has ads for other apps in them.

    At first I was also taken back by the addition in their Terms and Conditions. But when I stopped and thought about what it would mean for the entire ad economy if they didn’t allow developers to use advertisement space inside other developers apps it just didn’t make sense.

    If Apple does ever abolish all in app advertisements for other developers apps, they have something up their sleeves with regards to using iAds or (enter new name here) service by them for app promotion. Apple is all about exclusivity.

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