Archive for the ‘App review’ Category

Our app Super Trumps Sexy Models rejected

Everybody has read tons of articles regarding the prude and often inapprehensible review process of Apple. We also have published our own thoughts regarding that topic. After two month of rejections we’ve decided to quit developing Super Trumps (go fish) games with real persons (because of the risk to infringe personal rights) and to concentrate on other content. One is a new Super Trumps game with sexy foto models. Already in June we’ve contacted hundreds of professional and semi-professional models from the fotocommunity and the German Model-Kartei. We made the following offer to the models: They let us use one of their photos of which they have all rights of use or the admission of the photographer to provide it. And in return we will put a link to their personal website within the game (but of course the site will open externally within Safari, not within our app!).

After a lot of emails in and out we’ve got 32 photos of the participating models. Because of Apple’s handling of nudity we made a point of using only photos without nudity. The models on the photos are all dressed with a bikini or in lingerie. And because of Apple’s rejection of our Super Trumps games with persons (actors, footballers and basketball players) we contacted Apple in advance and stated that we have the written permission of all models to use their photos.

“Fine”, we thought … until we got another rejection by Apple. Two of our 32 photos are containing “objectionable content”. Yikes! Have we lost sight for a nipple?! Can there be seen the form of a vagina under the slip?! But get a picture of the problem for yourself! These are the two photos because of which Apple rejected our latest application:

Hmmm, can anybody tell me what could be the problem of these pictures? In my opinion they are even more harmless than a commercial for shower gel, shown on German TV at 6 pm.
And for what reason these two photographs are “objectionable” and these examples from apps within the App Store are not?

Why can the colleagues with (mostly low-quality) apps showing girls in bikini earn money with their photo apps while our app has been rejected? Just fortune? Bad karma? Injustice? Does Apple keep an eye on us because we’re sometimes publishing critics of their review process and the iPhone development program?

We do not know! We’ve contacted the two models and asked them to send us another photo. But that doesn’t mean that Apple won’t find some other “objectionability” within the photos. Could get interesting how this story will go on … If all else fails we could start a world-wide collection of signatures at http://www.wewantboobies.com 😉

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Farewell to Super Trumps with persons

iStock_000010331489XSmallAfter two month of stressful and unsatisfying struggle with the reviewer team of Apple regarding our Super Trumps games with persons (Hollywood actors, Basketball pros, Michael Jackson’s hit singles and also the update for the one with football stars) we made a decision:

Forget this type of app, try to anew the whole stuff of developing apps for the beloved iPhone. We had to learn – below others from friendly Apple employees on the telephone – that it might not suffice to use images under the Common Creative Attribution license, because pictured persons like Brat Pitt could claim the protection of their personal rights – independent from the regular CC license.

We neither want to infringe someone’s personal rights nor want to receive complaints about doing so after all.

Therefore we’ve decided – with a heavy heart – to stop developing Super Trumps branches with real persons and to concentrate on different apps (at the moment we’re working on a reference tool … soon more to come on our blog) and also further Super Trumps games with technical objects like tanks or luxury yachts.

At the moment we have a new Super Trumps game in review with attractive and sexy photo models. Because we have the written agreement of every model respective the photographers of the images we don’t expect any troubles during the review process.

Because of that decision we also removed our Super Trumps game with famous football stars from the App Store. We apologize to all regular customers for that, because there won’t be any update in the future. Just because Apple won’t release it but bann it binary for binary. The employee we talked with on phone made that very clear.
We can offer all customers of  Super Trumps Football Stars with an US iTunes account a promotional code to download one of our other apps for free. Just report to iphone@derheckser.com.

Since some weeks Apple is very strict in reviewing newly submitted apps and updates and it’s getting harder to get one’s own app into the App Store. But that are good news. Now, perhaps, worse applications and useless fun apps won’t reach the store to that certain extent any longer.

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The running gag with app rejections

angrykidOn this monday we had a telephone call with an employee of Apple regarding our apps Super Trumps Actors and Steam Engines. The two new members of our Super Trumps family are in review process since September the 2nd – since 35 days. Two weeks ago we already had rejections of the both new apps, regarding inappropriate keywords.

Now we have a new problem, which – in my humble opinion – seems to be a absurd reason to reject an app: Within the game we are using an icon of a mobile device with touch screen. Although the icon doesn’t look like an iPhone (otherwise I wouldn’t love my iPhone!) from the point of view of the reviewer team it either is an iPhone or seems to be an iPhone.

Because my appreciated colleague Oliver Drobnik has also had a rejection because of an iPhone-like icon I’ve been warned. Therefore I’ve not been using an image of the iPhone for use within the part of the “computer” opponent but a normal mobile. I therefore bought an icon pack at iStockphoto. Now here is the original image, does it look like an iPhone?

mobile

For the app reviewer team this icon intends to be an iPhone, poor icon 🙂 But to be fair I have to confirm that the employee at Apple has been very friendly and helpful on the phone. He promised to put my apps at the top of the queue, so that the entire review process won’t start again from the beginning.

So let’s hope he keep his word and our apps will be published very soon to the App Store.

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Daily struggle with iTunes Connect

itunesThanks to Apple for giving us the App Store – a great opportunity for developers to publish their applications.

But like I’ve stated before iTunes Connect (ITC) isn’t probably the best tool to administrate the own apps. I’d like to post a few other problems beside the low speed and the temporarily unattainability of the service.

Localization without a standard language

If you’ve made the same mistake as I’ve made you’ll be the dweep. As a German developer (therefore: excuse my horrible English!) I have chosen German as the default language when setting up ITC for the first time. Now I have to give the informations for the app in German (app description, keywords, screenshots) and the informations for all other languages have to be submitted singly. That means I have to enter app description, keywords and have to upload screenshots for English (USA), UK English, Australian English, Canadian English and so on. If I do not all app stores beside of the German, the Austrian and the Swiss store will display the informations in German language!

itc_localization

Remember: Chose English as the default language within ITC, otherwise the localization will cost you an hour for every app!

Keywords as a great defiance

In former times the app description has been the most important part for finding an app within the App Store. Customers could find your app very easily with a wisely chosen description text. Apple changed that two months ago. The search within iTunes or the iPhone now is only looking for the search term within the app title and special keywords. Those keywords have to be submitted when submitting the app or the update for an application to the reviewer team. But Apple isn’t generous: Only 100 characters are allowed! Now try to submit the most important keywords without infringing the magical limitation of 100 characters!

Remember: Make great effort in finding the most important keywords, otherwise your app won’t be found easily within the App Store!

Prudery and other oddnesses

hottest-girls-app-iphoneA lot of articles (like Cult of Mac, Wired.com …)have been written about the problem of the age rating within the app store. Most famous is the banning of an applications where the users could see bikini girls without bikini 🙂 Ok, Apple doesn’t seem to like nipples, all right. I have no problems with that (or just a little problem – sex sells millions). But what about the ratings of some applications which comes completely without nipples, asses or even genitals (yikes!)?
Why does an application with Wikipedia informations have to be rated by age of 17+ like the app Wikipanion by Robert Chin (iTunes link)? Because also a nipple is part of an encyclopedia or because it has informations about a poison? Smells like absurdly censorship. Or what about the weather application wetter.de by the German television station RTL (iTunes Link)? I swear, no woman is showing her nipples while explaining the upcoming weather!
Otherwise one can find games with great brutality just with a low rating like Resident Evil 4 by CAPCOM (iTunes Link) at a rating of 9+! I wouldn’t let my 12 year old son play this game, truly not. The brutal shooter Doom Resurrection by id Software (iTunes Link) is at a rating of 12+, in Germany the original game Doom has no approval for people below 18 years. (But nipples can be seen in German TV advertisements for shower gel already at 6 pm.)
I’m sorry, but the stance of Apple is in that point a little bit hypocritical: Every iPhone or iPod Touch comes with the Mobile Safari. So sites like youporn.com an other porn sites are just one click away! I have an understanding for disallowing porn within an iPhone application. I have no understanding for rejecting apps because of offensive words like happend with an update for Tweetie.

Remember: Verify exactly the content of your application so that Apple won’t find nudity, offensive words of your community like “fuck” or a recipe for a poison. But use splatter brutality as much as you like and you won’t get into trouble!

Daily adjustment of availability date

I’m ashamed but I have to admit: When we have an app or an update in review process we’re adjusting the availability date every day! You might ask because of what reason … that’s easy. When an app or an update comes online into the App Store the release date won’t be set automatically, criminy! When entering all data for an app the availability date will be set to today. If you’re not looking after the date it will remain to that date – even when the app goes online after 10-20 days of review process.
Currently about 80,000 apps can be found within Apple’s App Store … or *can’t* be found, because there are already to much applications. You have nearly no chance to get on the home screen of the App Store and you won’t be featured, don’t even think about that. When your app isn’t reaching the Top 20 of a genre immediately your app also can’t be found within the hit lists. So your only chance to be found is about the lists with new releases.
But to do so you have to adjust the availability date  for your app in review every day, because you don’t know when it will be released by Apple. If it’s released you can be sure that it will appear within the lists with new releases. Annoying work, but important.

Remember: Adjust the date of availability every day to make sure that your app will appear within the new releases. That’s your biggest chance to be found!

There are of course even more points of criticism but its enough for today. Let’s make a conclusion:

We’re demanding humbly

  1. Apple, please provide us a check-box like “Use this for every app store”, so we do not have to localize for every App Store with always the same informations.
  2. Apple, please revert to the former functionality of searching within the app description or alternatively donate us at least 255 characters for the keywords.
  3. Apple, please reconsider the ratings respective ban porn but don’t censor apps with encyclopedic informations or apps wherein the community uses demotic words.
  4. Apple, please set the date automatically to the date of release so that an application will be shown up correctly when it’s released.

Thank you in advance!

Also Super Trumps Actors rejected!

angrykidNo luck this week! Last night Apple rejected our other new Super Trumps game with famous Hollywood actors. Again because of inappropriate keywords! We’ve just been using a few keywords to promote/connect our other apps, that’s all but apparently enough to reject the app.

Why is there again that fishy smell? Just test what kind of keywords other companies have been using … just try “hot sex” within the App Store search and you’ll get as a search result among others apps with “rock legends”, a pregnancy quizz and an app to find cool bars. Or try “hot game” – according to apple again an inappropriate keyword.
Is it just bad luck that of all things our apps have been rejected? Is Apple now looking at the keywords even more accurately? Is it left to chance?

We’ll remove the inappropriate keywords to restart the review process again … another minimum of 10 days to wait …

Super Trumps Steam Engines rejected

screenshot_v2-0_en_01About 20 days ago we’ve send our new Super Trumps game with ancient steam engines to Apple for review process. Contrary to our other Super Trumps games we want to publish the steam engines for free with an AdMob advertisement. So “sparing” customers can test our game for free … and hopefully they’ll buy other Super Trumps because of the fun the gameplay offers.

Tonight the app has been rejected by Apple because of a bug with the new firmware 3.1. We’re working on that.

Two things are special with this rejection:
First of all the rejection mail came in German language! So far every correspondence from Apple has been in English. What does that mean? That Apple is now translating their correspondence for foreign developers … or that they have German native speakers within the App Review Team?
Second besides the bug another rejection reason have been the entered keywords. We have been using the new keywords also for “cross marketing” issues by using also titles of our other apps. That isn’t allowed – according to the mail by Apple:

manage-your-content-iconAußerdem kann die Anwendung wegen sachfremden Keywords im iTunes Connect-Profil derzeit nicht in den App Store eingestellt werden. Wir veröffentlichen keine Anwendungen, die sachfremde Keywords für ihre Suchkriterien verwenden. Keywords müssen sich auf den Inhalt der Anwendung beziehen. Es wäre angebracht, die Keywords Top, peer, hot, bible, guns zu entfernen.

Wir bitten Sie darum, die sachfremden Keywords in iTunes Connect zu entfernen und Ihre Binary erneut zur Überprüfung einzureichen.

Hinweis: Keywords müssen auf Ihre Anwendung bezogen sein und dürfen keine anstößigen Begriffe enthalten. Es ist nicht angemessen, auf andere Anwendungen hinzuweisen. Keywords können einzelne Worte oder Ausdrücke sein. Bitte beachten Sie, dass das Keyword-Feld auf 100 Zeichen beschränkt ist. Alle Keywords müssen durch Kommas voneinander getrennt sein, um nicht als ein einziges Keyword erkannt zu werden.

The German hint means that only relevant keywords are allowed to use. They have to be relevant for the respective app and must not contain offensive words. For example: We’ve been using the keyword “hot” in terms of “hot game” – Apple is regarding that as a kind of keyword spam.

It’s never getting boring with Apple at your side 😉

Super Trumps Football Stars now in review process

screenshot_fr_v2-0_05We are happy to announce that our newest member of our Super Trumps family with famous footballers has been sent to Apple for review process. Keep your fingers crossed that’ll won’t take as long as with Trains 😉

If you are

… a fan of such famous footballers like Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, Kaká, Raúl, Ruud van Nistelrooy, David Beckham, Ronaldinho, Fernando Torres, Franck Ribéry, Luca Toni, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, David Trezeguet, Luís Figo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Samuel Eto’o, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Nicolás Anelka, Michael Ballack, Miroslav Klose, Robinho or Diego

… if you’re a fan of famous European football clubs like FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Liverpool F.C., FC Bayern München, Manchester United F.C., Juventus F.C., FC Internazionale Milano or the Chelsea F.C.

… and if you love the classic Go Fish game (also known as Quartet) – like we do – you shouldn’t miss the new member of our Super Trumps series!

We’ll keep you informed at our site … or follow us on Twitter, so you won’t miss any news about our iPhone applications.