Every app store faces the problem of being filled with clone apps of popular titles. How often do you see an app like “Temple Run Guide” among the top ranks of new and rising apps or sometimes even among the all time top apps? These kinds of apps are mostly paid apps with no trial and have their app logo exactly same as the original title, tricking the user into believing it to be the original title.
How an app store handles such a problem, generally defines how easily users are able to find the right quality app and what perception users make of the quality of apps in the app store. Lately, Microsoft has been accused of ignoring this quality control and allowing its app store to be filled with “Facebook” clone apps and other clone apps on popular titles (as shown in screenshot below for Temple Run).
However, recently Microsoft has started taking actions against such apps. One of the first steps they took was to change its app store search to give less importance to such clone apps. Now they have announced a policy update which restricts submission of such apps to a certain extent.
These policy updates are described in simple words and with examples below.
Microsoft will no longer accept an app such as “Temple Run Guide” into a game category and would expect it to be placed in a category like books and reference.
App Naming Guidance
An app title needs to clearly and accurately reflect the functionality of the app so customers know what they’re downloading. Revised policies restrict name of other popular title or game to be used as first word.
Following app titles should no longer pass certification:
- Temple Run Guide, Subway Surfer Cheats, Skype Features etc. (NOPE)
Following app titles are OK as per the new guidance:
- Guide for Temple Run, Cheats for Subway Surfer, Features for Skype etc. (OK)
As per the new Icon guidance, using same or closely resembling icons will also be no longer acceptable. One needs to differentiate their own app icons from icons for other apps. An example of such guidance is shown below:
Let’s hope that the above policy changes are implemented strictly and the existing apps that are infringing on trademarks and logos are also brought to meet these updated terms. In case you have any such apps, it is advisable that you change the app name, category and logo as per the new guidelines before Microsoft fails certification on your next app update or pulls it entirely.