How To Fool Apple's Arbitrary App Censors: Make Your App Look Cute

from the it's-all-about-appearances dept

Chris Wilcox, from Alkali Media, sends in (without a link, forcing us to go searching…) his story about his company created a somewhat crude iPhone app called (appropriately) “Crudebox.” The app is nothing special — just a sound box of semi-crude noises, not unlike some other apps out there. They were a bit surprised when the app was rejected for “objectionable” material. So, they reskinned the interface, to make it look a lot nicer, called it Prudebox and resubmitted it. The actual app (and all the sounds) were identical. And… of course, in Apple’s arbitrary wisdom, they approved the new app and added it to the iPhone App Store.

crudetoprude_ss
So, apparently the lesson for those of you who have had Apple’s arbitrary app censors reject your app: just reskin it to make it look less threatening.

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Companies: alkali media

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Comments on “How To Fool Apple's Arbitrary App Censors: Make Your App Look Cute”

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30 Comments
Periphera says:

"Reskinning" can make a difference

I’m not trying to argue that Apple isn’t being arbitrary here, but this seems like a poor case to call them out on.

Changing “Vomit” to “Sicky”, “Wet Fart” to “Big Toot”, “Peeing” to “Piddle”, etc. are the standard sort of shifts you would expect to get around being too crude/offensive.

Sure, changing the labels without changing the sound effects is a pretty shallow shift, but it does make the app less “objectionable”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: "Reskinning" can make a difference

Changing “Vomit” to “Sicky”, “Wet Fart” to “Big Toot”, “Peeing” to “Piddle”, etc. are the standard sort of shifts you would expect to get around being too crude/offensive.

It’s exactly what you would do to make something “cuter”, which is what the article said.

JT says:

Re: Re:

I’m glad you didn’t either. The other 15,000+ apps available wouldn’t fill your void that CrudeBox would.

I’ve never been much on Apple because of pricing, I looked at MacBooks and laughed at the price. However, after they dropped the price on the iPhone I was happy to pick one up. AT&T hasn’t been too bad either which was my main drawback when I did buy it. It does pretty much everything I was looking for and I looked at and read about a lot of phones for several months. Personally, I can live without CrudeBox… PrudeBox, for that matter.

Overcast says:

it’s not the appearance, try the vulgarity. The original had peeing, fart, vomit, etc. Approved one labeled them less crudely

Yeah, but the point is – why is Apple trying to dictate what apps you can load on your phone? It’s a joke app – crude is what it’s supposed to be.

It’s past the point of ‘protecting the stability’ of the phone or whatever. It’s more or less “corporate socialism”.

JT says:

Re: Re:

Because they own the app store? I agree, for the most part, about the content. It’s not that bad, a bit gross in a few spots but not that bad.

A more suitable argument would be to ask Apple to provide something like the ESRB if there were a demand for it. Then again I don’t really look for stuff like this. I picked up a few soundboards like “That’s What She Said” that just fell flat because it’s not Michael Scott and really isn’t funny without The Office context…obviously copyright issues there.

JT says:

Slow Day?

I really don’t see these as completely sick. I guess wet fart is a bit gross sounding. What I really don’t get why Techdirt even posted it, slow day?

Mike, you usually have a decent argument whether I agree or not and if the labels were named the same I could probably see that point but they were changed. Put the same labels on PrudeBox or keep the Crudebox interface with the new labels and see what happens. It’s a bit misleading since it just says “they reskinned the interface, to make it look a lot nicer” without any mention of the labels. You have to look at the, slightly hard to read, images to realize they were changed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Slow Day?

Put the same labels on PrudeBox or keep the Crudebox interface with the new labels and see what happens.

The labels are part of the interface. If you put the CrudeBox labels on the PrudeBox it wouldn’t be the PrudeBox.

It’s a bit misleading since it just says “they reskinned the interface, to make it look a lot nicer” without any mention of the labels.

Considering that the labels are part of the interface, then how’s that? Heck, he even included pictures of both interfaces with their labels, and you’re saying that it was misleading? Give me a break, fan boi.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Slow Day?

Considering that the labels are part of the interface, then how’s that? Heck, he even included pictures of both interfaces with their labels, and you’re saying that it was misleading? Give me a break, fan boi.

I’m anti-Apple all the way (I only say this to keep off any “fan-boi” attack), but I have to agree with the person you are responding to. We have no clue what the reasons for not accepting the app were. It could have been the green drippy buttons, or the name of the app, but it could also have been the terms on those buttoms (“Wet Fart” etc).

If the developer had JUST changed those strings, would the app have been accepted drippy buttons and all? It’s not “arbitrary” to decline an app because it contains a string that is deemed inapropriate as much as it would be to decline it because it has green drippy buttons.

Regardless of what we think is right, Apple does own and run the store. Anything that is sold there, regardless of who it is developed for reflects upon Apple first. They even push this as a selling point. The commercials for the iPhone with their “… there’s an app for that” forward the idea that it is these 3rd party apps that make the iPhone such a great device. Perhaps they’ve decided that “toot” is okay, but “wet fart” is not. You might say that it is “arbitrary” but we all draw a line somewhere, they just choose to be more conservative.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Slow Day?

Regardless of what we think is right, Apple does own and run the store.

Who said otherwise? Strawman down.

Anything that is sold there, regardless of who it is developed for reflects upon Apple first.

Then Apple sure must be a bad company because there are a lot of things there that aren’t very nice, including PrudeBox. Eh?

JT says:

Re: Re: Re: Slow Day?

I’ve never been much on Apple either (see a previous response to someone else). I think their prices are ridiculous and I’m glad to see the pricing brought out in the recent “I’m a PC” ads running.

I do like the phone though and the drops in pricing worked for me. Still love my Zune too. But apparently if you own a device from a particular company you’re a “fan boi” but I get a cool spelling.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Slow Day?

But apparently if you own a device from a particular company you’re a “fan boi” but I get a cool spelling.

Nah, “fan boi” is a title you have to earn, like by being defensive of criticism of your adopted consumer product or company, often times to the point of even mischaracterizing such criticism. Congratulations.

David says:

A quick question about apple iphone downloader/purchaser user app data?

Not sure where to post this, as I’m new to this. Quick question for iphone app developers/people who are in the know…

Do apple developers/app writers get access to any consumer information (like e-mail address) for people who download their apps?

Thank you.

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