Apple rejecting apps with in-app reward systems for social sharing, watching videos

app-store-iconAccording to reports in TechCrunch and MacRumors, Apple has been rejecting apps that include in-game reward systems for watching advertisements that promote other apps and social sharing. This prohibition is affecting both existing apps and ones that new to the App Store.

Freemium titles often make use of these rewards systems, providing in-game currency, additional lives and other benefits in exchange for watching a video or posting to Facebook. One such developer discussed his rejection on Stack overflow, claiming that Apple rejected his app for the violating the following terms of the agreement.

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, unless designed for a specific approved need (e.g. health management, aviation, accessibility, etc.) or to provide significant added value for a targeted group of customers.

3.10: Developers who attempt to manipulate or cheat the user reviews or chart ranking in the App Store with fake or paid reviews, or any other inappropriate methods will be removed from the iOS Developer Program.

When asked about the rejection, the App Store reviewer confirmed that the app was rejected for “promoting other apps not your own” (section 2.2.5) and for offering “free in-game credits for watching videos of other apps by developers other than yourself” (section 3.10). As mentioned in a post iphonedevsdk, other apps are being rejected for incentivized sharing, which rewards the player with currency or lives in exchange for a post on Facebook.

In the past, Apple has started rejecting apps that previously were allowed in the App Store. This latest round will have a long-reaching effect as both big and small game developers use video ads and social sharing to reward customers with in-game bonuses. For example, Candy Crush Saga makes liberal use of social sharing on Facebook, while Deer Hunter 2014 rewards users with gold when they watch ads, many of which showcase similar iOS games.

This new strategy by Apple may be a side effect of iOS 8, which improved the app discovery process with new trending keywords, related search terms and more. As Apple expands into the app discovery, the company is taking even more of that control away from developers who are promoting apps within their apps.

What do you think about freemium apps that offer rewards for watching videos or sharing on social network? Are you glad Apple is removing these apps from the App Store? Let us know in the comments.