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Apple demands name changes, rejects Flappy Bird-inspired apps [UPDATE]

by on February 17, 2014
 

flappybird

Update: AMAXIM APPS have given me some more information regarding Apple’s request.

“First, our game Flappy Valentine was approved by Apple on 2/12. In just 3 days after the approval, when the game was downloaded by about 100,000 users, we got a notice from Apple that we sent you before. I don’t think our users were ever confused about the fact that this is not the original Flappy Bird game. Asking to clarify what word in the app name they did not like, they did not answer the request. Without the answer, we changed the name of the game anyway because we worried about [the] 24-hour deadline, and submitted the app to [the] iTunes Store. It was approved in record short time – 12 hours. We never had such fast approvals before from Apple. And now it is in the App Store. We still did not get the answer from Apple to our request…”

I’ve contacted Apple again and will update the post if it responds.

Original story:

Apple is cracking down on the slew of Flappy Bird-inspired apps on the App Store. The company is rejecting recently submitted apps with names similar to Flappy Bird and is demanding developers with existing apps to change the titles.

Flappy Valentine, a free Valentine’s Day-themed game that resembles the original Flappy Bird, recently changed its name to Flying Valentine. The game’s developer AMAXIM APPS told me Apple sent it a notice on Feb. 15 that said it must change the name of the game within 24 hours or else it might be taken off the App Store. Apple said the title violates its App Store Review Guidelines because it “leverages the titles of other popular games and misleads users to think the games are related.”

AMAXIM APPS provided an image of the request from Apple:

AppleFlappyValentinerequest

According to an interview with App Battleground, the developer of another Flappy Bird-inspired game, Flappy Bee, was sent a similar request from Apple to change its name within 48 hours. The app is now titled Jumpy Bee.

“2 days ago I received an email from Apple that forced me to change the name of the app and all the keywords because in their opinion it was leveraging the Flappy Bird name – which was not even in the App Store at that time,” the game’s developer Michal Kacmar said. “They told me I had 48 hours to update the game with completely different name and different keywords. The next day we fell 200 places down in the Top Free Apps charts”

“We feel like this was not really fair from apple and cost us 99% of the revenue and 99% of the number of downloads. We think that if the Flappy Bird-inspired games were in top charts that it meant that people want to play these kinds of games and that Apple should not decide for themselves what will be in top charts.”

Other apps, including Fly Birdie – Flappy Bird Flyer and Flappy Turtle, have also had their names changed, but it’s unclear if they were contacted by Apple. At the time of this writing, however, several games with “Flappy” in the title are still available on the App Store.  

It turns out, Apple is also rejecting newly-submitted apps for the same reason.

Noah Miller, who is responsible for the marketing and design of Fish Dash–which has not been published on the App Store at the time of this writing–told me Apple rejected the app last week when it was submitted under the name “Floppy Fish”.

“It’s all here. Same stuff that happened in the article happened to me and everyone else,” he said after linking me to a 9to5Mac story about Apple rejecting similar apps.

Flappy Dragon was another one of the affected apps, according to a Tweet from its developer Ken Carpenter.

The original Flappy Bird app, which rocketed to success months after its release, was removed from the App Store by its creator Dong Nguyen earlier this month. Nguyen said he took down the app because it was “addictive”. But the game’s popularity lived on through countless apps that use similar art styles and mechanics. A few of them have made it to Apple’s Top Fee Apps List.

Apple doesn’t commonly request name changes or reject apps this way. The app store hosts many apps with names that borrow from other popular ones, like Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja. I’ve contacted Apple about it, and asked what “popular games” it’s talking about in the notice it’s sending to developers since Flappy Bird no longer exists. I will update the post should it respond.

Source: App Battleground, MindJuiceMedia on Twitter

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