Monthly Archives: June 2010

New Rules from Apple on “Keywords”

Add this one to our list of reasons to get rejected by the iPhone app approval team.  Here’s the whole sordid story.

In the early days of the app store, everything in your description of the app (5500 character limit) was indexed as part of the search, and you could change that at any time.  Obviously, some people (including  us) would abuse this fact and include things in the description that don’t really apply to the app, but are commonly searched in the app store.  Our best example of this is the genius description that Fisher the Swisher wrote for iLogan (our X-Men inspired claw app that was ripped from the store by Marvel faster than you can say “Adamantium”).

Just think of all the people you could maul…. Here’s a short list:

….Amy Winehouse, Superman, Popeye, Bluto, Kermit the Frog, Osama Bin Laden, George Bush, Harry Potter, Star Trek Trekkies, the whole cast of “The View”, Perez Hilton, Wesley Snipes, Chuck Norris, Madonna, Alex Rodriguez, your wife, my wife, Ashton kutcher, Mel Gibson, … etc etc etc

And that’s why Fish makes the big bucks.  The more questionable (and less hilarious) version of this was people saying “Great for people who like XXX,XXX” where they would just list the top 20 apps.

Apple quickly (and rightfully) locked this down, and instead of indexing the descriptions, they started to index only the title of the app and a set of keywords.  Furthermore, they limited the keywords to 100 characters, and they are only available for update when you update the app.  Apple keeps pretty tight control over those keywords, and you’ll get rejected for putting anything that is either unrelated or copyrighted in the keyword field.

The name of the app became even more important, and so we (and others) figured out that you could put your most important keywords in the title of the app.  “Animoticons” became Animoticons + Emoji | Animations for Animated MMS Messaging”.

Apparently, this loophole is now closed.  Here’s a notification that we just received for our 4.0 based texting app formerly called “Quick Text | From Work to Sexy Fun | Automatic MMS”:

Thank you for submitting Quick Text to the App Store.  We’ve reviewed Quick Text and determined that we cannot post this version of your iPhone application to the App Store because your app name contains keywords.  iTunes Connect now supports Keywords under Manage My Applications to allow developers to establish application search criteria.  Please remove all keywords from your app name and enter them in the iTunes Connect Keywords field.  Once you have done so, please resubmit your binary for review <>.

Best Regards,

App Review Team
iPhone Developer Program

I can’t say that I blame them.

P.J. the Pony