THIS WEEK'S SPONSOR:

Kolide

The fleet visibility solution for Mac, Windows, and Linux that can help you securely scale your business


Apple Doesn’t Change Stance on Pay-Per-Install Apps

GigaOM has posted an interview with Tapjoy CEO Mihir Shah, detailing how Apple is still not accepting new and updated applications that rely on pay-per-install networks like, indeed, Tapjoy. Back in April we reported Apple, after altering its App Store algorithm to better promote apps based on active usage and quality rather than download numbers, started rejecting apps powered by “pay-per-install” systems and offer-walls – basically in-app links and buttons that allow users to gain free virtual currencies and other goods by downloading another app from the App Store. Developers get paid, users get free goods only by downloading an app they can decide to never open and, on the other side of the spectrum, Tapjoy and other companies manage the entire system by giving developers the tools to implement these functionalities.

As Apple started tweaking the algorithm, it was reported the company didn’t like offer-walls and pay-per-install networks anymore as they saw them like a way to cheat the App Store charts and make some apps rank higher because of the downloads and promotions. Tapjoy then started capping downloads through it networks to comply with Apple’s new rules, but CEO Mihir Shah says he’s “confused” as that’s proven to not be enough for Apple, with the App Store team also saying they had no time to discuss the proposed solutions.

Tapjoy, whose app promotion campaigns have been halted by Apple in new and updated iOS apps, has come up with a new solution that it hopes can help it avoid Apple’s recent ban. The company has proposed a simple fix that allows Apple to identify app referrals from Tapjoy’s ad network so it can prevent those downloads from being counted by the App Store ranking algorithm.

Tapjoy CEO Mihir Shah said he reached out to Apple three weeks ago and offered to include a referral URL for the App Store when a user chooses to download an app in exchange for virtual goods. That would allow Apple to identify that the download came from Tapjoy and not count it in the App Store ranking algorithm. Shah said Apple wrote back a couple days later saying it had no time to discuss the issue.

Tapjoy is seeing an obvious decline in revenue and traffic on iOS devices, though they’re making up with growth on the Android platform. Many suggest Apple does no longer accept this kind of offer-walls because they want to promote iAd for developers among advertisers; however, Apple’s review guidelines for App Store apps explicitly mention that “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.”

Unlock More with Club MacStories

Founded in 2015, Club MacStories has delivered exclusive content every week for over six years.

In that time, members have enjoyed nearly 400 weekly and monthly newsletters packed with more of your favorite MacStories writing as well as Club-only podcasts, eBooks, discounts on apps, icons, and services. Join today, and you’ll get everything new that we publish every week, plus access to our entire archive of back issues and downloadable perks.

The Club expanded in 2021 with Club MacStories+ and Club Premier. Club MacStories+ members enjoy even more exclusive stories, a vibrant Discord community, a rotating roster of app discounts, and more. And, with Club Premier, you get everything we offer at every Club level plus an extended, ad-free version of our podcast AppStories that is delivered early each week in high-bitrate audio.

Choose the Club plan that’s right for you:

  • Club MacStories: Weekly and monthly newsletters via email and the web that are brimming with app collections, tips, automation workflows, longform writing, a Club-only podcast, periodic giveaways, and more;
  • Club MacStories+: Everything that Club MacStories offers, plus exclusive content like Federico’s Automation Academy and John’s Macintosh Desktop Experience, a powerful web app for searching and exploring over 6 years of content and creating custom RSS feeds of Club content, an active Discord community, and a rotating collection of discounts, and more;
  • Club Premier: Everything in from our other plans and AppStories+, an extended version of our flagship podcast that’s delivered early, ad-free, and in high-bitrate audio.