Several people contacted me today about this matter, for example Eknath:
Apple has been unjust to Oliver.
They just approved this app. “Sales Tracker” and not only did they approve it, they put it in featured apps. Very unfair.
I think we should make the noise in dev forums about his.
While I had known about “Sales Tracker” since it made it into the store today we made the heart-wrenching discovery that this competiting app also was made a featured app. Being on the front page of the app store is in all likelyhood a very lucrative stroke of luck for it’s maker.
Of course I resubmitted MyAppSales right after Sales Tracker appeared on the store. Only to get rejected once again a week thereafter.
I called the US landline of Apple Developer Support to find out that I have two avenues of progressing. I could either write to the Review Team to aiming to get my own app passed, or I could write to the App Store Notices Team to get the other apps pulled. I chose the former, read my e-mail to learn why I think this is better.
From: Oliver Drobnik
Date: Tue, 05 May 2009 20:32:26 +0200
To: iPhone Developer Program
Subject: My App rejected while similar app approved AND featured
I feel treated extremely unfair by your review team and I am writing this e-mail hoping that you can bring to light the reasons for it. I am hoping for getting information on how to change my app so that you will permit it into the app store. Until now I have been only getting a quote of 3.3.7 which does not help at all in making the necessary changes to get approved.
You might be aware that all developers have the problem worldwide that daily sales reports are only available on iTunesConnect for 7 days. So many of the developers who have apps on the store are investigating and devising methods of automating downloading of those elusive reports. There are desktop based methods (AppVize), server based (scripts on Google code, several web sites gear up to launch) and at least 4 iPhone apps, two of which were approved. I found that there is a great need for a mobile app that collects iTunes App Sales Reports in a SQLite database on your device so that you can quickly check on the previous day’s sales while you are on the go.
Before I started development of MyAppSales there only was a project on Google Code but since then several such apps have been developed.
The first few times when I submitted MyAppSales I did not get back any tangible reason, it was only after several rounds that I started to get such e-mails:
Thank you for submitting your application to the App Store. Unfortunately, your application My App Sales cannot be added to the App Store because it violates section 3.3.7 of the iPhone SDK Agreement:
“Applications may not use any robot, spider, site search or other retrieval application or device to scrape, retrieve or index services provided by Apple or its licensors, or to collect information about users for any unauthorized purpose. ”
There is no public API allowing information from iTunes Connect to be used in the manner demonstrated by your application.
We understand Apple’s wish to protect it’s data and users. But we don’t understand why several other apps have been passed by the review team and the latest such app even managed to become a featured app!
The two other apps that have made it are:
In my opinion that rejection text you blessed me with fully applies also to both of these other applications. This tells me that there must be a way how I can modify my application logic to achieve your coveted approval.
Please provide information as to what changes you are looking for in MyAppSales so give it the nod. Should I put my own web server inbetween the app and iTunesConnect? Should I get the reports from FTP and let the user worry about getting the reports to this FTP Server (probably again by means of a script)? To my knowledge all passed apps are simulating user input via HTTPS to log into itts.apple.com to retrieve the daily and weekly sales reports. Just like mine.
Clearly there is a tremendous need for such applications. That’s why the makers of the above mentioned apps can ask for 15-20 Dollars. That’s premium! That’s also why lots of people are submitting feature requests for a public API to download their reports to the Apple Bug Reporting site. Having such an API that Apple controls would even out the chances again. And it would underline Apple’s leadership in developer support.
My goal is to have my app passed to compete on equal footing with other such apps. There is a need for it. But there needs to be fairness so that developers can compete on merit of their apps and not on who outwitted Apple the best.
This is why I wrote to this e-mail address instead of the appstorenotices one. I am only slightly jealous of the tons of money the other devs are making. But having them pulled would not serve the greater good in the long term. Instead I want to find out why I am getting seemingly treated unfairly and (hopefully that is not the case) remedy what’s problematic.