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Apple Blocks Promo Codes for Mature-rated iPhone Apps

The iPhone and iPod touch App Store may be popular with consumers, but some developers aren't so happy now that Apple is blocking them from distributing promotional license codes for applications rated as 17+, or "mature." The limitation restricts developers from giving away copies of their applications -- even for review purposes -- if the app includes or can access content that Apple deems suitable only for mature audiences.

Information about the mature restriction came anonymously from an iPhone app developer, according to TUAW.

On first glance, the promo code limitation seems to be an issue only for applications that depict typical "adult" themes such as sexual content or violence, offensive language, or drugs and alcohol references. The problem is those restrictions apparently extend to any application that has the potential to expose users to mature content, including apps that display content from the Internet. summed up the problem for developers by saying "Assuming Apple applies their standards on what constitutes 'unfiltered internet content' somewhat uniformly, this will affect, among others, any subsequent versions of Instapaper, every Twitter and Tumblr client that can show others’ content, every RSS reader, every Flickr client, every instant-messaging client (remember, text profanity counts), every social-networking client, and most ebook readers."

In other words, the apps that many iPhone and iPod touch users would most like to see reviewed or given as prizes in contest are off limits.

The limitations Apple's product rating system impose look to be another part of the ever growing and changing App Store that needs review and refinement. Hopefully Apple will find a way to address the issue before it becomes a serious problem for developers trying to promote their applications.

3 comments from the community.

You can post your own below.

ChoMomma said:

Apple really needs to realize that censoring the content that apps can provide is not their job. It is in the customers hands what they purchase and run from the app store and Apple just needs to make sure that they app runs correctly and does not violate any technical guidelines.


Lance Drake said:

Well - here we are again - where our society has decided “It’s OK to disembowel, dismember, decapitate, and destroy human life - but NOT OK to look at the human body or consider aspects of sexuality”.



Nookster said:

Well, then Apple had better do the right thing and immediately pull Safari, Mail, Messages, iPod and Phone from the next firmware release, I received some right filth via all of those apps, and sent some too.


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