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Apple clamps down on incentived sharing

pillow_blenderpillow_blender LondonPosts: 13New Users *
Two of my apps received this rejection today:
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
3.10

We found that your app, or its metadata, includes features or content that can have an excessive influence in the listing order or ranking on the App Store, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.

Specifically, your app gives a free hint to users when they share the app on Facebook.

Please see the attached screenshot for more detail.

It would be appropriate to remove or revise this information.

If your iTunes Connect Application State is Rejected, a new binary will be required. Make the desired metadata changes when you upload the new binary.

So we can't encourage users to share stuffs on social networks anymore? This is one of the oldest tricks in the book and even Candy Crush uses it. Has anyone experienced this?
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Replies

  • dev666999dev666999 Posts: 2,726New Users @ @ @ @ @
    There is no real solution to your problem. This is due to the irregular nature of the review process. You got unlucky, and were reviewed by a reviewer who strictly enforces the rules.

    You could contact the resolution center and plead your case. That's better than filing an appeal. The resolution center lets you argue your point with the original reviewer.

    We've all had rejections, where we weren't allowed to do something, but everyone else was doing it in the app store.

    Finally....

    It would be appropriate for Apple to stop using "It would be appropriate...yada yada yada..."

    That canned response is getting old.
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  • KarlJayKarlJay Posts: 428Registered Users @ @
    Wow, I too thought this was standard. I don't download a lot of apps but I remember being prompted to like on FB. Looks like Apple wants more control over what apps get seen and what apps get lost in the sea of 1.2 million apps. Not good, anyone else have this happen.
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  • pillow_blenderpillow_blender LondonPosts: 13New Users *
    dev666999 wrote: »
    There is no real solution to your problem. This is due to the irregular nature of the review process. You got unlucky, and were reviewed by a reviewer who strictly enforces the rules.

    You could contact the resolution center and plead your case. That's better than filing an appeal. The resolution center lets you argue your point with the original reviewer.

    We've all had rejections, where we weren't allowed to do something, but everyone else was doing it in the app store.

    Finally....

    It would be appropriate for Apple to stop using "It would be appropriate...yada yada yada..."

    That canned response is getting old.

    I did this with a dozen apps before and had no problem. And today I received the same rejection on two different apps. I suspect it is a new policy. Has anyone else experienced this?
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  • savannasavanna Posts: 224New Users @ @
    I suspect the incentive is the problem, an option to share content would be ok I imagine? Just don't give them the hint in exchange for sharing?
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  • AceMobAceMob Posts: 327New Users @ @
    Disable incentive, submit, enable incentive, submit.
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  • dev55dev55 BostonPosts: 3New Users Noob
    pillow_blender: Do you have any updates on this? Was your app finally accepted? This rule is simply inane. You are not doing anything special to improve your rankings, such as trying to engineer a burst of downloads. You are simply trying to grow your app's audience - which in turn has an effect on rankings, naturally, but only because of the way the App Store's ranking algorithm works.

    IF you are still engaged in a dialog with your reviewer, perhaps use the argument that you do not trigger such rewards in bursts, like by sending your users a bulk push notification every Friday afternoon.

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  • RudyRudy Posts: 1,758Registered Users @ @ @ @
    dev55 wrote: »
    pillow_blender: Do you have any updates on this? Was your app finally accepted? This rule is simply inane. You are not doing anything special to improve your rankings, such as trying to engineer a burst of downloads. You are simply trying to grow your app's audience - which in turn has an effect on rankings, naturally, but only because of the way the App Store's ranking algorithm works.

    IF you are still engaged in a dialog with your reviewer, perhaps use the argument that you do not trigger such rewards in bursts, like by sending your users a bulk push notification every Friday afternoon.
    I really doubt he'll be able to get it accepted. It looks like it's a new policy: http://www.macrumors.com/2014/06/09/apple-cracking-down-on-incentivized-video-ads/
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  • Crichton333Crichton333 Posts: 149Registered Users @ @
    Interesting, guess there was just too much room for manipulation.
    "Smoke me a kipper i'll be back for breakfast." -- iOS: Science Fiction Quiz
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  • dev55dev55 BostonPosts: 3New Users Noob
    That macrumors article links directly to this thread :-) pillow_blender: Were you sharing your a link to the app in question (i.e the host app), or were you sharing a link to some other app?
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  • pillow_blenderpillow_blender LondonPosts: 13New Users *
    Hi guys, I am still here.

    Sadly, the app is still in the review process.
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  • wsidellwsidell Posts: 71Registered Users @
    Techcrunch also has an article about this, but they both site this thread as a source and one other developer who has had this problem. We'll have to wait and see what Apple's stance turns out to be.
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  • pillow_blenderpillow_blender LondonPosts: 13New Users *
    dev55 wrote: »
    That macrumors article links directly to this thread :-) pillow_blender: Were you sharing your a link to the app in question (i.e the host app), or were you sharing a link to some other app?

    It was an picture post to Facebook, with a screenshot of the puzzle and a "Help me solve this" type of message at the bottom. At the end of the message, there is a link to the origin app.
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  • AlifarAlifar NetherlandsPosts: 455Registered Users @ @
    I think this is not so bad at all, most of us are now focussing on these promotion tactics (yep, me too) instead of the app itself. Apple did a good job on this one because this will stop getting the clones ranked higher and gives us (indies) a better change to also get noticed, if they can make sure that also the big apps remove these in-app promotion tactics.

    The problem is the amount of apps in the app store, more apps means more aggressive promotion tactics to get your app noticed. I think we all should focus on promotion outside the App Store like, website, flyers, SEO, and yes also advertising.

    Apple also looses money with these tactics, think about it; less iAd, less in-app purchases.

    They should follow the topleader of getting best results (Google) and also focus on bounce rate, time in app etc.

    I think iOS 8 will come with a big cleanup in the App Store! I'm all for it :)
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  • dev55dev55 BostonPosts: 3New Users Noob
    People can still use these promotion tactics in the Android or web versions of their apps - it amounts to the same thing, same kind of vitality, same number of downloads etc. Apple of course has no say over those.
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  • mobilagamobilaga Posts: 65Registered Users @
    edited June 2014
    This is really unfair to all the indies. :(

    So if you have a puzzle game and someone is stuck and they want to ask their friends for help on facebook or twitter, they now can't? So the only way to do this is not to give them any incentive like a hint?

    I have a feeling they want people to share apps by themselves without the dev pushing it or suggesting it... Hmm when will all the Candy Crush invites stop then? Oh right, never, because they generate metric **** tonne money...
    Post edited by mobilaga on
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  • RudyRudy Posts: 1,758Registered Users @ @ @ @
    mobilaga wrote: »
    This is really unfair to all the indies. :(

    So if you have a puzzle game and someone is stuck and they want to ask their friends for help on facebook or twitter, they now can't? So the only way to do this is not to give them any incentive like a hint?

    I have a feeling they want people to share apps by themselves without the dev pushing it or suggesting it... Hmm when will all the Candy Crush invites stop then? Oh right, never, because they generate metric **** tonne money...

    You can allow people to share the app or ask for hints, you just can't give them anything in the game in exchange for that action (example: share our games and we'll give you 50 gold coins!)
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  • raymngraymng Posts: 1,844Registered Users @ @ @ @
    Rudy wrote: »
    mobilaga wrote: »
    This is really unfair to all the indies. :(

    So if you have a puzzle game and someone is stuck and they want to ask their friends for help on facebook or twitter, they now can't? So the only way to do this is not to give them any incentive like a hint?

    I have a feeling they want people to share apps by themselves without the dev pushing it or suggesting it... Hmm when will all the Candy Crush invites stop then? Oh right, never, because they generate metric **** tonne money...

    You can allow people to share the app or ask for hints, you just can't give them anything in the game in exchange for that action (example: share our games and we'll give you 50 gold coins!)

    Is it confirmed Apple would ban this?
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  • iosandwiniosandwin MumbaiPosts: 374New Users @ @
    This is a wild idea never knew if it was allowed, but is there any chance for it to be allowed? The idea: users win 50 gold coins if they win the highest score or give them gift certificate or something. To reward them for beating the highest score. Would that be allowed?
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  • andrewgaelandandrewgaeland Posts: 2New Users Noob
    I found a new interesting response blog post about this, looks like there are a few alternatives or at least some explanation about 3.10
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  • SeanyKSeanyK Posts: 161Registered Users @ @
    edited June 2014
    Looks like they have done a u-turn, kind of...

    http://techcrunch.com/2014/06/24/app-store-policy-of-rejecting-apps-with-rewarded-video-social-sharing-gets-rolled-back-with-a-few-caveats/

    I think getting free in-game currency for watching a video is an excellent idea, I suspect the likes of massive companies such as King, Supercell, and massive games like My Singing Monsters, Max Axe which all have that system etc, probably had some influence in the turn-around, after all, they have gigantic sales on both the Apple and Google platforms, so you can't really ignore their opinion.
    Post edited by SeanyK on
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  • TouchmintTouchmint Tempe, AZPosts: 786Registered Users @ @ @
    SeanyK wrote: »
    Looks like they have done a u-turn, kind of...

    http://techcrunch.com/2014/06/24/app-store-policy-of-rejecting-apps-with-rewarded-video-social-sharing-gets-rolled-back-with-a-few-caveats/

    I think getting free in-game currency for watching a video is an excellent idea, I suspect the likes of massive companies such as King, Supercell, and massive games like My Singing Monsters, Max Axe which all have that system etc, probably had some influence in the turn-around, after all, they have gigantic sales on both the Apple and Google platforms, so you can't really ignore their opinion.


    Yep. Apple listens... When the big players complain.
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  • raymngraymng Posts: 1,844Registered Users @ @ @ @
    SeanyK wrote: »
    Looks like they have done a u-turn, kind of...

    http://techcrunch.com/2014/06/24/app-store-policy-of-rejecting-apps-with-rewarded-video-social-sharing-gets-rolled-back-with-a-few-caveats/

    I think getting free in-game currency for watching a video is an excellent idea, I suspect the likes of massive companies such as King, Supercell, and massive games like My Singing Monsters, Max Axe which all have that system etc, probably had some influence in the turn-around, after all, they have gigantic sales on both the Apple and Google platforms, so you can't really ignore their opinion.

    Good news for us.

    How about this rule? Still effective?
    APPLE REJECTION 2.25: APPS THAT DISPLAY APPS OTHER THAN YOUR OWN (i.e. More Apps Screen)
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