Apple Bans Apps Which Offer Incentives For Watching Video Ads

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A recent move by Apple to ban Apps that offer incentives for watching video ads and sharing to social networking sites, shows how committed they are in keeping things fair in the App Store. Last year they similarly cracked down on Apps that manipulated rankings of other Apps. Free game Apps are usually affected by this ban because they use advertising as a way to monetize their game. We have encountered this kind of advertising even when playing games online through social networks (Yeah and it gets annoying when your Facebook notifications is flooded with game requests when a friend uses the sharing option on the game).

One of the main reasons why Apple banned these Apps is that they are in direct competition with the App Store. Although most of the ads use a “pay per click” scheme, it is the commission scheme which is in direct competition with the App store. This happens when a user purchases the advertised App as a direct result of the advertisement using a link. Apple cites two sections in the Developers’ Guidelines that are violated by these games.

2.25: 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, unless designed for a specific approved need (e.g. health management, aviation, accessibility, etc.) or to provide significant added value for a targeted group of customers.

3.10: 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 will be removed from the iOS Developer Program.

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The issue was brought to light when a Developer complained that Apple rejected their App after an update, even if the update was just a reskin. The App Store team cited the Guidelines shown above as reasons for the rejection. There are also rumors that the App Store admin team is planning to apply the change retroactively. Other games that use the same tactics include Candy Crush and EA games which are free.

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