Apple confirmed to AllThingsD Monday that it removed AppGratis from the App Store for violating clause 2.25. But it said that the app also violated clause 5.6 as well.
Apple declined further comment on AppGratis’s ouster, framing the move as a standard response to guideline violations. But sources close to the company say it was more than a little troubled that AppGratis was pushing a business model that appeared to favor developers with the financial means to pay for exposure. “The App Store is intended as a meritocracy,” a source familiar with Apple’s thinking told AllThingsD.
In other words, app discovery platforms are fine as long as they’re not built on paid recommendations.
Clause 2.25 of the app review guidelines state:
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
Clause 5.6 reads:
5.6 Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind.
AllThingsD notes that Apple is also looking at other apps with similar business models, and might kick them out as well. Section 2.25 of the App Store review guidelines was introduced back in September last year, and its first high profile victim was AppShopper, which still hasn’t returned to the App Store.
This is obviously bad news for AppGratis, which had recently raised $13.5 million for aggressive expansion. While the startup could create a mobile web app and continue to collaborate with developers, it wouldn’t be nearly as functional as its native counterpart.