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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:06 PM   #1
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Apple Reverses Course on Ban for Apps Incentivizing Ad Watching, Social Sharing




Earlier this month, Apple began cracking down on some of the methods developers use to monetize their apps, rejecting some apps that offered rewards for viewing videos and sharing content on social networks.

Developers were understandably upset about this policy change, as offering opt-in ads in the form of rewards for video watching provided a way to generate revenue without significantly disrupting gameplay. Providing in-game currency, extra lives, or another incentive for watching an advertisement has become common in freemium games.

Apple now appears to have reversed course on its decision to reject apps for using these promotional methods, with TechCrunch noting that Apple has ceased rejecting apps for using incentivized ads and has changed its opinion on some previously rejected apps.
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Now we're hearing that things have changed.

Sources in the video ad industry have reported that app rejections related to this matter have now declined, indicating the policy is being rolled back.

We're also hearing that some of the initial, and more worrisome, rejections are being undone -- that is, the apps are being allowed back in the App Store.
While Apple is allowing developers to continue to offer an in-app reward for users who watch a video or post about an app on social media, the company is still rejecting apps that offer incentives to users for reviewing an app, rating an app, or downloading another app, as reviews and ratings can affect an app's position on the Top Charts.

Manipulating the App Store charts is explicitly forbidden in Apple's app guidelines under rule 3.10, which states that 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" can be removed from the Developer program. Thus, under Apple's new rules, developers appear to be able to allow users to watch ads for other apps, but are unable to encourage users to download those apps.
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Basically, developers are fine to reward viewing video ads, whether for their own apps, those belonging to others, or brand ads, but they can't reward anything that also has a direct download piece to it.
This change will likely be a relief to developers who rely on such incentives to promote their apps to a wider audience. iOS 8 is will also bring several changes to the App Store that will help increase app discovery, including an improved App Store search algorithm, an "Explore" feature that makes it easier to find apps, and app bundles that offer several apps together for a discounted price.

Article Link: Apple Reverses Course on Ban for Apps Incentivizing Ad Watching, Social Sharing
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:08 PM   #2
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Well that didn't last long at all. I was hoping this was the start of a much needed change so this is disappointing news indeed.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:10 PM   #3
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That's a good correction. The initial change was a bit too draconian. What's wrong with opting in to watch an ad?
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:11 PM   #4
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I wish there was an option to search on the App Store for apps that have no ads, or for apps with no in app purchases.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:13 PM   #5
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I for one like some of these creative ways in which freemium developers can monetize their apps, and wasn't understanding Apple's initial resistance. If people don't like the way an app generates revenue, then they don't have to use those apps. It didn't make sense for Apple to reject these apps just because some people don't like them.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by DarkWinter View Post
Well that didn't last long at all. I was hoping this was the start of a much needed change so this is disappointing news indeed.

"Basically, developers are fine to reward viewing video ads, whether for their own apps, those belonging to others, or brand ads, but they can't reward anything that also has a direct download piece to it."

Sounds like they partly fixed the issue.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:20 PM   #7
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That's a good correction. The initial change was a bit too draconian. What's wrong with opting in to watch an ad?
Even if the change wasn't draconian, it still underscores the fundamental problem with Apple's App Store policies. They are arbitrary, and Apple changes them far too easily, without any notice.

Apple needs to have a well laid out process which potentially includes a developer input step so a dev doesn't wake up in the morning having quit his day job based on the sales of his app in the past year, only to find Apple has yanked his app from the store.

Apple's current policies create tremendous uncertainty for devs.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:23 PM   #8
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I enjoy playing games so I'll just stick to my Vita and 3DS. Can't believe how "cheap" gaming is on mobiles now.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:25 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Lord Hamsa View Post
That's a good correction. The initial change was a bit too draconian. What's wrong with opting in to watch an ad?
whats wrong with playing and app and not having ads at all?

what next, knives forks and spoons that give you an electric shock unless you listen to an add mid meal

ads are bloody everywhere
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:30 PM   #10
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whats wrong with playing and app and not having ads at all?

what next, knives forks and spoons that give you an electric shock unless you listen to an add mid meal

ads are bloody everywhere
Developers have to make money or you wouldnt have good apps. Look at where the app store has come in 6 years. Apps were expensive and the free ones were bad at the start. Take away the money and the good talent will develop for something else...
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:31 PM   #11
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Oh, darn, I guess I'll have to stick to using my measly intellect to discern cheap, IAP-driven apps from quality, lovely apps. This should be incredibly difficult.

Seriously, if you don't like freemium apps, avoid them. They're great revenue generators for those who develop them and hours of fun for those who like them.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:31 PM   #12
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The app store feels like a flea market now. It has thousands of incredibly bad apps trying to deceive people into giving them a top position in the charts, with clone after clone, while the very few really good apps get lost in the sea of mediocrity.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:32 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Zxxv View Post
whats wrong with playing and app and not having ads at all?

what next, knives forks and spoons that give you an electric shock unless you listen to an add mid meal

ads are bloody everywhere
It's an OPT in, you aren't forced to watch it. Even if you were, the developers need to make money, you know, to live.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:32 PM   #14
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I've given up on iOS games for the most part. They're all this freemium crap anyway. Ended up purchasing a 3DS XL instead. Having much more fun
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:35 PM   #15
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Developers have to make money or you wouldnt have good apps. Look at where the app store has come in 6 years. Apps were expensive and the free ones were bad at the start. Take away the money and the good talent will develop for something else...
The good talent could make a good game and charge a reasonable amount of money up front.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:38 PM   #16
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Incentivised ads allow the developer to earn, while the gamer gets to play for free. Those who don't want ads can pay not to see them. Everyone wins.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:44 PM   #17
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The good talent could make a good game and charge a reasonable amount of money up front.
I dont think so anymore, maybe a few years ago yes. But now with all the freemium out there not many people are wanting to pay anythign up front.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:46 PM   #18
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Incentivised ads allow the developer to earn, while the gamer gets to play for free. Those who don't want ads can pay not to see them. Everyone wins.
Not true....sometimes the developer loses! I for one do positively despise any app saying that they are free and then ramming ads down my throat and/or telling me i can have an ad free version through an in app purchase.
I find this dishonest. I'd rather pay some money upfront not to have to deal with bloody ads. Freemium is nothing else but a leech model.

And yes, I am an app developer and I will never submit anyone to ads. Advertising is the festering sore in the view of the modern world......yuck!
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:52 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by redkamel View Post
I wish there was an option to search on the App Store for apps that have no ads, or for apps with no in app purchases.
Yes, that would be the best, or if not that, at least an "AD" label similar to the in-app purchase one. I don't think it's fair to make the ad supported versions compete on common ground (regarding the app store listings) with those with no ads and a higher price instead. Ad stickers would make the competition more fair and paid apps more competitive. We really need to let non-free apps be a good alternative for developers.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:53 PM   #20
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Wow i didnt think anything could get Apple to change their minds once set. I wonder what go them to change.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 03:56 PM   #21
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apple is getting soft..
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 04:09 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Zxxv View Post
whats wrong with playing and app and not having ads at all?

what next, knives forks and spoons that give you an electric shock unless you listen to an add mid meal

ads are bloody everywhere
Purchase the app. Free doesn't grow on trees or without its restrictions.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 04:10 PM   #23
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If the user wants to watch an ad in exchange for some reward in a game, more power to them. If they don't want to watch an ad, they seemingly don't have to. User choice is a good thing.

This policy won't have any effect on me since I don't play many games to begin with. I have maybe 8 games on my iPhone out of the 200 apps I have installed.
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 04:11 PM   #24
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I guess this is good. Personally, I can't imagine chosing to view an ad in order to keep playing a game. I guess this must be an acceptable way for some to play games cheap? Who am I to judge? I've spent untold hours watching and listening to the most inane ads imaginable on TV and Radio (back when I didn't have another choice) And let me tell you, a lot of that music and TV was incredibly crappy in its own right... "Suh, Suh, Sudio..." argh, it's in my head again!
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Old Jun 24, 2014, 04:16 PM   #25
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Not true....sometimes the developer loses! I for one do positively despise any app saying that they are free and then ramming ads down my throat and/or telling me i can have an ad free version through an in app purchase.
I find this dishonest. I'd rather pay some money upfront not to have to deal with bloody ads. Freemium is nothing else but a leech model.

And yes, I am an app developer and I will never submit anyone to ads. Advertising is the festering sore in the view of the modern world......yuck!
I am also an app developer. I would rather my apps be paid upfront as it is simpler and less work. But a free app allows more people to experience a game, and that is what the market has chosen. And ads, particularly incentivised ones, allow a developer to get their income from a wider proportion of their players, rather than concentrate it all on the small percentage who will buy IAP.

There is no dishonesty at all. Watching ads to get something free is common across many forms of media, and widely understood. TV, radio and websites all use adverts to allow them to operate without charging the customer, including the website you are viewing now: MacRumors.
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