Last year, AppGratis launched an online petition a week after it was banned from Apple's App Store. The French app discovery service was recently accused of using black hat methods to artificially increase its rankings on Apple's charts.
AppGratis urged its thousands of users to protest Apple's decision. "Because more than 12 million people in the world use AppGratis, this story has been all around the planet," read a message on the company's website. "In an official statement ..., Apple said we violated two of its iOS Guidelines. But we know we haven't."
If the French company can't overturn Apple's decision, it could find itself locked out of the mobile app market and go bankrupt. On Monday, Simon Dawlat, CEO at AppGratis,wrote a blog post stating that Apple made a hasty decision. The CEO also admitted that he was shocked when he learned of Apple's decision.
Black Hat Methods
"Some people have been wildly speculating on whether or not we may have been using illegal tactics to secure more than 5 percent of the iOS marketshare in the US. As the CEO of a 45-person company, all who I’ve hired myself and deeply respect and care for, it’s pretty obvious that I would never have crossed Apple’s rules so foolishly," said Dawlat.
The company's protest has since gone viral. The initiative has accumulated more than 608,000 such messages. Although, if the black hat allegations are true, it's tough for some observers to believe AppGratis' official tally.
Apple said the software maker sent daily notifications to its users that caused some to confuse the AppGratis software with the official App Store. The whole incident has also brought questions as to whether or not some companies are gaming Apple's charts.
The Silicon Valley-based company has warned the marketplace not to embarrass or tarnish its brand. Apple's App Store Guidelines advises vendors, users, and outside parties not to "run to the press and trash us".
Apple's top 10 free apps in the United States are currently as follows:
- Rag Doll Blaster 2
- Stick Wars
- Bubble Shooter
- VLC Media Player
- Gun Bros
- Texas Poker
- Talking Roby the Robot
- Riddim Ribbon
- Toy Story 3 Memory Match
In terms of viral apps, the Nyan Cat video that skyrocketed in popularity on YouTube (95 million views) now has a social app. Since SocialSoft's launch of the software, Rainbow Cat has gotten almost one million installs. There's also a 10-hour version (22 million views) playing in a loop.