Apple Rejections on Guideline 4.3 – App Spam


Hey, this is the Daily Overpass! My name
is Eric and I make apps! Now today, I want to talk about Apple Rejections with
Guidelines 4.3. Alright. So, I know it’s been a few days since I’ve done a video.
It’s really easy to get out of the habit of doing things. Sometimes you miss a few
days. It’s like going to the gym, you miss a few days, it becomes easier to miss the
next day. But today, I want to talk about Apple rejections, coz I just
like five minutes ago, got off the phone with an Apple reviewer. I was kind
of at a little argument in the reviews things, not an argument really I was just
trying to justify my position and they called up to justify their position,
And because they’re the ones who own the App Store, their
positions stays. But anyway, it was about Apple guideline 4.3 which is, I don’t
know if you, guys, have ever been, if you, guys, released the app, sorry, you may have
been caught up in this. I was initially- when I first started releasing apps, I released my first language game, which was Hindi Bubble Bath and then I
thought, “Wel,l we might as well use these same resources to go and do a a Mandarin
version.” Then actually, no, we did Mandarin first because that’s what I
learned in the army and then we thought, “Well, might as well use this for
other resources too.” So. we just started creating these and I was using like the
same icon, the same graphic assets, everything like that. After a while,
they started rejecting them, saying guideline 4.3. And 4.3 what it says is that, the apps are too similar to each other and
it’s like you’re spamming the market. I don’t know the exact wording of it, but
you know. it’s sort of like, you can’t just keep putting things
out there over and over again, like three skins and everything. So, you know
over the last few year,s we continue to do this, but we started doing it in, you
know, where we change every game significantly, so everyone has
unique music and graphics and icons. And we tweak them
a little bit based on the language so as the language learning resources,
everything I got. And I thought, everything was fine. Everything was going
fine. I mean, haven’t had any trouble and then they rejected one
a couple weeks ago. I just was so- I just raced it to say, “Hey, actually, no,
this is good. This is unique on its own. It may not look like it,
but if you really look at it, you see, that it’s different from the
others. We have to use different learning methods and all this
kind of stuff for this language, it was Indonesian, alright. And they said,
well, no, it should be- they’re saying is it should be one app, which I could see where they’re coming from. And, you know, we have this discussion
years ago and that’s why we started doing individual. Their
their way was, you know, what you should do is have, rather than have lots of
different apps for learning, different topics, you should have one app with
in-app purchases and people could go through and download and install the
topics. And my entire thing was from a marketing point of view, there’s no
crossover between these markets. Somebody who wants to learn Vietnamese is not the
same person as somebody who wants to learn Portuguese. And they’re completely
different ways of marketing to them, that there’s different-
differences in the languages there’s a lot of, you know, we hired a lot
of voice actors, so we have a lot of stuff going into that and it’s just over.
But from a technical point of view, yes, it’s possible. I mean,
it’s messy. I mean, you have just like language gained. But from a
marketing point of view it’s what bothers me the most. It’s because
I know when I’m marketing a Chinese learning application, I know that
I’m marketing towards people who will want to learn Chinese, were traveling to
China or they have Chinese children or whatever. And so and I know that
when they go into the App Store, they’re gonna be searching for learn Chinese or
learn a certain language or they might not be looking for a certain vocabulary
words and all the keywords. Everything is geared towards that way. If it’s
something like learn languages, then it’s going to be something that’s uh, you know,
as you know, like if I wanted my kids to learn Chinese, I kind of say
learn languages in the App Store. It’s just we only have like
a certain amount of keywords, a certain amount of whatever, so it’s something
that, you know- in the end, I just enjoyed the course, that’s okay, yeah, right.
Whatever. I’m just like gonna have to look into it,
either stop doing it all together or you know, I don’t know.
I mean, I just got off the phone with them. So, anyway, it’s just one of
these- one of these things and it’s been an issue in the past. The thing is I
know that there are other brands, that are probably bigger companies that
can get away with this kind of stuff. Whose applications are much more
similar to each other than mine are. But you know, it’s just the way it
is. I can see, I can understand, I think what they’re trying to do stamp
out a lot of the re-skinners and the clones and all that kind of stuff,
that goes out. You know, that the app markets are just completely
flooded with them, so that I can understand. Maybe –
maybe, I’m just- I just need to figure out a way to make this work
or we just give up altogether when it comes to these games. So,
what I want to ask today is, have you had any trouble with app rejections
specifically with the spamming thing? I know a few years ago, people were
like putting out- I knew one guy who was doing an app a day or two or
three apps a day, they were just re-skinning everything and I mean it
was crazy. But this is something I haven’t really had that much
trouble with. But I mean, have you had trouble with- if you release the apps or
have you have trouble with 4,3? Have you had any other trouble
that keeps coming up in terms of the App Store? And really love to hear about it.
Anyway, that’s it for today I’ll talk to you, guys, later.

25 thoughts on “Apple Rejections on Guideline 4.3 – App Spam

  1. I publish a bunch of different guides in the "make money" niche. Such as a Guides for YouTubers, Day Trading, Uber Drivers, AirBnB Hosts and so on and so on. After around 40 apps Apple started rejecting anything new I wanted to submit and slowly they took down my entire portfolio!

    Similar to you, they also want me to bundle everything within 1 app. All of my apps are guides but YouTube and Investing in Stocks are completely different things and marketing that would be difficult.

    I know someone who has multiple developer accounts and divides his portfolio that way. That's something I'm testing right now. Either way, we have no choice but to change our strategy.

  2. This is unreasonable of Apple. A game geared toward learning Chinese is by its very definition NOT a clone of another game about learning French, because the language difference is a significant difference in and of itself.
    And their solution with having just one mega app with the ability to purchase and download modules from an online source, is not an acceptable solution either because it's inconvenient for the user to download and start your app, only to find out that he/she has to purchase and download more modules after that in order to make the app usable at all, which could also be a security concern given the fact that they have to download those modules from potentially harmful third-party sources, unaffiliated with Apple (I think this is enough to make some users angry and to uninstall your app right away, leaving you some nasty reviews on their way out).
    This is kinda infuriating, and your overly-understanding attiutde seems a bit too permissive, although I realize that you don't have much recourse and you have to go with whatever Apple decides.
    I think the semi-'anarchy' of Google Play Store is better than this unreasonable 'order' of Apple Store.

  3. I made "Power 5×5 – Bench Press Strength Training" which is on the Apple app store. Later I made two more apps about how to increase your bench press max lift, but with completely different training programs. The last two was stopped, and I was basically told to make them into one app.

    I am new to this, so I carefully decided to not do anything.

  4. Today I've sent a 2nd appeal on review board 😀
    Has anyone ever succeeded? I know about one local developer company, their apps were almost the same, but each one was available one specific country only.

  5. Yes…Apple is extremely strict on app that's look similar. If possible, do not submit similar game play or layout within a short period of time.

  6. Sounds unreasonable. I suppose if other language learning apps such as Busuu (they have separate apps for learn Spanish, learn French, learn German, with virtually identical icons) have the same rejection, then it's fair. If they don't, then you have a case.

  7. Apple representatives are nuts and likely not creators with any firm understanding of what it takes to make an app. They just follow company drivel without question. That's why they work for apple as representatives.

  8. hello Eric Your videos is very informative and good. Please made video on reskinning. Which apps and games are good for reskinning

  9. I had this exact same issue last night. I appealed and they passed the review. I told them it's strange that it hasn't been a problem for the last 3 years.

  10. My latest VR game on IOS just got rejected cause of Guideline 4.3. Should I be worried? They told me that I will get a call from them in 3 days so they can explain themself. I've uploaded around 50 games to IOS and this is my 1st time dealing with guideline 4.3. :/

  11. Completely agree with you. Not all apps can be combined, same happened to me for my app as well. I also developed educational apps for 30 languages, reuse the codebase but UI and features same. Some of my apps are in top 10 in many countries. But now they are saying 4.3 spam and I have to make a container app. Very stupid idea from them. What they can do if an app has very few downloads, no update for long time they can make some way to penalize. Now lots of indie developers are affected like you, like me and we don't know what to do. I am thinking to give more concentration on android from now.

  12. Apple App Review Team's Double Standard: 
    Recently I saw other apps from other companies approved. Those companies also make individual apps like ours not container. Did you see it? I already contacted apple about this yet not get response from them.
    1. 
    Spanish English Dictionary App
    By Bravolol Limited 
    https://itunes.apple.com/il/app/spanish-english-dictionary-app/id564115016?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
    Updated: 05 November 2017

    2. German English Dictionary +
    By Bravolol Limited
    https://itunes.apple.com/il/app/german-english-dictionary/id568041778?mt=8&ign-mpt=uo%3D4
    Updated: 04 November 2017

  13. Little confused why it happened to you, could you appeal? I have some English Language learning apps on the App Store, 2 or three of them are reskinned matching or scramble games. I have done it because they are aimed at schools and teachers/classrooms, so teachers want something that is easy to use, familiar and sticks to the subject.
    Me making them similar is, in my mind, part of the attraction as teachers want to teach the subject not how to use a different app each time.
    I have an ongoing project to consolidate a little more, but the feedback i got was that having them simple and engaging and on topic worked better in class that something thing more difficult to navigate through. ( basically the chances a student of a students pressing the wrong button and needing help goes up exponentially with the number of options presented to them! :P)

  14. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/chinese-developers-file-complaint-against-apple-for-43-design-spam-guideline-645328753.html

  15. I didn't have a problem re-skinning games until about a couple months ago. (I have 140 apps that are mostly re-skins, and a few original ones) It seems Apple is cracking down on it now a ton, and small casual games, or obvious clones are being rejected more. A couple lessons I've learned is never have more than one app waiting for review, and to space out apps, even if you can make them fast. Also, a lot of it just depends on whoever reviews your app, and if they're having a good day or not. Even though I have a lot of apps on the App Store, it's only a few of the good ones, that are in unsaturated categories, that make the most money. If developers can find a niche and get in the top search results they'll get way more downloads then being average in a sea of other similar apps.

  16. I'm selling game template and system, But I agree with the app store review team because people who re-skin a lot of the same apps are making the store pollution.
    they should do more work on it just not like reskin, adding ads and put it to store just for a luck.

  17. I had the same problem because I created a new app instead of my old app with new name 😬😩😡

  18. I am getting rejected for spam. This is the first app I am developing. Apple is claiming there are too many similar apps in the app store. My argument is it should be a free market and the consumer should decide which app to download and/or purchase. Apple has nothing to lose by letting me launch. I stand to lose if my app isn't downloaded. Any advice?

  19. We are developing apps targeting different states of USA with different content theme icons etc. But we got rejected for section 4.3 saying "We noticed that your app provides the same feature set as other apps submitted to the App Store; it simply varies in content or language, which is considered a form of spam." It's really frustrating. 🙁

  20. My game got rejected for the 2nd time. They say it's a spam issue yet I developed my game from scratch only to get rejected by Apple. (didn't copy or duplicate anything, personally I hate copying). I appealed apple, waiting for response.

  21. So f*cking annoying. I have published 6 games on android and everything is ok upon request from my subs i spent months on making a iOS version and the first app I submit is rejected for spam. How disappointing could be that?
    I makes me wanna break every sing apple product I have

  22. Hi,
    Thanks for the video and sharing.
    My very first app is currently rejected because of the so called 4.3 Guideline. My app is to learn French (I am French:D) and is based on quizzes with 3 levels. Player needs to satisfy a minimum performance to unlock levels 2 and 3. The app is a single app but ts interface is available in 5 language. I tried to publish the app in 5 languages from the app store. And here I am, stuck with this rejection wondering how/what to do… It seems like Apple do not want to have the exact same app on each of the linguistic app store ?

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