AppGratis CEO sheds further light on App Store removal

As most of you have probably heard by now, Apple pulled the popular app discovery app AppGratis over the weekend. There’s been a few reasons given for the removal, including notification abuse, but not much else has been said about the situation.

Until today, that is. AppGratis CEO Simon Dawalt took to the company’s blog this morning to talk about the recent removal of his team’s app, and shed some light on what it means for them moving forward. And to be honest, it doesn’t look good…

The entire post is worth reading, but here’s one of the excerpts that really stuck out to me:

“Friday, April 5th was the day Apple decided to pull AppGratis out of the App Store, leaving our 12 million iOS users wondering where one of their favorite apps had gone, my 45 employees wondering if they’d still have a job next week, my partners and investors in shock, and myself with an absolutely crazy situation to deal with, thousands of miles away from our headquarters.”

Dawalt had just landed in São Paulo, Brazil, on visit to one of AppGratis’ offices there, when he noticed he had dozens of missed phone calls and hundreds of text messages. Apple had pulled his team’s app for violating App Store Guidelines 2.25 and 5.6.

For those who aren’t familiar with them, 2.25 says that “apps that display Apps for purchase or promos in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected,” and 5.6 says apps cannot use push notifications for ads or direct marketing.

Here’s the explanation Dawalt got from an App Review staffer yesterday. It wasn’t good news:

“Early Monday, R. gave me a follow-up call. He basically couldn’t go beyond repeating multiple times that our app had been pulled out due to guideline 2.25 and 5.6.

I asked how he and his team could have possibly changed their minds overnight, pretty much pulling the plug on a 45-person company. He seemed very detached regarding the gravity of the situation, and was unable to let me know on what specifics these decisions had been made.”

It’s true, not more than a week prior to pulling AppGratis from the App Store, Apple had approved the latest version of their iPad app. So what happened? Did something change over that 7 days that caused the App Review team to recant the approval?

Dawalt finishes the post by saying that the AppGratis team is “far from finished.” And it will continue to serve its current 12 million users with new app deals everyday, and work to make the necessary changes to get AppGratis back in the App Store.

What do you think about all of this?