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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:38 PM   #1
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Apple Cracking Down on Apps That Incentivize Ad Watching, Social Sharing




It appears that Apple has begun cracking down on some of the methods that developers use to monetize their apps, including those that offer in-app rewards for viewing videos and sharing on social networks. Providing in-game currency, extra lives, or another incentive for watching an advertisement on another App Store app is common in freemium games, but some apps with these features have begun seeing rejections from the App Store staff.

As noted by TechCrunch and a source that spoke to MacRumors, Apple has been rejecting apps that incentivize social sharing and use ads as rewards since last week.

According to one developer, Apple rejected an app that had been previously approved many times after an update that included only a re-skin without changing any core functionality. Apple cited guideline 2.25, which it has used to shut down many app discovery apps like AppGratis, and 3.10, which involves manipulating app rankings.
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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
Screenshots attached to the rejection pointed towards an advertisement within the app for a different game (a violation of 2.25) and a button that rewarded users with in-game coins for watching a video (a violation of 3.10).
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The 2.25 rejection is for promoting other apps not your own. The attached screenshot showed an EA game as a "Free Game".

Additionally, your 3.10 rejection was for offering free in-game credits for watching videos of other apps by developers other then yourself.
An Apple representative went on to explain that developers are not able to have a "More Games" or "Other Games" section that points to apps other than their own, and that it is not acceptable for users to watch a video about another app to get in-game credits or benefits. This could have a significant affect on both developers and app monetization companies that use incentivized video like Tapjoy, Flurry, and more.

Other developers have received similar rejections under the same guidelines, with one getting rejected for offering hints after an app was shared on Facebook. Incentives for sharing games on social networks and rewards for watching video ads are two highly popular monetization methods used by countless freemium apps, including major players like Candy Crush.

Apple's crackdown on certain advertising methods being used by app developers may be related to an App Store overhaul that the company plans to introduce alongside iOS 8. iOS 8 will bring several changes to the App Store, including an improved App Store search algorithm, an "Explore" feature, app bundles offered at a discount, and TestFlight beta testing for developers.

Article Link: Apple Cracking Down on Apps That Incentivize Ad Watching, Social Sharing
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:40 PM   #2
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about time... but, I am sure there would be folks who'll dislike the idea
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:41 PM   #3
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... including an improved App Store search algorithm
Much needed btw, the current app store search is terrible.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:42 PM   #4
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CSR Racing is completely built around this idea. You get more fuel by Facebook and twitter sharing.

Sucks because it's a pretty fun game but it feels like it's all whole purpose is the sharing about the app and the buying of fuel and the game play is just second.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:42 PM   #5
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Better search algorithm and partly stopping gaming freemium model seems like a way to go.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:44 PM   #6
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I am very happy to see this change. Developers have been very getting abusive with in game credits. I feel sorry for the advertisers who have been wasting money on video in exchange for credits. I doubt the users are really paying attention to the videos, they do it multiple times to get those free coins or whatever.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:47 PM   #7
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So basically every free game EA Games has on the app store?
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:47 PM   #8
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Ugh, in an app store where games costing $0.99 - $4 are seen as "expensive", I'm all for incentivized ad-watching. If you have a problem with IAP, ad-generated bonuses, and prompts to share, avoid the damn games that feature them heavily.

¡Viva el revelador!
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:48 PM   #9
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This is great. So many "games" aren't even games anymore. They're just tricks to make quick cash and just feel like spam on top of spam.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:48 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacRumors View Post
Incentives for sharing games on social networks [is a] highly popular monetization [method] used by countless freemium apps, including major players like Candy Crush.
So people will stop sharing Candy Crush and similarly obnoxious games on Facebook? Thank whoever at Apple decided on this new application of the existing policy.

As for the video watching incentive... I rather liked that. It was a nice way of incentivizing people to pay for a game, but to be able to make money even if they didn't pay.

I don't see how this is any different from banner ads, and allowing users to pay to remove those (except for the fact that banner ads generate far less revenue than video ads).
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:50 PM   #11
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Great news. Hope they'll get rid of all those fake games on the Appstore that actually feel more like money scams.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:53 PM   #12
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Glad to see the changes. If you need 5 extra attempts for a game like Disco Zoo, maybe you shouldn't be playing that game.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:55 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by TsunamiTheClown View Post
Much needed btw, the current app store search is terrible.
Amen to that. Hard to believe how bad the app store is, can't even do basic things like sorting search results by ratings.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:56 PM   #14
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thats literally my whole games folder then lol

(didnt actually mind those video ads to unlock to do something quicker tbh)
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 02:57 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by milo View Post
Amen to that. Hard to believe how bad the app store is, can't even do basic things like sorting search results by ratings.
Scruff always tries to get a fake 5 star review everytime it opens up.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 03:05 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Fresh Pie View Post
Ugh, in an app store where games costing $0.99 - $4 are seen as "expensive", I'm all for incentivized ad-watching. If you have a problem with IAP, ad-generated bonuses, and prompts to share, avoid the damn games that feature them heavily.

¡Viva el revelador!
$4 is a lot if you're expecting users to buy clones, reskins, and other crudware. $4 for unique and/or new twists on an old favorite is something else.

Can you imagine how much buying all the Flappy Bird clones would have cost at that price?
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 03:08 PM   #17
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Excellent!! Less spam = better App Store. I'm sick of all these spammy "free" apps that just make you jump through hoops to get anything you want. It's silly. Either put up ads or charge few bucks. Just don't hold me for ransom with these horrible in-app "requests."
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 03:15 PM   #18
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I was surprised to see Supercell do this in Hay Day. Whatever - a free crystal!
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 03:19 PM   #19
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They need to do this with Ibotta, a coupon app that pays you a little for buying certain products and taking a picture of your receipt. The competing app, Checkout 51, does it without making you watch ads and such.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 03:24 PM   #20
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This decision is a good start.

Next up: all those apps (usually news or related) which suddenly opens up the Apps application, and immediately focuses on a game. Usually it's a gambling app or something.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 03:31 PM   #21
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I like the move. The App store right now is pretty chaotic; many developers have gamed the system; it's hard to find good apps.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 03:32 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seamer View Post
$4 is a lot if you're expecting users to buy clones, reskins, and other crudware. $4 for unique and/or new twists on an old favorite is something else.

Can you imagine how much buying all the Flappy Bird clones would have cost at that price?
The only ones downloading those Flappy Birds are kiddos. If they weren't free, they wouldn't be a hit. And 2048 wouldn't be a hit like Threes if it wasn't free either.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 03:40 PM   #23
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i hope they go after plants vs. zombies 2 - which rewards watching ads with in-game-currency.
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 03:47 PM   #24
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... So now well have to buy the app? Or have a banner constantly at the bottom? Better...
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Old Jun 9, 2014, 03:55 PM   #25
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iAd

What makes this different from iAd?. The games that use this are free correct?. So, first people should remember this fact. Making games takes time and money and if the developers decide to make their game free but with these kind of "business", players must decide before they install the game if they want this kind of stuff or not. I don't mind playing good games for free and see a video as a way of "paying" for the game.
Do you prefer to have the horrible banner on the bottom, rather than watching a video?.
This looks like Apple is trying to kill ads from competition. Maybe its because their iAds sucks.
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