Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Just a heads up: Apple in their guidelines tell developers not to do that, and yet they do send some notifications advertising their products and/or services sometimes (recently for Apple TV+). They also do not police developers' notifications, so some developers abuse it. Just an example: I love Slopes and its lone developer deserves all the praise, and yet a week ago I've received an unwarranted ad for the paid subscription disguised as a notification... Not cool.





Hi, developer of Slopes here. Wait, what!? I do not use push for marketing (I hardly have a working push server). I haven't ever sent out any push notification for any reason (the recording reminders are local notifications, not server-side ones).

I do have a little in-app banner at the top of the logbook screen for messaging like prompting to create an account, or upselling premium, or other things. It has grey background, but its buttons are blue and it has a red dot on it so it doesn't look to clone the appearance of a system notification perfectly or anything (it isn't even pinned to the top of the screen or anything, where notifications come from). Maybe you thought it was a notification? But it can only occur in-app, on one screen, and is in no way a violation of Apple's ToS.

Edit: Screenshot of the in-app banner to aid discussion: https://www.dropbox.com/s/i3ib5pbfg5eid51/Screen%20Shot%2020...

Edit 2: The banner used to be all blue, which looked even less like a system notification, but I was worried it was too distracting from users' content so this season I opted for a grey background to help it blend in more.


Hey,

Sorry for the kerfuffle, I mean no harm to you, your reputation & your app. I wish I had screenshotted that. I remember almost reaching out to you on Twitter about it, but thought "hey it's the first one I'll let it slide". I vaguely remember it about the premium subscription, which I found odd. I was not pissed, just surprised. Was it push or local notification? I can't say if I can accurately tell them apart, in my opinion a notification is a notification. It was definitely not in-app as unfortunately I won't get to ride this season so I haven't opened the app in a year :( It was around Christmas or New Year IIRC

Also, I used Slopes as an example because it's the most recent one but frankly it's far from the egregious stuff others pull, especially Apple and the few other developers mentioned in this thread.


No worries, if I was a bad actor you'd be doing the right thing, and as many have already pointed out more often than not it is a bad actor. It's tough (trying to be) of the good guys not abusing the system chasing revenue at all costs, no worries.

I don't use local push notifications for advertising, either. I use them for A) location-based recording reminders created by users and B) notifications when a recording from the Watch is synced to your phone and ready to view, since that can take a minute or so if you're off wifi.

I remember one person reaching out shortly after the iOS 13 launch that I trigged the "Slopes has been using your location in the background" notification when I wasn't recording, which was an error on my side and I fixed that right away.

I did have an email or two go out around Christmas for a giveaway, so I certainly had some email marketing in play then. Maybe Slopes appeared in a notification from your mail client? But Slopes itself did not trigger any notification, push or local, for that campaign.


You can report it to Apple that the app is abusing notifications and give them a screenshot and they will action it. Before that, you can probably try reaching out to the developer with an email and an app review though.

Sadly the developer will play dumb and Apple will do nothing about it. Seen that, been there, nothing has changed ever. The only recourse is to disable notifications for that particular app.

I have emailed a developer in the past and they apologized and as far as I remember, I haven't had that issue since then. So I think it depends upon each developer.

For small apps it is possible I guess. Problem is that many large companies use this practice. I've tried to reason with The Fork and the French rail company to no avail for example. They know they don't risk anything by violating this rule and Apple has no high ground as they violate this same rule themselves.

That's fair. The one I emailed was a solo developer I believe. I think if enough people make noise about it (make a post on such apps abusing the system on /r/apple) and then send it to Apple, they will take action.

Apple is not allowing notifications in Safari browser iOS. Maybe For UX (they say) or differentiation for native apps (their P&L sheet says)

- Happy iOS user and web entrepreneur.


True! I'm glad too they decided not to implement web notifications, and keep to their word about it.

IMO the only way those notifications should be allowed to even be prompted for is after pinning a site to your home screen.

I’m not sure if iOS does this for any other permissions, but it would be natural to allow additional prompts for access to APIs that are otherwise banned - based on if the web app is pined / “installed”.


> I love Slopes and its lone developer deserves all the praise, and yet a week ago I've received an unwarranted ad for the paid subscription disguised as a notification... Not cool.

You just need to notify Apple that a particular App in the store violates their ToS.

I've done this before, and in a matter of a few days, the App is removed from the store, and the other apps of that dev are scanned for ToS violations. Then all other apps of those devs are removed from the store, and then the dev is banned from the store. If the dev wants to regain anything back, then they will have to go through a very expensive multi-month long process to achieve that.

Apple does not mess around, so I would reach to the dev of an App you like and use personally first, because the moment you notify Apple it will rain Hellfire.


I do not wish that upon any developer, especially small indie shops. So I'd probably do as you suggest.

However, I would also very much like Apple to lead by example and stop spamming its paying customers (anyone that bought an iOS or Mac product) with marketing notifications...


I'm really hoping Apple keeps a log of pushes, because they'll happily be able to tell you that the only pushes I send with Slopes are silent content-available notification for sync engine stuff. I have never sent any user-visible notification, and you're likely mistaking an in-app call-to-action as a push notification.

Apps that use push for marketing deserve hellfire, even if they are little indie shops. Being indie is no excuse for abusing things like push. We have to be scrappy, but we can do so without being spammy.


Apple should not have that kind of power, though. They have been wrong before.

Instead, the scrutiny and investigations should be public so that the developer can defend themselves.


> Apple should not have that kind of power, though.

Oh, but I’m happy they do

Also, notifications go via apple’s servers, you can’t really force them to deliver everybody’s notifications for free and without any discretion


Theses marketplaces require transparency, accountability, right to appeal, adjudicators, and so forth.

In other words, the rule of law and a fair impartial court system.


More details on that example of Apple breaking their own guidelines:

https://www.digitaltveurope.com/2019/11/04/exclusive-apple-a...


Especially with the last two versions of iOS, Apple has made it easy to turn off and change the notification types when you get a notification from an app. Almost all of my notifications are silent on my phone.



Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: