There has been an unprecedented amount of drama surrounding the removal of AppGratis, a popular app discovery tool Apple recently pulled from the App Store. An online petition with over 800,000 signatures begs for Apple to bring AppGratis back into the App Store’s good graces. Heck, the French government is pissed. What’s all the fuss about?
Apple said that it pulled AppGratis for sending app promotions to iOS users via push notifications. The discovery service coordinates with third-party developers to offer discounts for paid apps. Apple also said that AppGratis behaved too much like the App Store itself.
It looks like AppGratis’s sins run deeper.
According to a leaked document, AppGratis was charging developers large sums to get their apps to the top of the App Store’s charts.
Business Insider got its hands on the internal pricing matrix AppGratis uses to show third-party devs how it’s capable of ensuring an app’s success—for a fee, of course. For example, $100,000 would make a dev’s creation become one of the top five most downloaded apps in the U.S. App Store. That’s a pretty lucrative opportunity for both parties involved.
What makes this worse is that AppGratis has made statements that openly oppose this activity, such as, “We’ve never been in the business of gaming the top charts or anything.” Turns out that prompting millions of users to download a single, discounted app can game the charts.
Apple obviously takes this sort of thing very seriously. It wants the App Store’s top charts to be a place that truthfully shows what everyone is downloading, not what a single company got paid to promote.
AppGratis’s removal is actually the beginning of a more widespread crackdown on discovery apps, according to another report. It’s not surprisingly to see why.
Source: Business Insider.