updated 03:44 pm EDT, Mon October 1, 2012
Developers await enforcement
Apple has reportedly changed its App Store terms and conditions to restrict third-party app promotion. A new section in the terms prohibits developers from submitting iOS apps that highlight titles offered by other developers, fueling speculation that the company may be preparing to curtail the growth of apps that solely serve as a promotional platform for other App Store offerings.
The changes, which were noted by PocketGamer, specifically refer to apps that promote content "in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store." It is unclear if the vague wording applies to the myriad of existing "app finders," many of which highlight paid apps that are temporarily listed for free.
Many developers use promotional services as a tool to help boost download numbers, in some cases paying a fee to receive higher ranking in the third-party charts. In theory, such strategies can consequently elevate an app's position in Apple's own App Store charts.
Apple occasionally modifies its App Store terms to prevent developers from artificially inflating an app's ranking. The company is believed to have changed its ranking algorithms to include a wider range of criteria—not just download numbers—when gauging popularity. In an earlier enforcement sweep, more than one thousand apps were pulled due to fake five-star reviews.
Apps have yet to be forcibly removed from the App Store due to violations of the latest terms, though developers fear offending titles may be gradually phased out if Apple rejects update submissions. [via iPhoneinCanada]