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Apple takes down AppGratis for guideline violations

AppGratis sends out daily deals for apps, Apple says it can't display other apps for promotion

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
April 8, 2013
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/2e99

AppGratis, a service that offers deals on apps instead of discounts on products, has run into a bit of hot water with Apple. The app apparently violated some of the Store's guidelines, which led the app to be yanked from the App Store late last week.

There are many reasons that an app could be pulled from the store, such as a faulty updates or age restricted content. But that's not the case here, as AppGratis had violated two of the App Store's guidelines, Apple told CNet Monday.

First, it violated guildine 2.25, which states that "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." It also violated guideline 5.6, which says that, "Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind."

This is not the first time that Apple has pulled a discovery app from the Store. AppShopper, a service that is designed to alert users to price changes in iOS apps, was pulled from the App Store in December. 

Why shut down AppGratis

We can take Apple's reasons for taking down AppGratis at face value, or we can try to see if, perhaps, there was another reason.

All AppGratis does is recommend apps for people to download. Users on iOS will be redirected to the app store to purchase the app, while Android apps are hosted on the service and can be downloaded directly. 

It is simply driving people to download more apps, and shouldn't that be a good thing since it would theoretically drive more business Apple's way? Not if AppGratis was making money by essentially using the App Store as a pipeline. 

Part of the way AppGratis makes money is by teaming up with advertisers and offering them deals, company founder Simon Dawlat told me in an interview in January. For example, AppGratis and Nike teamed up to offer the Nike Plus app, which is usually a paid app, for free. The app will be featured in AppGratis emails, and Nike will pay AppGratis per download for the exposure.

What say, or cut, Apple would get in that deal, Dawlat did not say. 

The company currently averages over $1 million in monthly revenue, so it is possible that Apple took a look at how much money AppGratis was making by offering deals on the apps available in the App Store and decided that it was not interested in contributing to another conpany's success.

About AppGratis

Paris-based AppGratis was founded in 2009, and started out as a daily newsletter that company founder Simon Dawlat shared with his friends. It then expanded into an app discovery service that sends out daily emails to users with recommendations for apps they might like.

AppGratis is available for iPad and iPhone in 11 languages, in over 120 countries. The app has 7 million users in over 30 countries, with two million daily active users and over 300,000 new users per day worldwide, and half of those are in the United States.

The app service is ranked in the Top 10 overall in the U.S., #2 in the UK and is ranked in the Top 10 in over 30 countries worldwide. AppGratis delivered over 100 million referral clicks to the AppStore last year.

In January, the company raised $13.5 million in Series A funding, it was announced Thursday. The round was led by Iris Capital, a leading pan-European venture capital investor that specializes in digital economy, with participation from the Orange Publicis Fund. And in February, the company passed the 10 million user mark. 

The news was first reported by PocketGamer this weekend. Neither Apple or Appgratis could be reached for further comment.

(Image source: http://www.behance.net)


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