[UPDATE] Apple Changes the Event App Game... Again.


Posted by Sameer Mulla - 10 January, 2018


Apple has certainly started to clean up their App store and as part of that effort, they have created new guidelines. The original guidelines, calling for all event white-label apps to be rejected if submitted to the App store, caused a stir from association professionals and app developers alike. Apple listened to the concerns and within the past month, they have once again revised their guidelines.

4.2.6 Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected unless they are submitted directly by the provider of the app’s content. These services should not submit apps on behalf of their clients and should offer tools that let their clients create customized, innovative apps that provide unique customer experiences. Another acceptable option for template providers is to create a single binary to host all client content in an aggregated or “picker” model, for example as a restaurant finder app with separate customized entries or pages for each client restaurant, or as an event app with separate entries for each client event.

The primary goals of these guidelines continue to be protecting the App Store from phony, copy pasted apps, as well as limiting apps that have an extremely short shelf life - a one-off event app that is essentially rendered useless within a few weeks after the event. This keeps the app store from being cluttered of apps that are essentially a one-time use or quickly bundled copies of other apps.

Although this is a reprieve for event app providers, for the short term, it should serve as a warning to both, app providers as well as event app consumers. We will continue to be at Apple's mercy if they decide to be more firm at a later time. It is only in the best interests of all parties to really adapt apps to confirm to what Apple would like to see - Uniqueness and Continued Value.

To that end, here are some recommendations of how to plan for the longer term:

  • Plan for an app that is NOT JUST an event app.

Events can certainly be a piece of the app, but use this as an opportunity to see what else you could provide to your members. Adding features for non-attendees (member directory, profile or member card access etc.) would ensure a 365 day app and could also be an additional sponsorship ($$) source.

  • Your app is structured to support multiple events. 

ALL events must flow into the same app for your organization. This is sort of a requirement now, but having an app that automatically pulls all events would make it easier for both, attendees as well as staff. Less work on pushing the app out each time - staff would just need to ensure the data is in the right place for the app to pull at the right time.

  • Your app is "owned and registered" to your association, not the developer.

Creating an organization level app would make the most sense, but even if it is a just a multi-event app, registering the account in your name is a requirement now. Having an organization level app under the organization would just help increase your brand recognition and ease of search.

Still have questions about the future of apps and the App Store?

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Topics: Mobile Engagement

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