iOS version of Pic-a-POD going to be free

Last time, I wrote that Apple had informed me that “the review process will require additional time” for Pic-a-POD for iOS. Since then, I have found that this translates to “our lawyers are looking into it”.

Pic-a-POD has been rejected twice now for “Use of protected 3rd party material”. I think my initial mistake was setting up in-app purchases. While I believe this to be the best way to get people to buy an app (giving a crippled version away for free and then charging to unlock features), it made it appear that I was giving away the app and then charging for access to someone else’s photos.

So after the first rejection, I changed the app to a paid app (99 cents) with no in-app purchases, but that was rejected too – again after the additional review time.

Yesterday afternoon, to my great surprise, I got a phone call from Apple. I live in Australia, but they had taken the trouble to work out time zones and call me during Australian business hours. Melissa from Apple explained that basically the problem was me charging for access to other peoples’ photos. So she offered 2 possible solutions: make the app free or remove access to 3rd party sites. Obviously Pic-a-POD cannot operate without the 3rd party sites, so I have decided I have to make the app free.

I was very impressed with Apple’s direct contact. The rejection notices were very generic and both were identical. This meant that I didn’t really know what the exact problem was and what I could do to fix it. Melissa from Apple was able to sort this out in a very helpful and pleasant way. Apple gets a lot of negative press with their review policies, but although I have been rejected several times, I have found them helpful and polite.

I was charging a nominal sum purely in the hope of covering the costs of being in the App Store. Now I will have to rely on the Mac version (which did get through Apple’s review process), to pay the costs for both apps. And it is always possible that Apple will reject the Mac version at some stage.

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