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AppGratis push notifications shut down by Apple

updated 01:00 am EDT, Fri April 19, 2013

Developer plans newsletter, HTML5 web app to skirt rules

AppGratis, which admitted that it had gamed Apple's chart rankings and whose CEO subsequently lied about its business model after getting its app pulled from the App Store, has now seen its push notifications to users shut down as part of a broader Apple crackdown on apps that attempt to manipulate iOS app chart rankings. The company, which charged developers a fee in exchange for promising to get and keep their apps into the charts, sent emails to its users informing them that Apple had blocked the push messages.

The company has vowed to fight back over what it sees as unfair treatment by launching a new email-based newsletter and an HTML5 web app in order to skirt Apple's App Store ban, reports CEO Simon Dawlat in a new blog post. The company apparently plans to go forward, despite claiming falsely that Apple's ban was "a complete surprise" (Apple has since provided documentation that AppGratis was warned about its infractions) and being exposed as having promised developers who paid $100,000 a fifth-place ranking in the US App Store -- a clear violation of Apple's rules against manipulating results.

In its initial response over the banning of AppGratis, the company said that the rankings in the App Store are meant to be a "meritocracy," meaning that they reflected genuine user ratings and popularity. Various app-discover and promotion programs have been caught over the years using fake reviews, promoter-purchased mass buys and other tricks to manipulate the charts in their clients' favor, and indeed some continue to operate today -- apparently violating the same rules that got AppGratis the boot.

In its decision, Apple also mentioned that AppGratis was also guilty of violating another rule about not using push notifications for advertising. The company had been sending out notifications about its "daily deal," usually an app that had been temporarily been put on sale for free. However, in light of the fact that developers were paying the company to promote the app, the push notification could be considered an ad.

It remains to be seen if Apple will bar any other programs that may also be violating Apple's rules. While app-discovery engines in and of themselves are fine, many simply notify users about price drops or new arrivals -- a practice that doesn't run afoul of Apple.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. ourielohayon

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-19-13

    Appsfire? really?

    I find it more than surprising the author of this post is pointing to us (appsfire) as a "rank manipulator". We challenge you to find one single app we recommend in the top 50 of any country, just by we recommend it.

    You know why you will no find an example? because we do not work that way - we actually do the opposite. I am inviting the author of the post to contact us if he s interested in understanding why

    Ouriel Ohayon
    Appsfire CEO

  1. chas_m

    MacNN Staff

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Fair enough

    The claim was based on reports in other forums saying that developers had to pay AppsFire in order to even be placed in the program. However, given that this is not hard evidence, I'll have the reference to AppsFire excised for the time being. Check your inbox.

  1. ourielohayon

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-19-13

    thanks

    Hi There

    we answered the "user" in that forum. It is just wrong...

  1. noibs

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 07-09-07

    Support Apple

    As an iPhone 5 owner who relies on user ratings when I purchase or download apps, I **COMPLETELY** support Apple regarding this issue. AppGratis is slime. Period. Hopefully, they will have luck with their deception on Android devices.

  1. BigJayhawk

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-08-11

    ESPN Scorecenter

    On a SLIGHTLY different note (although related by being annoying ADS placed in push notifications), I've DELETED ESPN Scorecenter because in the past few months they have all of a sudden become a multiple-push-notifications-per-day generation system to tell you to go watch their TV channels. I mean seriously, if you want scores for certain events, you'll either put it in your notifications list to GET THEM or you will just LOOK at them in the App.

    They have taken to multiple push updates PER EVENT that is not even in your preferences telling you after the 6th inning, 7th inning, 8th inning -- OR -- 3rd quarter, 4th quarter -- OR -- 1st set, 2nd set, 3rd set -- OR -- 5th round, 7th round, 9th round -- and YES I understand I was just annoying there - that's the point.

    I checked with other users and they've had the same complaint. Sorry for the rant but avoiding ANNOYANCES on my phone is EXACTLY the reason I like my iPhone over other choices. GO APPLE. Make everyone comply with these regulations. They are there for a reason.

  1. Flying Meat

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: 01-25-07

    So the things Dawlat claimed

    loudly and publicly about their business model and lack of notification from Apple have been proven to be false, and/or spun to paint AppGratis as the hapless innocent victim.
    I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell ya!

    I'm gonna go sign their petition... No. That's not right.
    I'm gonna avoid them like the plague, and recommend others do the same. Cheating, manipulative sack of...

  1. Sebastien

    Registered User

    Joined: 04-29-00

    MacNN isn't known

    for its accuracy in any of its "news"

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