Apple Cracking Down on Apps That Incentivize Ad Watching, Social Sharing

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 9, 2014.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    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.
    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).
    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
  2. iLoveiTunes macrumors regular

    Feb 26, 2011
    about time... but, I am sure there would be folks who'll dislike the idea
  3. TsunamiTheClown macrumors 6502a


    Apr 28, 2011
    Much needed btw, the current app store search is terrible.
  4. poppe macrumors 68020


    Apr 29, 2006
    Woodland Hills
    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.
  5. tomnavratil macrumors 6502a


    Oct 2, 2013
    Litovel, Czech Republic
    Better search algorithm and partly stopping gaming freemium model seems like a way to go.
  6. /dev/toaster macrumors 68020


    Feb 23, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    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.
  7. DavidLeblond macrumors 68020


    Jan 6, 2004
    Raleigh, NC
    So basically every free game EA Games has on the app store?
  8. AngerDanger macrumors 68030


    Dec 9, 2008
    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!
  9. DarkCole macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2013
    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.
  10. ArtOfWarfare macrumors 604


    Nov 26, 2007
    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).
  11. iMacBooked macrumors 6502a


    Jul 19, 2013
    4 8 15 16 23 42 ✈ Country: Belgium
    Great news. Hope they'll get rid of all those fake games on the Appstore that actually feel more like money scams.
  12. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    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.
  13. milo macrumors 604

    Sep 23, 2003
    Amen to that. Hard to believe how bad the app store is, can't even do basic things like sorting search results by ratings.
  14. bushido Suspended


    Mar 26, 2008
    thats literally my whole games folder then lol

    (didnt actually mind those video ads to unlock to do something quicker tbh)
  15. AdonisSMU macrumors 603

    Oct 23, 2010
    Scruff always tries to get a fake 5 star review everytime it opens up.
  16. seamer macrumors 6502


    Jul 24, 2009
    $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?
  17. bighype macrumors regular


    May 1, 2014
    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."
  18. studio¹³¹ macrumors 6502


    Jul 31, 2009
    I was surprised to see Supercell do this in Hay Day. Whatever - a free crystal!
  19. kwjohns macrumors 6502a


    Jul 4, 2007
    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.
  20. wolfshades macrumors 6502


    Nov 1, 2007
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    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.
  21. scbn macrumors 6502


    Jul 25, 2010
    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.
  22. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    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.
  23. Unami macrumors 6502a

    Jul 27, 2010
    i hope they go after plants vs. zombies 2 - which rewards watching ads with in-game-currency.
  24. Z400Racer37 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 7, 2011
    ... So now well have to buy the app? Or have a banner constantly at the bottom? Better...
  25. pnvgordinho macrumors newbie

    Jun 9, 2014

    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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