The anonymous developer submitted an app to the App Store that used social networks to help users discover new apps for their iPhone, or other iOS device. Recently, however, Apple rejected the app from the App Store, sending a message saying the company doesn’t allow apps that feature “filtering, bookmarking, searching, or sharing recommendations.”
The email cited guideline 2.25, which prevents apps from promoting apps from other developers in a way that mimics the App Store, or that users may confuse for the App Store. The email surprised the developer because they thought they followed Apple’s guidelines with their app, which focused on sharing app recommendations with friends.
As the developer understood Apple’s rules, “if you bake in social or local into your app discovery, you would be fine.”
“However, either we are not social enough, or Apple is going back on its position,” they said. “Either way, it appears the scope of 2.25 continues to grow and I think they aim to be the only provider of recommendations for apps, along with being the distributor.”
The new wave of rejections seems to indicate a shift in how Apple enforces its guidelines, which can leave some developers wondering if their app will get pulled next.
Recent rumors said Apple wants to get rid of third-party app sharing apps because developers and their ad agencies can use the apps to game the App Store rankings. A recently leaked document seems to show that AppGratis promised certain rankings based on how much money a developer paid to promote their app in AppGratis.
App Shopper, one of the first app sharing apps Apple removed late last year, recently came back to the App Store with new social features. The app proves that with enough differentiation Apple will allow app sharing apps in the App Store.
But that may require a lot of reworking for many apps.