Friday, December 9, 2016 [Tweets] [Favorites]

iOS App Rejected for Using Pre-selected RSS Feeds

Mike Rundle:

Now I know what was taking so long. Rejected because I use… public RSS feeds like 100 other apps. Thanks, Apple.

Well, Apple denied my appeal. Interesting (simple news app with pre-selected RSS feeds) is no longer allowed under App Store Guidelines.

Their explanation centered around users needing to add the RSS feed themselves (OK) vs. pre-configured list (Not OK.) Makes no sense.

Update (2016-12-10): The app in question is Interesting.

Federico Viticci:

This App Review rejection is lame and makes no sense. No curated news apps? What’s the harm?

John Gruber:

That’s crazy. Surely there are a slew of RSS readers already in the store with default subscription lists.

Mike Rundle:

I can’t even believe this now. People on the App Review Board have potentially never used an app before.

Apple says that any app that loads content from Reddit must open all URLs externally into Safari. Opening inside the app is forbidden.

8 Comments

Why should I use an app with a preconfigured RSS feed?

Robert Handrow

@Reinhard Schmitz: for first time users of an RSS feed app the best way to explore how it works and what wonderful benefits (fast, automatic, no algorythms) awaits them.

Only thing I can think of Apple denies it may be due copyright restrictions?

It is really a missed opportunity right here!

"Apple says that any app that loads content from Reddit must open all URLs externally into Safari. Opening inside the app is forbidden."

Mike's update here seems even more insane than rejecting the app due to having some feeds pre-loaded.

And this part is new, no? You can't make an app that loads an URL inside that app?

It makes sense to me, at least to some extent. I'm not sure the quoted commenters above would be perfectly fine with a curator pulling in, filtering and sorting their content and then republishing it on another site with ads or selling access for money. Or maybe they are, but even then would *all* the feed owners feel the same.

There is probably some implicit permission to publish the content from a feed, but to take for granted that you also can sell it seems like a stretch of what you simply can assume.

"It makes sense to me, at least to some extent. I'm not sure the quoted commenters above would be perfectly fine with a curator pulling in, filtering and sorting their content and then republishing it on another site with ads or selling access for money. Or maybe they are, but even then would *all* the feed owners feel the same."

I honestly don't get the point you're making here. RSS feeds are public. They are created because their creators want folks to read them in RSS readers. This doesn't seem to be analogous to aggregating stories on a web site that you use to sell ads and thus take revenue away from the original creators in the least. Why on earth would any RSS feed creator conceivably not want to be included in a RSS reader that has starter entries?

What am I missing?

@Chucky The app in question is not "a RSS reader with starter entries". It is a service that offers a curated list of predefined feeds that are preprocessed (filtered and reordered) on its own server, where the end user is not able to add their own feeds to that process. (That is my understanding based on the creator stating that it isn't an option to let the end user add these feeds from a list of suggestions, or to also let them add custom feeds.) The content of the bundled feeds are part of the product sold here. To me that is a lot more like republishing on a web site than letting people add your feed to their general RSS reader.

Do you think the algorithm is able to (or even intended to) promote all sponsored posts from the feeds?

The solution Apple offered, to link to the source instead of republishing the content, is exactly what I would expect of a curated list on the web. So I have a hard time thinking it is "crazy" only because the monetization of others people's content is happening in an app.

Please note that I don't believe Mike Rundle is trying to screw the original authors. He seems like a nice guy that only tried to create a good product. But I do believe he accidentally stepped over a line here that I think Apple has drawn on sensible ground. They can't treat it on a nice guy/bad guy basis.

"The app in question is not "a RSS reader with starter entries". It is a service that offers a curated list of predefined feeds that are preprocessed (filtered and reordered) on its own server, where the end user is not able to add their own feeds to that process."

Thank you for clearing that up, Daniel.

I still don't think I agree with your conclusions, but at least I now understand the point you're making.

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