Apple Cracking Down On Incentivized App Installs
According to a report from TechCrunch, Apple is cracking down on the practice of incentivized app downloads.
Apple recently started to reject applications that offer incentivized download asking you to install an app in exchange for some type of virtual goods or currency. For example, “Install one of these apps, and you’ll get ten free gold coins!” Developers often use this tactic of paying per download to break into the top of the app store charts.
Developers began receiving rejection notices for dozens of apps late last week and yesterday, saying that they are prohibited from having offer walls. Apple looks like it is changing the interpretation of clause 3.10 in its developer agreement, which says, “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.” It’s uncertain what will happen to the thousands of apps that have already been approved and have offer walls.
According to sources at TapJoy, “As you may have heard, a number of applications submitted for update have very recently been rejected from the Apple App Store based on the fact that they were running incentivized app installs within their apps. This is something new from Apple and we, along with every partner we’ve talked to, were unaware of this prior to these notices of rejection. Like many application developers, we have reached out directly to Apple and look forward to clarification.
To be clear, there is no new Apple policy that we are aware of. It seems there may be a new interpretation of the existing 3.10 clause, which is a bit surprising, as Tapjoy, AdMob, iAd, Flurry, W3i and others all power various forms of app install advertising. Many of the brands that promote their apps via Tapjoy also do the same on other major ad networks across the mobile advertiser ecosystem, and all of the apps we promote on iOS are Apple-approved.”
It’s no coincidence that the news comes just a day after reports that Apple is now using different algorithms to decide how applications are ranked (and is presumably placing a higher emphasis on metrics other than downloads). These decisions are going to change the business models for thousands of apps which rely on pay-per-install either for revenue or getting new users. Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.