AppGratis founder: iPad app approved by Apple last week

Steven Loeb · April 9, 2013 · Short URL:

Founder Simon Dawlat vows to keep fighting, and to find a solution to getting AppGratis back on iOS

Yesterday, I reported about AppGratis, a service that offers daily deals on apps, being pulled off the App Store. Details about what exactly happened were sketchy, beyond Apple telling CNet that AppGratis has violated two of its guidelines about displaying other apps or using push notifications for promotion. 

Now, AppGratis founder Simon Dawlat has written a long blogpost explaining exactly what happened, why the app was pulled off the app store and what happens now. 

First, Dawlat said he wanted to make sure that it is clear that AppGratis "is very much up and running," even though it is no longer available on iOS. The company will continue to update its website, and its daily newsletter, with new apps and discounts. 

"I want to tell these people the reports of our death are greatly exaggerated," he said.

What happened

With that out of the way, Dawlat revealed that AppGratis has run into incidents with Apple before, specifically breaking Apple’s iOS guideline 2.20, which states, "Developers “spamming” the App Store with many versions of similar Apps will be removed from the iOS Developer Program." This happened when the AppGratis attempted to release localized apps for different countries, and wound up with more than 20 different versions.

The company was also cited for violating two other guidelines:

  • 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."
  • 2.12, which states that, "Apps that are not very useful, unique, are simply web sites bundled as Apps, or do not provide any lasting entertainment value may be rejected."

Though he says that "these new guidelines seemed scarily open to any kind of subjective interpretation," Apple and AppGratis were able to work together to fix these issues, by pointing out that AppGratis and Apple were nothing alike, showing their usefulness to Apple and consolidating all the apps into one.

Since then, AppGratis had no problems from Apple. In fact, Dawlat says, Apple "actually approved our iPad version less than a week ago, as well."

That is why Dawlat says that he was shocked when Apple pulled AppGratis off the App Store on Friday, April 5th, citing guideline 2.25 and also guideline 5.6, which states that, "Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind."

Dawlat called the last guideline, "Yet another surprise for us since we only send one “system notification” a day to our users, coming in the form of a generic, opt-in only 'Today’s deal is here!' message, which is precisely how Apple recommends developers to use its push notification service."

Despite repeated communications with Apple, he said, a representative "couldn’t go beyond repeating multiple times that our app had been pulled out due to guideline 2.25 and 5.6."

So what happens now?

While Dawlat say that AppGratis' "mission is far from finished," he does not offer any solutions as to how to get the app back on iOS, instead appealing those reading the blogpost to take action.

If the reader is "someone in charge at Apple," he says, they can email him to discuss the matter further. And "if you are a user of AppGratis, a friend, a client, an app developer, or just a person that thinks AppGratis is good for the world, please share this post."

Vowing to find a solution, Dawlat also promises that "more announcements will come very soon."

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. 

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