AppGratis starts online petition after Apple ouster

Steven Loeb · April 15, 2013 · Short URL:

Petition of support has almost 650,000 signatures within hours of launch

Last week, when responding in a blogpost to Apple's decision to take remove his app from the App Store, AppGratis founder Simon Dawlat  appealed those reading the blogpost to take action.

"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," he wrote.

Now Dawlat is attempting to organize those people into a movement to save his app by launching an online petition against Apple, he divulged in a blogpost Monday.

When the app was pulled, Dawlat wrote, the app "experienced unprecedented media coverage throughout the world, as the AppGratis saga goes well beyond our personal existence as a company and raises concerns for a whole industry." 

The team , he said, "received thousands of support messages from all over the world," but, with "4 years of hard work are threatened," the team at AppGratis began asking themselves, "Who are we? What are we doing?"

"Does our work change the life of all our users, at least a little? With amazing challenges ahead of us, we needed more. We needed to remind everybody that AppGratis is first and foremost an iOS app used and loved by millions of people in the world. We needed a vote of confidence," said Dawlat.

In was in that vein that AppGratis launched the online petition, where users are couraged to send e-mails of support to

The best part of the petition, which has already received 645,224 emails and counting, is the note that AppGratis wrote along with it, which tweaks Apple's famous Think Different ad campaign from the late 90s:

"Last week, on April the 5th, Apple decided to ban AppGratis from its App Store.

Because more than 12 million people in the world use AppGratis, this story has been all around the planet.

In an official statement to the Wall Street Journal on april the 8th, Apple said we violated two of its iOS Guidelines.

But we know we haven't.

And we have written our side of the story here.

Today we believe it's you, Apple's customers, who should have the final word.

Today, you can speak up.

Tell Apple that you think different."

Apple Vs. AppGratis

In his blogpost last week, Dawlat explained why Apple had decided to pull the app, revealing 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."

AppGratis was able to work these troubles out with Apple, and even recieved approval for its iPad app a week before it was pulled from the App Store, for violating 2.25, as well as guideline 5.6, which says that, "Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind."

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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