iPhone App rejected for "Limited Utility"

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When a developer submits a "Pull My Finger" application, you've kind of got to expect it's going to be rejected. iFartz was rejected. Ibrate was rejected -- and that one was even raising money for breast cancer research. Today, over at Mac Rumors, I read about "Pull My Finger"'s rejection for limited utility. Right at the bottom of the rejection letter was the name "Victor Wang".

Mr. Wang has become a near legend for his rejection letters, usually long, delayed (I suspect he's second- or third-tier in the review process) and for aesthetic reasons that leave developers blinking with surprise. While "Pull My Finger" would probably not meet "Koi Pond" levels of user reach (here's our look at Koi Pond), it could have a solid audience. It's a simple, stupid joke app (notice how I'm not pulling punches here) but it's the kind of simple, stupid joke app that a lot of people would download and use because people like simple, stupid joke apps.

I've complained about this before, so apologies to everyone who has heard this point -- the next post is just a wee bit below this one, feel free to scroll -- but until Apple offers developers a firm set of guidelines, developers will continue to be ticked off by seemingly arbitrary rejections like this one. Apple is clearly refusing applications that fail the sniff test -- and yes, I know that's a little more apt a metaphor than this application deserves. "Pull My Finger" is tasteless. Apple should have rejected it for that reason, rather than pulling new reasons out from thin air.

Apple needs to step forward, and do so soon, with a clear set of guidelines that explain to developers exactly what to expect when they press that "submit" button for their new app. Developers shouldn't be wasting Apple's time with unpublishable software. Apple should not be wasting Developers' time with a secretive and arbitrary review process.

Update: The app's author has set up a plea-page

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