This past week, an application by the name of AppGratis came in to the spotlight when it was pulled by Apple for violating the terms of the developer agreement. The application, which had been available on the App Store for a more than two years, had gained more than 12 million users, and had also been approved multiple times by various app reviewers from Apple, helps users find deals and highly-rated applications available on the App Store.
Simon Dawlat, CEO of AppGratis, took to their blog to give a statement regarding the situation. While the application isn’t exactly a mission-critical utility, it’s obvious that many users enjoyed using it and found value in its services. Dawlat describes a fairly confusing and unfriendly situation: while previous app reviewers worked with his team to ensure that AppGratis remained available, the reviewer responsible for the rejection this time around at least appears to be insensitive, and uses the developer guidelines in a very broad manner.
Ultimately, the App Store is certainly within Apple’s rights to govern. The most disturbing issue isn’t that AppGratis – a program that offers limited features to its users – was rejected, but that each app reviewer seems to interpret the guidelines differently. Adding to this problem is that the appeals process seems to be either nonexistent, or ridiculously weak in its power to actually overturn a decision such as this. If the limitations of the App Store are to remain, then Apple should be compelled to at least make a compelling appeals process for developers who feel as if their application was unfairly removed.