Icon For AppGratis from the App Store

At the start of the month Apple made the decision to remove the very popular AppGratis app from its app store and in the last week has decided to stop the app from sending any of its existing 12 million users push notifications. AppGratis was an app that you could download and receive push notifications allowing you to get apps for less than they were available for in the app store.  It was a helpful tool for iPhone app developers because it allowed them to get their apps out there and noticed by an audience.  It was great for consumers because they were getting apps at a discounted price and also a daily recommendation for something fresh.  So why did Apple decide to pull this app from their store and completely stop any interaction with between AppGratis and its customers?  Well a few reasons actually.

Apple has a very strict set of rules and regulations for every app which is uploaded to the app store.  These rules and regulations help to keep the app store clean and interesting; it stops people from uploading any apps which are spammy and also keeps things fresh and interesting.  According to the official statement from AppGratis, they have been pulled from the app store for breach two of these policies of the App Store guidelines

“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.”

“Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.”

It may appear then that AppGratis was breaking the app store guidelines from the start and their app should never have been allowed onto iTunes for download, however the first of these terms was only applied 6 months ago.  This shows how with a single line in their terms and conditions, how Apple have completely removed a company’s only product from their marketplace and effectively taken away their only source of revenue.  Apple are well within their rights to do this of course, it’s their app store and they are allowed to publish whatever they want on it.  Considering AppGratis had 12 million users however it may have been a good indication that Apples customers were happy with something that Apple themselves weren’t

Funnily enough, one of Apple’s policies is that there should be no sexual content on the App store, one of its most prominent policies which it has upheld from the start.  This is one of the reasons why Playboy’s recently launched app could only have lifestyle content in it and why so many parents feel comfortable giving iOS devices to their children. However if you go into the App store and do a simple search for ‘Sex’, over 5,000 results are available.  Surely any of these 5,000 apps are in breach of Apple’s policy number one and what AppGratis was doing by helping developers and consumers alike, isn’t really such a big problem..

Apple always has been a closed platform for developers compared to Android, the standards of app must be much higher to be accepted into the app store over the Google Play store.  This generally has led to a much higher quality of app for Apple users.  The problem is these rules keep on getting tighter and tighter, which is leading to more frustration amongst developers.  Apple should be careful about how they go forward with the closed platform of the app store, and also keep an eye on their apparent double standards.  They need to keep these regulations quite strict to keep quality high, but need to start listening to customers and iPhone App developers to ensure that developers and consumers alike can stay reasonably happy.