UPDATE (17:45 GMT, 09/04/13): AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlat has released a blog post addressing Apple's removal of AppGratis from the iOS App Store. Follow the link for a detailed account of events (from his perspective, of course) as he looks to reassure fans of the popular deals and discovery service that "even in dark times, every problem has a solution."
UPDATE (10:45 GMT, 09/04/13): Apple has confirmed that AppGratis was removed from the iOS App Store for two guideline violations, according to GigaOM. Like we thought, the deals and discovery service fell foul of rule 2.25, which states that: "Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected." In addition, Apple's app reviewers also felt AppGratis indulged in some dodgy Push Notification practices. AppGratis uses Push alerts to inform users of new app-of-the-day deals, which apparently violates guideline 5.6: "Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind." Well, that's that mystery solved then - what now remains to be seen is if AppGratis is able to develop a workaround that addresses the issues and enables the app to go live on the App Store again.
Apple has removed popular deals and discovery service AppGratis from the iOS App Store, according to recent reports.
Neither AppGratis or Apple has revealed the reason for the app's takedown, which was first reported by TechCrunch, though speculation points to the unexplained disappearance relating to an earlier change in iOS developer guidelines.
Founded in 2010, one of AppGratis' main functions is serving users with daily deals and promotions for third-party apps. Back in October 2012, Apple amended its App Review Guidelines to state: "Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected."
AppShopper, a service similar to AppGratis that notified users of deals and discounts, fell foul of the change and was removed from the App Store - it has yet to be reinstated.
However, AppGratis has sought to distance itself from such services. According to company CEO Simon Dawlat, AppGratis is more than just a deal trawling middleman - it's a discovery tool that's all about helping independent developers gain exposure and profit via its revenue-sharing deals.
Other reasons apps are typically removed from the App Store incude post-update crashes and the use of private APIs. Usually, when an app is pulled for such a violation, the developer quickly releases a patch to correct the infractions and the app goes live again.
AppGratis will hardly be thrilled by the takedown. The Paris-based service recently launched in the US, having completed a successful $13.5 million (£8.8m) funding drive in January, and currently boasts some 10 million iOS users across 120 countries.
Existing AppGratis owners have reported that their service is unaffected at present.