AppGratis Was Charging Developers Lots Of Money To Game The App Store Charts

appgratis

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.

pricing

If you have deep pockets…

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.

Related
  • Gadget

    Gratis /??re?t?s/ is the quality of an action where the action is willingly provided without any requirement by the provider for compensation or monetary remuneration. It is often referred to in English as free of charge (FOC), complimentary, or on the house. Companies, producers, and service providers often provide certain things free of charge as part of a larger business model, pricing strategy, or as a donation.

    Too funny.

  • Sundeep Chugani

    Sometimes I read Cult of Mac and think that everyone here has no idea of how a business is run. According to some people, a business is not allowed to charge others for their services. The name of the app is obviously directed to consumers (those who download the apps) not the businesses to whom they offer their services to. *rant over*

  • Sundeep Chugani

    Sometimes I read Cult of Mac and think that everyone here has no idea of how a business is run. According to some people, a business is not allowed to charge others for their services. The name of the app is obviously directed to consumers (those who download the apps) not the businesses to whom they offer their services to. *rant over*

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath has been a staff writer at Cult of Mac for three years. He is also a co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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