When AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlat spoke out about AppGratis being pulled from the App Store, he said he was shocked about the reasons the app was pulled. We learned today via marketing emails forwarded to us from potential clients of AppGratis what the real reason it was pulled could be.
With over 12 million users when the app was pulled, AppGratis had a bit of a mob going with their app. The large number of users allowed them to drive massive numbers of downloads to a targeted app quickly. It called this ability to drive large amounts of downloads at a rapid pace "bursting." Bursting allowed them to make the app rise in the charts at sometimes phenomenal rates. In the slide below, from late last year, they show off a few of their successful campaigns.
The large number of users gave AppGratis effective control of the App Store Top 10 Free Apps list. To grow that number of users organically is a commendable thing. But to use that control to sell top 10 placement on the App Store is unquestionably bad for the App Store ecosystem.
In an email forwarded to me by one potential customer of AppGratis, the sales representative touts:
With around 4 million users we reach high amount of downloading that translates in to the best top list rankings on the App Store.
The sales rep goes on to list the countries that AppGratis has enough users in to push an app to the top charts and the position on the charts those users can drive.
Apple has made moves in the past to keep the App Store, especially the top 10 lists, as organic as possible. This recent move comes as no surprise, especially in the light of AppGratis selling their influence on the top 10 list on a per install basis.
We've contacted AppGratis' PR agency for comment, but at the time of this writing we have yet to hear back. We've also contacted Apple for comment. We'll update or follow up with another post if we hear back.