Vincent Ritter

Gluon, an Apple App Store rejection

Last Friday I put in Gluon for review to the App Store. It went into review 30 minutes later. It was pretty great.

I woke up Saturday morning with a message saying that Gluon was rejected. Fair enough… it happens. However, the points they raised were strange to me.

So making a change to the login screen, I resubmitted the update - not knowing that it will also close the open ticket in the Resolution Centre. It went back into review that evening, this time they took 3 - 4 hours to run through the tests.

Again I woke up with a rejection. With one point still being on there, and another found. So I decided to write a longer reply to them with some great examples and background information. I did not submit a new build this time around and waited for Apple to reply.

Sure enough, I got a reply yesterday saying they will call me. Today they did and I spoke to Kelley who, I’m guessing, is/was my reviewer. Nice lady for sure.

However, she only quoted the points and gave me blank responses - which is fair enough, it’s Apple. I know they’re not allowed to comment or talk out of terms, or perhaps show compassion. Which is a huge shame considering what they stand for.

So now I’m sitting here, with tears in my eyes. Cold sweat, shaking, stomach cramp. Crying.

So it is with a very heavy heart to say that Gluon will not make it to the App Store any time soon. There is no wrong doing with the app, it is more on point on what they want me to include in the app. The most unfair thing is that similar apps don’t need to do it apparently. I didn’t mention names, I’m not like that - I was more puzzled and asked questions why this is so (only to get… well… a blank response).

Here is what Apple want me to implement, because the app allows “user-generated content”:

Your app enables the display of user-generated content but does not have the proper precautions in place.

Next Steps

To resolve this issue, please revise your app to implement all of the following precautions:

- Require that users agree to terms (EULA) and these terms must make it clear that there is no tolerance for objectionable content or abusive users
- A method for filtering objectionable content
- A mechanism for users to flag objectionable content
- A mechanism for users to block abusive users
- The developer must act on objectionable content reports within 24 hours by removing the content and ejecting the user who provided the offending content

So, this means I have to build a full backend to facilitate this. And not because these features don’t exist within the Micro.blog API, but because Gluon allows the viewing and generation of this content.

Kelley said I should feedback this to my team so we can come up with a plan. I am only one person!

As you can see, this is an impossible task for me. There is a lot of things I have to incorporate including a full process and backend for doing exactly that. (outside of Micro.blog itself)

This is… insanely unfair, frustrating and heart breaking.

I started Gluon just over a year ago in the hopes to bring something really great to the Micro.blog eco-system. But now, this dream has been stopped. Crushed.

I really don’t know how I feel about it. I poured my heart and soul into Gluon… not to mention many hours/weeks/months/year of work. I created a website in anticipation of the launch. I registered a domain name for the app. I created all the content and screenshots. I did everything right.

I don’t know what the next steps are. I really don’t. I’m full of different emotions, which I’m observing. Writing this post certainly is helping to let me deal with this at the moment.

One more point they flagged up was that I used the “Micro.blog” name within my App name and/or subtitle. Apparently you’re not allowed to use trademarked names. “Tweet*** 5 for Twitter”, “Chi** for Twitter”… I can go on. So I would have to use “Gluon” - but you know… that’s naturally taken.

I get that Apple is protecting the end-user here, I really do… and I do understand. But where I’m sitting, the App Store is not a level playing field - and it’s a huge shame.

… what next you ask?

I really don’t know. I guess I’ll continue to update the TestFlight build as I go.

For Android fans… it’s available and public now in the PlayStore. You can go to the website to find out more.

Shaking a little less.

At least I learned massively from the project so far, I’ll give it that.

For you Apple nerds, I’m sorry.

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