Thursday, April 8, 2010

My oddest iPhone rejection yet

I develop iPhone apps mainly on a contract basis with a large focus on radio stations. Most radio stations don't have in-house programmers who are skilled with developing apps, so I am often contracted to develop an app for a station. Since they often lack any in-house programmers they often also ask me to host the app using my iPhone developer account. I've been doing this for about a year and a half and have about 50 radio apps under my developer account.

Today I received the oddest rejection from Apple for a pair of iPhone apps I had submitted for two different radio stations. Apple rejected the apps with the explanation that they were of a similar "Family of radio applications" and "should be packaged in a single application using In App Purchase".

There are a couple obvious problems with this. First, these apps were created for two different radio stations and each station wanted their own app. From a radio station's point of view, it's good advertising for them to have their own app which they can offer their listeners. They don't want to have their station just within some larger list of stations in a single app. It's all about branding.

The second problem with this is the radio stations want their apps to be available for free. Using in-app purchase would not make sense.

I replied to Apple explaining how combining the two apps is not an option, but I haven't yet heard back. I'm hopeful this isn't the start of a new policy on Apple's part prohibiting apps for individual radio stations.

UPDATE 4/13/2010: The two apps have now been approved, although I never received any clarification from Apple regarding my inquiry. The apps just suddenly became approved. Best I can assume is the original reviewer had made a mistake.


Anonymous said...

I have seen some guys did the same thing. An example,

This guy created only one app that let the user read the ebook, and for every ebook he created one app and sell it on the appstore. I don't know how and why Apple could accept these much apps in the appstore. It just makes user have headaches on searching for the apps they want.

The "family of an app" is right to be considered though.

Mostly Torn said...

I do understand when a family of apps would be appropriate, but I don't think this is the case for radio stations.

First, these aren't books. Each radio station app I make is because I receive a request from an individual radio station. Each radio station has their own set of loyal listeners in their particular region. They want to be able to advertise on their radio station and say "Listen to our station on the iPhone. Download our app." They can then provide a customize app to interact with their listeners, not just a generic app with a list of a thousand stations.

A station does not want a generic app for their listeners. It's not at all effective from their point of view. They want to be able to provide a unique experience for their listeners that is based on their particular music format, demographics, etc.

Plus, each of these stations that has their own app gives Apple free advertising. For example, one of the apps I've made is for a station in Boston with a large audience. They very frequently run an advertisement on their radio station telling their listeners to use their IPHONE app. They don't play ads saying "download our Blackberry app", or Android app, but they do specifically mention Apple's iPhone. From Apple's point of view, this should be considered a benefit.

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