Apple Developer Guideline Change
As recently as just couple weeks ago many iOS developers began to report on changes to Apple’s Developer Guidelines When it comes to Apple’s take on app marketing strategies developers may or may not use, these changes have created a bit of controversy, seeding fear and doubt within the Apple mobile development ecosystem as a whole. You can check out the exact quote regarding these changes below:
To clear everything up let’s split up and discuss this issue in separate 4 parts, try to analyze who is going potentially to win, who is going to lose, and who simply won’t be affected.
From the comments you may have heard so far you might get an impression that it’s all bad, yet it seems like almost none of these comments represent Apple’s point of view. That said, let’s try to fill this gap. Walk in Apple’s shoes for a minute – seeing as its that largest company in terms of overall capitalization it should actually feel pretty awesome. You’ve basically created the concept of the mobile ecosystem, and your App Store is a key component of it all with the success of the iPhone & iPad holding it all in place. If the App Store begins showcasing any app instead of only the best apps (in terms of innovation and quality) its value would be diminished, causing these devices to begin to lose their value. I believe it’s understood what happens when your product begins to look less and less valuable in the eyes of your customers. Suddenly you find yourself in a place that companies such as RIM know only too well – the bargain bin. . . the one thats not very profitable or industry relevant.
Clearly Apple doesn’t want to allow anyone to game its ranking systems. They want to be in a position where developers can’t simply get a leg up on actual innovative titles with smaller budgets just because they’ve got oodles of cash to spend on clawing their way to the top. Apple wants to keep the game fair. They realize that developers want to top of the App Store charts and make money. Yet if you watch events like Apple’s WWDC and you’ll see their executives reveal exactly how much money the App Store has brought to developers. Its a gold mine. If developers abandon the App Store the whole ecosystem collapses – its as simple as that.
But as with any Big market even Apple can’t make every developer happy, they bet on the best apps that come from the most innovative developers.
The iOS platform is unique in many ways but there is one obvious commonality that unites it with any platform – developers come here to make money. Now, having said that Apple’s intention with each policy and the App Store update is to make it an even better money making platform, we have to admit that the coin has always a flip side. To put it mildly not every iOS developer is happy about this recent change and clearly they see it as a threat to their choice of app marketing techniques.
Quite frankly the number of app marketing techniques to achieve optimal visibility on the App Store is limited and promotion via sites like FAAD has been one of the major tools to help grassroots develop teams make the jump up in App Store rankings from nowhere to the top. Quite often in a situation when app marketing teams are being pressed by companies that hired them their expectations are that the app will conquer the App Store charts en force. Marketing folks will run with any promotions they can to try and meet such unrealistically high expectations, and Apple’s new changes are anything but a surprise to them. In fact in many cases they may instead come as a relief. Clients can’t ask for things that aren’t allowed to happen after all.
Promotion service provider
Obviously this part of the equation is most affected. Since this story broke several weeks ago Apple’s policy changes haven’t affected many yet, and as usual with Apple’s its unclear when these policy changes will come into effect.
Tapjoy have confronted Apple before because the nature of their services might be affected. Yet, they’ve managed to settle their differences and Tapjoy has altered their business model to ensure everything stays cohesive and the company flourishes. The lesson we ought to learn here is that you can’t rely on a single stagnant business model when it comes to providing marketing services in Apple’s app development ecosystem. You must have a Plan B to sustain your business, and if you don’t have a plan B at least be ready to adapt your current services to stay in line with what the digital giant finds acceptable.
Tightening rules and regulations on companies that provide apps with promotional and cross promotional solutions doesn’t imply that all app marketing techniques will be affected. As so, services such as our App Store Optimization, promotion via Social Media, media buys, and video demos among others will continue to not only be effective but be ok with Apple. They may shut down service providers such as FreeAppADay, but anything white hat – marketing techniques that rely on objectively constructive actions – won’t really feel the burn of Apples new changes.
And what about the consumer? How does it apply to them and their experience searching for and discovering new titles on the App Store. Let’s assume that starting tomorrow cross promotional services from companies such as FAAD are history – how does it affect the average app user? The issue with cross promotion techniques like FAAD is that sometimes they bring apps up to the top of the App Store that don’t really deserved to be at the top, regardless of whether they’ve gotten up there through manipulation of user comments, reviews, or actual download numbers. This means that the consumer wins here, pure and simple.
Now, remember that we’re discussing here possible implications of this change. As with many things in our digital age it may change to its opposite quite rapidly and we’ll forget about our suspicion like nothing happened.