As evidenced by a rejection email that was sent by Apple to an app developer and later procured by 9to5Mac, it looks like Apple is starting to tighten up its app review process and bear down on rip-off apps with “irrationally high” prices on the App Store.
The move makes complete tactical sense, seeing as how app developer Kosta Eleftheriou just last week revealed that scam apps on the App Store are generating millions of dollars in revenue every year right under Apple’s noses.
Creating blatant, low-quality imitations of best-selling apps is only one of the many ways to scam users on the Apple Store.
Creating a useless/sub-par paid app, charging a preposterous subscription fee and/or providing in-app purchases, and boosting it to the top of the Apple Store’s charts by exploiting algorithms or using fake ratings/reviews are crowd favourites for those looking to make a less-than-honest living off the App Store.
In the rejection email, Apple refers to the developer’s app as a “rip-off to customers” without hesitation.
While that’s pretty harsh (especially since the case in question was later found to be a false positive and the app was approved), two instances of the word “rip-off” can be found in section 3 of Apple’s App Store Review Guidelines.
In the Review Guidelines, Apple clearly states that “we won’t distribute apps and in-app purchase items that are clear rip-offs”.
While policing the exact value an app provides to users in exchange for app costs, subscription fees, and/or in-app purchases hasn’t been this stringent before, more vigilance over the matter from Apple could certainly lead to a safer App Store for users.