Apple‘s (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store has begun rejecting apps that offer users rewards for watching video or posting about the app via social media. TechCrunch reported the changes following the App Store overhaul that Apple announced at the Worldwide Developers Conference last week. It said that the company has sent developers rejection notices for apps that provide free in-game credits after users watch a video ad, encourage users to download other apps not created by the same developer, or offer incentives to users who post about the app on social media, primarily Facebook (NASDAQ:FB).
Underlying Apple’s concern about incentives for users and the promotion of other apps is the company’s worry that apps are using these methods to manipulate their app’s rank in the App Store. A developer posting on an iPhoneDevSDK forum shared the regulation that Apple cited in its rejections of two of his apps: “3.10: Developers who attempt to manipulate or cheat the user reviews or chart ranking in the App Store with fake or paid reviews, or any other inappropriate methods will be removed from the iOS Developer Program. We found that your app, or its metadata, includes features or content that can have an excessive influence in the listing order or ranking on the App Store, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.”
As the developer points out later in his post, asking users to post about an app on a social network — Facebook, for example — is “one of the oldest tricks in the book and even Candy Crush uses it.” The comment highlights one of the biggest players in the social incentivization game. One of the first apps that comes to mind when most people talk about app-centric Facebook notifications is one of the most ubiquitous mobile games ever: King’s (NYSE:KING) Candy Crush Saga.