AppGratis, an app discovery service that worked with developers to make one paid app free everyday, has been pulled from the App Store. While Apple occasionally rejects apps based on the use of private APIs, AppGratis’ rejection could have something to do with Apple’s app review guideline that forbids third party apps similar to the App Store.
The rule, added in September last year, states:
2.25 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
AppGratis’ USP — offering a paid app for free everyday — is very similar to Apple’s own “Free app of the week” section on the App Store. Both Apple and AppGratis work with developers to select a app, make it free, thus providing them with a much larger audience than they’d normally reach out to.
Back when Apple introduced section 2.25, AppGratis’ CEO noted that Apple’s probably targeting “low quality” copycats and not AppGratis. The service, with more 7 million users, could drive as many as 500,000 downloads of a single app, and had raised $13.5 million for further expansion.
Previously, Apple yanked another app discovery service AppShopper from the App Store, and the app still hasn’t reappeared on the App Store.
There’s still a possibility of the app being rejected only because of a minor issue with an update, but we’ll know for sure only when AppGratis gives an official comment on the issue. Current users of the app can continue to use the app as earlier, but others won’t be able to find the app.
— Arnold Kim (@arnoldkim) April 7, 2013
It’s strange that Apple’s cracking down on apps that ultimately add value to the entire iOS ecosystem by helping users discover new apps.