News Addict removed from iTunes

Well today I had to make the difficult decision to remove News Addict from the iTunes app store. 

Unfortunately I guess many of the major news websites no longer want apps linking to their web sites via iPhone applications.  Basically News Addict was just a nice way to keep all your news links in one place as we linked to mobile versions of your favorite news sites with a simple fast browser.  Bookmarking has always been something that was acceptable and even encouraged until this point.  After all if you are a news site, your goal should be getting more people reading your content and viewing your ads. I guess now these media organizations have dreams of subscription models and we all know how that’s going to turn out.

So anyway today I was asked to remove NY Times, USA Today, BBC, CNN, ABC, Fox News, Wallstreet Journal, and the Economist.  I was nicely given the option of releasing an updated version of the application with these links removed.  After some thought, I decided this just wouldn’t be fair to current users of the app.  If I push an update through, everyone is going to lose those links.  So I decided instead to remove the application. 

I don’t blame Apple.  They are just doing what they have to do when they get cease and desist orders from news organizations.  The solution they gave me was really the only option available to them.

I am very proud that News Addict has remained in the top 20 of the News category since it was released.  It was also one of the few News apps to break the top 100 paid apps list.  It was a fun ride for my first app.

Keep up with real-time breaking news on your iPhone with News Addict

News Addict Iphone AppUse your iPhone to keep up with breaking news from over 40 of your favorite print, television or online sources – such as USA Today, The New York Times, Digg, CNN and Fox News – with Tapmode’s News Addict.

News Addict’s clear interface helps users find stories fast from news Web sites formatted for the iPhone. You can easily scroll through pages by simply tilting your iPhone.

“I developed News Addict to fill a need that I had to regularly check news sites from my iPhone,” said developer Jeff McMorris of Tapmode. “I wanted a browser that was very intuitive to use, with the ability to scroll the page by tilting the screen to make one-handed reading easier.”

Consistently ranked in the top 20 for the News category at the iPhone store, News Addict packs a lot of punch for just 99 cents. A unique full-screen browsing experience provides 25 percent more screen real estate than iPhone’s Safari.

To download News Addict, please visit: http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewSoftware?id=318726874&mt=8

For more details about News Addict, see http://www.tapmode.com

About News Addict: Browse your favorite news Web sites in full-screen mode. Optimized for the iPhone and mobile browsing. A steal at only 99 cents.

Contact:

TapMode

marketing@tapmode.com

http://www.tapmode.com

Promo codes are available for reviewers.  Email your request to: marketing@tapmode.com

I wrote a long detailed post about the effectiveness of buying my AdMob ads.  I had contacted admob about it.  Well it seems they wrote their own blog post about the average conversion rates they see for admob ads.  I don’t feel the need to post mine anymore as long as this post is available.

All developers thinking of buying traffic from AdMob, take a good look at the 1% conversion rate for clickthroughs they have posted for paid apps.  Then decide for yourself whether this is effective for your own app in any ad buys you make.

Nice post about the different ways to pass data between views.

A good way to add the sqlite framework to your project. See the updated way in the linked tutorial: “use the other linker flags setting in the the Build tab of the Project settings to link to the SQLite library instead of using the framework method. You can do this by adding the -lsqlite3 flag to that field”.

News Addict 1.2 Approved!

Well news addict has finally been approved at the 17+ rating.  I really hope this doesn’t hurt sales. I added a bunch of new sites that have been requested.  The big new secret feature was tilt scrolling.  I hope everyone likes it.   This is similar to instapaper’s tilt scrolling.  If you haven’t used that app be sure to check it out.  It’s one of my favorites.

Anyway I am hard at work on the next version of News Addict 1.3.  Version 1.3 will add the ability to add/edit and remove icons.  There are actually 14 distinct features required to do this along with a couple of server side components I need to build.  This update will actually be much larger than all the code I have written so far, so I believe it will take me a while to complete. Anyway look for that next.

Resubmitted at 17+

Well I see some other developers saying their apps are being required to be listed at 17+.  So I have decided to just bite the bullet and list mine at 17+ also.  Quite frankly this is completely stupid and a hack on Apple’s part.  They need a new option under ratings instead.  They need the option “Does this application allow access to the internet that you do not specifically control the content of?”  You would check yes or no.  This would not change the rating of the app itself.  Then parent’s could filter apps based on not allowing apps which provide access to the internet.

Right now Apple is forcing me to rate my application artificially high so it can handle situations in my app that are unlikely to exist and it was never designed for.  The current system is just going to confuse users with warnings for apps that don’t have the content that apple is trying to block.

News Addict rejected again

Well News Addict has been rejected again.  Apparently I must rate the app at 17+ and maybe then I will be accepted. Apple told me my app provides unrestricted access to the internet.  However I only allow access to specific news sites so its far from open access to the internet.  A user can’t even type a url in my News app.  If I have to rate News Addict at 17+, it means every app that provides any kind of internet access will soon have to offer a 17+ rating or face possible rejection.

Browsing around iTunes, I looked at other similar apps.  All of my competitor news apps are rated 4+ and are allowed in the store.  I even looked at browser replacement apps, they all are rated at 4+ even though these allow true unrestricted access to the internet.  Even the “iPron private browser” made to specifically browse content that may fit the 17+ rating has a 4+ rating.

The problem with rating all these apps at 17+ is the rating system is not useful for parents and makes users wonder what the issue is with an app.  Twitter clients 17+… Facebook 17+… News Apps 17+…  Instant messaging 17+… Social Apps 17+… Drawing apps 17+… (I could draw something obscene…) Games with Leader boards 17+… (no telling what gamer tags people will be using).

I also tested out parental blocking.  Even if you decide to block all your apps, apple’s safari and other apps are still accessible.  Apple provides separate controls for disabling those.  So if a parent uses parental blocking only, the rating system is pretty much worthless without also manually blocking apple’s own built in apps one at a time.

Apple needs to rate apps based on what they actually contain not what they might be used for.  This is the equivalent of putting 17+ ratings on TV sets because they have the potential to play R rated movies.

Yep Apple still hates me.

Well its official apple still hates me.  Seems they rejected the update again even after I was told they were going to re-review it.  I get the same form message I originally got in the rejection.  So I am not even sure if anything new went into the re-review process like taking into consideration my comments.  Anyway I am going to try once again to at least get a 12+ rating.  I really have no understanding as to why my app requires a 17+ rating.

[UPDATE: well apple still wants me to rate it 17+.  So basically now every app that provides any kind of access to the internet can be considered 17+?]

Resubmitted News Addict 1.2

Well I resubmitted News Addict. I also went ahead and put it at 12+ rating. Maybe its for the best as I had a couple of bug fixes since the original submission that will be included provided of course that it actually makes it through the approval process.

I spent a good day figuring a way to make the BBC news website text bigger.  I have more functionality in my app than other similar news apps so that’s what caused this trouble in the first place.  You will notice in my app that if you go to a full size page you have the ability to pinch, zoom and double tap around the page like with mobile safari.  The other news apps as far as I know, can’t do this.  But as a side effect it causes the BBC page to look wrong because the BBC didn’t design their page properly for the iPhone.  Well after a day of trying a bunch of ideas, I finally got it working.  Anyway it’s little stuff like this that the average user would have no concept that anything special had to be done.  I also want News Addict to be the best browser for mobile content so it’s why I refused to sacrifice functionality anywhere even if you may not use the pinch and zoom features now.  I believe many more users will need this functionality once I allow the ability to add your own news sites.

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