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Does using TROPHiT comply with the App Store guidelines?

The short answer is yes, we have confirmed it directly with Apple.

Our Apple contact has confirmed we may share the following information as clarification for the guidelines. Note it refers to already-approved apps and obviously does not change/shorten any app approval process in any way as every app is subject to the usual approval process.

Our focus has been guideline sections 3.1.1 (formerly 11.1), "If you want to unlock features or functionality within your app, you must use in-app purchase" and the clause regd. attempting "to manipulate reviews, inflate your chart rankings" (formerly 3.10).

As far as 3.1.1, our examples were a developer's wish to reconfigure the "starter pack" for its users (e.g. 1000 gold coins or initial set of accessible Karate videos) after the app is already live, by changing a server-side database (no app re-submission involved), in order to A/B test different values that work best. The feedback was as follows:

  • It is allowed to reconfigure such settings and the purpose of 3.1.1 is to prevent the introduction of systems to manually type redemption codes of any sort, which unlock content
  • Users must not be given an offer to download some other app in order to receive extra content in the current app (aka "incentivized download")
  • It remains the developer's decision, for example, on how much gold coins he would like a user to receive as daily bonuses, upon completion of a level, and so on (in fact, most approved apps today already grant such content in the same manner, which reaffirms the above)

TROPHiT allows you to automate the reconfiguration process mentioned above, based on your attribution data rather than on an expensive in-house hardcoded algorithm, to achieve the dynamics required for such A/B testing.

As far as (former) section 3.10, we have provided Apple with a description of example ads, conveying a message of the value of app starter packs end users should expect: "Download this free app with +200 gold coins this week". In that context, ads supported by TROPHiT technology do not imply incentivized traffic, as they merely reflect a configuration change on the game servers, that users should expect. However, note that advertisers should avoid incentivized traffic campaigns - with or without TROPHiT. For example, granting a user 100 coins in his current app for downloading a second app is in violation of section 3.10, regardless of the starter pack configuration of the downloaded app.

One more note concerns section 11.2, "Apps utilizing a system other than the In-App Purchase API (IAP) to purchase content, functionality, or services in an App will be rejected": just to be clear, TROPHiT is not an alternative payment solution - it is a reconfiguration service and does not include any payment facilities. Any content that the user may freely earn in your game today (whether it has monetary value or not) can be configured into starter packs using TROPHiT.

You may read more about specific Apple App Store guidelines such as 2.25 and 3.10 in our blog article Two Point Twenty Five, Three Point Ten.

If you have any further questions about this matter, feel free to ask us by clicking on the "Ask Us" tab on the left.

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