New clause in Apple’s App Store guidelines could kill app promotion apps market

A large number of iOS users were disappointed to run into a “bug” last night that repeatedly asked users to agree to new terms and conditions. The problem, which is not uncommon when a high volume of users attempt to activate the new T&C’s at once, is now fixed. In related news, some may be surprised to learn that Apple’s newly updated App Store review guidelines include a new clause that could restrict the way apps advertise other apps and promotions within their own. It could also mean trouble for promotional app services such as FreeAppADay and other cross-promotional apps that often have the power to sway App Store chart rankings. first noticed the new clause that appeared in Apple’s updated guidelines a couple of weeks ago:

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The wording is typically vague, but clause 2.25 appears to give Apple carte blanche to put any app that promotes titles from a different developer out of action…At the moment, we understand Apple’s likely prime targets are pure app promotion services, such as (but not necessarily including) FreeAppADay, AppoDay, AppGratis, Daily App Dream and AppShopper, amongst others… Such services drive considerable volumes of downloads and are relied upon by many developers as a key part of their promotion for freemium or ad-funded free apps… As well as the likes of Tapjoy, Chartboost, Flurry et al – whose raison d’etre is much the same in terms of driving guaranteed downloads to affect chart position in exchange for payment or inventory – self-made indie cross-promotion agreements also risk attracting Apple’s attention.

It’s unclear at this point if Apple will truly go after these app promotion apps, but the new clause certainly seems to give them power to do so. PocketGamer noted: “Steel Media’s Swipe magazine and Free App Alliance as well as FreeAppDaily appear to be unaffected.” Apple does not appear to actively remove apps that break the new 2.25 clause, but PocketGamer suggested it would hit the apps when they attempt to update, “potentially winding down their influence over apps in the App Store.”

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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s Logic Pros series.