Not a week goes by where I don’t get get a rejection from Apple
To give you some background, I first submitted my I May Be Late app for review back in January. The 26th of January 2012 to be precise. Apple initially rejected my app for reasons I didn’t quite fully understand and I just resubmitted it, thinking it was a problem with my server side code that caused rejection. A full week later and my app was rejected again. I reached out into the developer community for advice and found the reason for the rejection. It was related to in-app purchases and external payment mechanisms.
I fixed everything, removing the offending links and submitted the app again. You can read the full story of this in this blog post.
Yesterday evening, Apple again rejected my app, citing the same reason, but this time indicating that my metadata was at fault!
11.13 Apps that link to external mechanisms for purchases or subscriptions to be used in the app, such as a “buy” button that goes to a web site to purchase a digital book, will be rejected
The metadata is where you provide a description of your app, including links to help, marketing and privacy pages. I immediately assumed it was because I mentioned the Pro account in this description, but I do mention the Pro account in the app too.
I quickly adjusted the metadata anyway, removing the mention of the Pro account and submitted the updated version. Thankfully this didn’t require the submission of a new binary. I’m also assuming that because of this, the binary itself is okay!
At 1.37 AM this morning, my app was again rejected for the same reason as before. This time they included a snippet of the metadata and it showed the actual web addresses that I gave. As with the app, it’s not possible to show any links to the site at all, since the site offers a PayPal payment mechanism.
With a huff and a hiss, I removed all links to www.imaybelate.com and all imaybelate.com all email address from the description body. I then went as far as changing the links to the support, marketing and privacy pages to point to tomasmcguinness.com. It’s worth pointing out that the links to support and privacy pages are mandatory within the metadata, so URLs must be entered. However, these links would bring you to a site that offers external payments, so rather than risk rejection again, I just changed them.
As of 8.27AM the app is again in review.
I can fully understand Apple’s stance on this matter. They make tonnes of money from content channels, pure and simple. They protect the revenue from these channels with all their might. I do, however, object to their position on external payment mechanisms, especially since they don’t provide an alternative. Sure, they have in-app purchase, but it doesn’t offer monthly payments or subscription based payments for anything except newspapers and magazines. What they are saying amounts to “we don’t offer a monthly subscription service so you can’t use anyone else’s”.
That sounds a lot like monopolistic anti-competitive behaviour to me…
On the 6th of Jan, I sent out a request on twitter asking people to give me feedback on IMayBeLate.com. I had done the design of the site myself and, to be honest, I was feeling pretty smug. And boy-oh-boy did I get a kick in the proverbial pants!
The tweet I sent was this:
@tomasmcguinness: Looking for some quick, honest feedback on design of http://www.imaybelate.com like or hate?
Over the course of about an hour, I got some responses. Even @shanselmantook the time to reply to my tweet!
“@ev2000: Concept good – but really needs a designer’s finesse….”
“@NathanGloyn: I get that its supposed to be like the tube, the sign up looks cramped, it should be a call to action nice and clear”
“@keith_d99: Looks good Tom – I like it!”
“@shanselman: subway concept is great, as a concept. Execution is jarring.”
“@TaraTWalsh: quite like it, it’s busy but I think it fits 😀 well done”
“@eslsys: the basic concept is pretty good but the execution is poor,too much clutter and fonts,colours wrong “
“@paults89: header looks good, but body needs a bit of a re-design, the sign up section looks squashed when using iPhone browser.”
Whilst there are a few kind comments in there, the overall feedback was “terrible design”. This did, I’ll admit, upset me. I had put a lot of effort into the design and even more into the crafting of the CSS. However, I’m a big boy, so I decided on the advice of @shanselman that I should hire a designer – http://www.hanselman.com/blog/HireAndPayADesignerAndBeHappy.aspx
This site was recommended to me by my fiancé (who is a graphic designer, but let’s not go there). I uploaded a brief and one week later I have a new design that I’m very happy with. It hasn’t cost me the earth either (another motive for doing this myself was to save money). I’m still waiting for final sign-off, but that should happen in the next day or two.
This is one instance of the old adage – surround yourself with people who are good at things you aren’t.
I hope it pays off!
Work is progressing nicely with my first Windows Phone 7 app. This app is a companion to my new London Underground related application, www.imaybelate.com, which I’m hoping to launch in the next week or two.
Here are some screenshots of the app that I took yesterday.
I’m using the Sync Framework 4.0 to keep the app in sync with the applications database. Aside from a few small issues, this is working out very well and it has saved me considerable work in that I didn’t have to write any API code. I have a few things left to fix. The Status screen needs more information presented and the Journeys list needs some more tweaking.
I’ve also got to work out how to deal with the “Light” background setting of Windows Phone 7. It makes the display of the Northern Line easier though
I even have a basic logo, which I’m sure TFL will sue for using:
All feedback is welcomed and if you haven’t checked out www.imaybelate.com, please do so! Especially if you’re a London Underground user.