Throughout 2017, Apple made changes to one of their app review guidelines, Rule 4.2.6, that directly affected event professionals, altering the way that white-label, branded event apps are developed and delivered. The rule changes weren't directly aimed at our industry, but rather Apple updating their rules to better limit spammy copycat apps that were overpopulating the App Store.
Pathable Event Apps and Apple Rule 4.2.6
Though the continued changes with Apple Rule 4.2.6 will not affect Pathable’s ability to offer you high-quality, mobile event apps customized to your attendees’ needs as our products are architected to deliver to you a branded solution that is easy to use, easy to manage, and easy to find on the App Store. However, many of our competitor event app developers have made the decision to stop offering a branded solution.
Instead, they are insisting to clients and prospects that event planners must house their event app inside a “Master” or “Universal” app. What this means is that instead of paying for an event app is that branded to your organization and event, the app would instead reflect that developer’s branding.
As we've talked about a few times with you this year, we don't believe that the container or universal app is a good experience for your attendees. And if you're finding yourself in that situation, please contact one of our team to discuss your options or watch the on-demand webinar about Event Apps in 2018 that our CEO, Jordan Schwartz, recently recorded to help answer some of the most common questions and fears event planners have concerning these rule changes.
Last Apple Rule Changes for Event Apps for 2017
So why another blog post? To add one last twist for 2017, Apple announced some breaking news concerning changes to the App Store review guideline 4.2.6 mid-December.
The review guideline has changed to the following:
“Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected unless they are submitted directly by the provider of the app’s content. These services should not submit apps on behalf of their clients and should offer tools that let their clients create customized, innovative apps that provide unique customer experiences. Another acceptable option for template providers is to create a single binary to host all client content in an aggregated or ‘picker’ model, for example as a restaurant finder app with separate customized entries or pages for each client restaurant, or as an event app with separate entries for each client event.”
What Does This Recent Apple Rule Change Mean for Event Professionals?
This is not bad news. It just adds another step that event planners must be aware of. What the rule change now means is in order to have a white-label, branded app, you need to partner with an event app company like Pathable that is architected to build a custom event app or you will need to set up and maintain your own Apple iTunesConnect account to publish your event app.
This can be accomplished by working with your dedicated Pathable Customer Happiness Account Manager or managing the account through your own internal IT or events department.
Navigating Event Apps in 2018
To recap: you can keep your own white-label, branded event apps in the App Store through one of two ways: 1) continuing to partner with Pathable, as our event apps are architected in a way that allows you to have a custom, white-label app and/or 2) if you publish your Pathable event app inside your own Apple iTunesConnect developer account.
For our existing clients, already-published apps will continue to be available in the App Store. Our Apple representative has told us that they will continue to allow them to be updated by Pathable in the future.
Pathable remains your partner in helping you deliver the kind of exceptional attendee experience your participants expect. Contact us today with questions about your own event app or if you simply want to learn more about keeping a white-label event app for your conference or tradeshow.