App-discovery service AppGratis pulled from Apple Store
AppGratis is an app that gives users a way to discover exciting new apps and get free apps every day. According to its developers, the app has over 10 million users worldwide. Sadly, AppGratis was pulled from the App Store for -- according to AllThingsD -- violating not only Apple's iOS developer guidelines Clause 2.25, but another guideline as well.
Back in October, Apple added Clause 2.25 to the iOS developer guidelines stating that "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." In other words, the guidelines now prohibit exactly what AppGratis does.
Developer Mahmoud Hafez, who runs the AppAdvice.com website and produces the similar Apps Gone Free app, told TUAW that he didn't think it was just Clause 2.25 that was the cause of AppGratis being pulled. Hafez explains that "Apple is not against these services and they do not inherently violate the developer agreement."
Hafez provided some reasons why he thinks the removal was for reasons other than Clause 2.25:
1) App Gratis launched in the US after this clause existed. In fact, the iPad app debuted just last week. All these apps were approved, meaning Apple was okay with what they were doing even as of just a few days ago. The latest update that was submitted was their iPad app debut last week and it was approved.
2) Apple actually just added a new framework for developers to let users buy other people's apps from the App Store within the developers own app in iOS 6. Meaning they have a set way for others to promote apps other than their own.
3) There are many other apps that give users recommendations on other apps. In fact, Onavo recently discussed the entire industry of free app-finding apps and revealed several important players. Aside from App Gratis, all the other apps still remain in the App Store: http://www.insidemobileapps.com/2013/03/14/onavo-looks-at-the-market-share-for-app-discovery-apps/
AllThingsD reports that it was also Clause 5.6 that tripped up the app. That clause states that "Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions or direct marketing of any kind." Apple is apparently looking at other apps like this to see if they violate the developer guidelines as well.
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