I recently submitted Judge Scrabby, a companion application to Scrabby (an anagram and Scrabble word finder), to Apple’s App Store. The application is very simple and, in my humble opinion, does one thing extremely well. Judge Scrabby simply tells you whether or not a challenged set of words are valid according to Scrabble game rules.
Here’s the main screen where a user can get a quick refresher on how to perform a challenge and where they can enter the words being challenged:
I figured in about seven days time I’d hear back from Apple with my approval and I’d be off on my merry way. But alas, life with Apple and the App Store is far from easy sometimes.
About five days after my submission I received a rejection notice from Apple stating that Judge Scrabby “contains objectionable content.” I thought to myself that this had to me a mistake. What could be so objectionable about a word verifier? Then I saw it! Apple was nice enough to include an attachment. I opened it and saw the two images below (I’ve censored the “u” for your protection and in an attempt to be less “objectionable”).
So there we have it. Some potty mouth at Apple entered a few expletives and deemed my app to be objectionable because the words happen to be valid Scrabble words. The funny thing is you can enter the very same words into, oh I don’t know, Safari. Give it a whirl and let me know what you get back. I’ve sent a few emails to the app reviewers pleading my case and I actually got one response. That was nice. Too bad their response boiled down to “please see our previous email.”
At this point I’m stuck unless I remove some bad words that a user has to type to actually see. But why should I have to do that? There are tons of apps in the store that accept these words and do much worse with them. Some of the apps have functionality similar to Judge Scrabby. Other popular dictionary applications, GASP, actually define the words. It all just feels a bit too arbitrary. Maybe I’m just being too sensitive about this. After all, I was born in a communist country.
You know I love you Apple. I can’t even begin to tell you how many people I’ve “converted” over the years (my favorites are the ones that say “there’s no way you can convince me to get a Mac”). I wouldn’t say anything if I didn’t care. It’s not about money in this case. Come on, seriously. Judge Scrabby might make enough for me to buy a handful of songs and apps on iTunes. I say this as a shareholder, user, developer, and occasional Trent Reznor quoter:
“Come on Apple, think your policies through and for fuck’s sake get your app approval scenario together.” NIN forums
Read more about rejected iPhone apps: