Apple bans secret admirers from App Store


12 Feb 2010

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An iPhone app designed for secret admirers to anonymously send e-cards to the objects of their affections has been the latest to be turned down from the App Store.

Ronan Higgins, co-founder of Irish iPhone dev firm Appsie, said that Apple last night rejected the ‘Secret Valentine’ app last night because "it allows users to anonymously send emails and/or wrongly identifies the email sender (known as spoofing)."

"So, essentially it’s not possible to show your love as a secret admirer through the App Store," sums up Higgins.

The greater issue of course, he says, is not the failure to anonymously woo through your iPhone but that this is indicative of the difficulty many developers run up against when creating iPhone and iPod touch applications.

"I think Apple does not want anonymity because it is too easy to use maliciously: bullying, hate mail, spam. However, we informed Apple that we moderate all Secret Valentine e-cards sent and our App Store listing was very clear that we do this and that do not tolerate any hate mail or bullying," he adds.

In researching apps that were similarly rejected, Higgins found that ones such as ‘SpoofApp’ may not be available for iPhone users but are available on Android and BlackBerry devices through the official Android and BlackBerry World stores, respectively.

"App rejection is going to be an ongoing issue for developers trying to second guess the powers that be in Cupertino. There are moves afoot to try and extract sense out of it all, such as the http://apprejections.com/ website," he added.

Higgins will be speaking about mobile apps and the App Store at the Media 2020 conference in Croke Park on 27 April. His focus will be on how the App Store fits in with the open web’s disruption of traditional media/content/publisher business models.

By Marie Boran

Photo: A screenshot of the rejected ‘Secret Valentine’ app