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Shit Scared Developers

Hello app developers. Post anonymously about your experiences with the App Store and Google Play. Share advice on how to overcome rejections.

Give-Get Flag

We were prevented from having a give-get referral mechanism that's common with the largest apps. We were given no explanation as to the difference with our approach (copied exactly from others). Told to follow unpublished guidelines that they wouldn't provide to us because they weren't formally written down internally for Apple either.

Don't you dare mention anything close to Covid-19

Not a long one. Submission got flagged for mentioning Covid-19. But never mentioned Covid-19. The app has nothing to do with medicine or health tips. Just said "social distancing" in the description. As in as we have to social distance these days so here is a way to keep connected. Yes had to take out that. Ridiculous.

Ban on the most inane terms

Funny how Apple allows skantly clad anime girl games, lootboxes and gambling and casinos, but if your app mentions spaghetti they flag your app and won't approve it. Literally got told by Apple approval team that the word was on a ban list and couldn't be used. In what mind is pasta a bad phrase. Were they thinking it was spaghetti code?

So many sleepless nights

It's always tricky with Apple. One time everything is ok, then we submit a minor update and they would reject us, even tho the changes we've introduced in the previous update were approved. This would happen every few months. The App Store is our only source of revenue and every time it feels like the end of our business.

Continuously rejected for violating policy without really violating it

We've always been careful with the quality of our product and have done our best to follow the app store guidelines. For some reason, out of nowhere, we started getting rejected. It seems like once you get rejected a couple of times in a row, you just enter this downward spiral of rejections. They highlighted something from their guidelines we're definitely observing and always have, and said we're violating it. We tried to ask for clarification and made an improvement thinking it will help, but they rejected us for another reason. It's been like this for almost two months :(

Manifesto

We love Apple. We love Google. We look up to them as the dream. We purchase their products in awe, wondering how the fuck can someone achieve such standard. They're the peak we want to climb and the kind of story we want to tell.

We're shit scared of them. We're terrified. In the free world we are lucky to live in, there's nothing more paralyzing than a powerful conglomerate controlling the destiny of your business. In our case — the destiny of a family business employing people, many with children.

When we made our app, we felt like we're entering the future — we built a business out of thin air, produced software, connected people, earned revenues and employed people. We felt like a business leaving its mark in the competitive landscape, in great part thanks to the platforms Apple and Google built.

We get insomnia. We fight at home. We cry, because Apple rejects our app out of the blue, telling us our product no longer delivers on their requirements. We get panic attacks, because Google's Play Store bots gain new powers and take our app down because it's 'violating its rules'. We suffer and sit, motionless, waiting, whilst the giants make a small move and gives us a sign whether our business is doomed or the giant's big fingers accidentally rejected us.

Reading about Proton Mail, Epic games, Basecamp's Hey we see we are not alone. The giants send shivers down millions of people's backs. They take from small businesses' revenue, claiming they use it to operate the stores. This might be true, but they must do better.

We call on you, developers, business owners, dreamers — share your rejection story. Post your moment of terror. This is the Me-Too of app developers. We might be shit scared, but together, we might scare the shit out of the giants too.