App Store apps that recommend other apps are getting pulled left and right. Following the removal of popular titles like AppShopper and AppGratis, it was reported last month that Apple was beginning a widespread crackdown on apps that work similarly to the App Store itself.
Now another instance of Apple targeting app sharing services has been reported.
PocketGamer doesn’t have the best track record (previously claimed that Apple was going to announce a hardware game controller at a press event last month), but the site does have contacts with the iOS developer community.
Apple has begun clamping down on third-party tools that allow users to recommend apps to their friends, with releases equipped with an app search facility also now prohibited.
No official announcement has been made, but PocketGamer.biz understands that apps are now liable to be rejected if they feature “filtering, bookmarking, searching, or sharing recommendations.”
An App Store developer contacted the site and asked to remain anonymous for fear of upsetting Apple even more. The guideline used to ban the unnamed app sharing service was the same 2.25 clause Apple cited when it pulled AppGratis.
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.
What constitutes “a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store” is totally up to Apple, which makes the prospect of a widespread crackdown pretty scary for developers. Apple has made it pretty clear that it doesn’t want third-party apps mimicking features of the App Store. AppShopper had to rebrand itself into a social community centered around apps before it fell back into Apple’s good graces.