Earlier today I stumbled across a blog post from Mobile Roadie founder Michael Schneider about the company getting a phone call from Apple. According to the post, an Apple representative contacted Mobile Roadie and informed them that ‘cookie cutter’ apps which do little more than pull feeds from web sites or reproduce websites with webviews will no longer be accepted in The App Store. The Mobile Roadie post also mentioned that Apple will be imposing further guidelines on certain industries, but offered no specifics only stating that “we’re [Mobile Roadie] already working on the features requested,” implying that the details of the guidelines were given to Mobile Roadie.
This information will elicit mixed feelings from iPhone developers. On one hand, the blocking of ‘spam’ apps will be a welcome change. The majority of what developers consider ‘spam’ apps are these types of ‘cookie cutter’ apps that provide little functionality and obscure the valuable App Store visibility of more feature-rich apps.
The guidelines for specific industries, however, will add to the frustration of many developers as it is another example of (1) Apple’s constantly evolving, unpredictable, sometimes inconsistent App Store regulations, (2) Apple’s lack of communication to the the iPhone Developer Community, and (3) Apple ‘playing favorites’ with certain developers.
Strangely, later in the day I went back to review the blog post and it was gone. Mobile Roadie’s tweet associated with the blog post had also been deleted. It was a great post with great information, so it seems strange that MR would want to delete it, unless (a) they want to get a leg up on their competitors and keep the information a secret or (b) Apple requested Mobile Roadie remove the blog post.
Both scenarios seem equally likely. I wouldn’t blame MR if they wanted to hold their cards in order keep their competitors from getting a head start on updating their product offerings. And considering Apple’s history of secrecy concerning even the most trivial details (remember that tweet from Alan Murray), it’s certainly plausible that that someone at Apple requested the post removed. What do you think?
The original Mobile Roadie post is no longer available on their blog, but there is a cached version on RSSMeme: http://www.rssmeme.com/story/1755599/separating-the-boys-from-the-men?output=atom
Update: The RSSMeme article has been removed. Also, this post was credited with the tip for latest Tech Crunch article on Apple’s new ‘Cookie Cutter’ app policy. Based on the information Jason, gathered it sounds like the new policy mostly the affects app building services who were contacted by Apple. It also looks like this is going to be great improvement for both developers and users. Developers aren’t going have their visibility reduced by less-useful, mass produced ‘spam’ apps, and users are going to get a richer, more varied experience.