Thursday, April 18, 2013

Apple Kills AppGratis’ Push Notifications In Second Hammer Blow To Its iOS App Discovery/Promotion Business

After booting out app discovery and promotion platform, AppGratis, from the App Store earlier this month for violating two clauses of its developer T&Cs, Apple has now followed up with a second blow to the business — by killing its ability to send push notifications to existing users of its app. AppGratis has claimed it has some 12 million users of its app.

The move was reported earlier by French publication JDN which said AppGratis informed subscribers that Apple had killed notifications in an emailed newsletter. TechCrunch has obtained a copy of the email sent to (Italian) AppGratis subscribers — the first part of which is embedded below. As well as explaining to subscribers why they haven’t received a push notification from the app that morning, it urges them not to panic, and says AppGratis will be launching a daily special offers newsletter to keep them informed about app offers:

AppGratis’ daily deal business model involves taking money from developers who wish to promote their apps to its 12 million users and negotiating deals so that apps or in-app content is free for the duration of the offer. These sponsored apps are promoted along with unsponsored editorial picks selected by merit, according to AppGratis. However the company has faced criticism for how it operates and, more generally, for blurring the line between app discovery and app promotion.

The two App Store clauses that AppGratis fell foul of relate to third party app promotions and using push notification for direct marketing. Whether AppGratis was banned for being too similar to Apple’s App Store is another possibility — however other app discovery services have not been banned from the App Store, suggesting it was the way the business was operating — not the general category of business — that was a problem for Apple.

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