Feel like flattering your favorite blogs or podcasts by donating a nice little chunk of change to your favorite writers or podcasters using iOS as a delivery medium? Yeah, not gonna happen. Apple has begun rejecting all applications that use the Flattr service in their apps. Flattr provides an API for developers that allows customers to “tip” content creators directly through their service. It’s a great way for independent developers and writers to make a living without charging an arm and a leg for a service. Apple’s not a fan of the app collecting money without giving Apple its cut, so Flattr integrated apps are no longer on the App Store.
Instacast’s developers decided that they wanted to integrate the service so that listeners could “Flattr” their favorite podcasts directly. It also had an “auto-Flattr” feature that acted a lot like Apple’s subscription model, automatically flatrr’n podcasts immediately after a podcast began playing.
The feature stands in direct contrast to Apple’s Review Guidelines. Section 21.2 to be exact: “The collection of donations must be done via a web site in Safari or an SMS.” Apple has ruled that Instacast must remove Flattr integration from their application if they want to continue having their app in the App Store.
The Flattr team isn’t about to give up either, posting on its blog that the plan to continue pursing alternatives with Apple, and that they are testing different integration models to make the process more optimal for developers using the API.
Does anyone else find it curious that these kinds of API problems always tend to creep up around WWDC? Just weeks ago we heard about Dropbox’s API running afoul of Apple’s rules and regulations. I haven’t done any research, so I’m just speaking at a whim here, but it seems like these major problems with apps always tend to pop up around WWDC and a new iOS announcement. Do things historically get stricter during the months leading up to WWDC? Apple’s good at picking larger companies out of the flock, like The Financial Times and Amazon, but sometimes the little guys carry on unscathed.
It’s also pretty obvious that Apple doesn’t want money flowing through their garden unless they can grab a cut of it, which isn’t really all that surprising to anyone who has been paying attention to the iOS development news for the last couple of years. It’s Apple’s store; of course they want a cut of sales. Does your local mall let you set up a booth without asking for some kind of rent or payment? Not likely.
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