The social media world was shaken when the popular social network Tumblr was removed from the Apple App Store. Although the app has built-in filters designed to block people from posting illegal images and content, they failed to stop certain malicious images from being posted. As a result, the app contained content that violated Apple's terms and conditions and was subsequently removed. Now developers are wondering: how can they be sure their apps will not do the same mistake?
- Terms and Conditions Made Simple
There are several guidelines developers must follow when they sell an app on the App Store. This covers the content of the apps, including mature content or hate speech, payment options, and copycat or spam apps. In short: the app should provide clean content, perform correctly and be fair with payment systems, among more specific requirements.
The introduction to the terms gives a quick overview, but it is important that developers fully understand what their apps may or may not contain. Violation of the terms may cause the app to be pulled from the store or the developer has been completely removed from Apple's developer.
Recently, Apple has turned down on apps with misleading subscription offers. Developers who wish to offer subscription services must be careful about how their subscriptions are advertised and offered so that they do not violate Apple's business guidelines. Along with the gratitude of Tumblr, it is clear that Apple cares to enforce its guidelines, no matter how popular the app may be.
- User-Invented Content
Tumblr's removal was not due to the actual content of the app itself, but because of content users posted on it. As a social network, users can post and share content from across the web. While Tumblr has its own terms, they are not as strict as Apple in relation to any of the content there. Although it has rules against particularly harmful content as well as filters to prevent it from being released, the risk is that people will find a way to bypass it again.
Apps that allow users to post content must be careful about what they allow. Things like sexually explicit content, hate speech, and so forth, may violate Apple's terms and conditions. Including a filter to capture them may work for the most part, but as the case with Tumblr demonstrates, it's not perfect and users can find a way around it. Therefore, careful moderation is also important.
- How Removal Affects ASO
Having an app removed from the App Store is obviously detrimental to App Store Optimization, but not just in the obvious way. Although users will not be able to find an app that is not available in the store, the damage can be removed even after the app is resolved, approved, and uploaded again.
An app ranking in the App Store involves more factors than how many downloads it receives. Just like negative reviews can cause an app to lose rankings, fractures that result in removal can certainly have a negative impact. Apps facing removal can once find that their rankings in search are hard to recover after the app is restored, while those that are often removed can struggle to rank high for some keywords.
However, a well-optimized app can recover from the damage. Good ASO will help show up in search results and better appeal to users, which will improve their ranking over time.
While removed from the App Store, it may be very harmful to an app, depending on Apple Terms and Conditions, it will help ensure that an app stays safe in the store. Although there is always a risk of user-submitted content, the proper administration and overview can help keep your app up.