Our vision was to utilize the iPhone’s superior distribution platform to empower users with an easy way to make positive social contributions. However, we received a call on last Wednesday (March 4th) from an Apple representative stating that a new policy is now in effect that prohibits apps from promising to perform any services beyond the application as well as any and all applications related to charity. The Apple representative said that this policy had been outlined in the SDK agreement. After a thorough search of the document, we were unable to find any reference to such services nor even the word 'charity' in the agreement.
We called back the Apple representative and when we asked to be forwarded an official copy of this official yet unwritten policy, the Apple representative declined and stated that he can only tell us over the phone. This person even declined to email us from an Apple email address to confirm that he worked for Apple. We wondered if this was legit, so we called Apple and asked for him via the front desk. He answered, so as far as we know he works there, but he won't confirm his role nor this unwritten policy.
Our dilemma is this, Apple is asking us to remove the promise to plant a tree from our marketing materials. However, it is hard for us to change our marketing materials in this way without changing the concept of A Real Tree. March 9th we talked again and told him that we will brainstorm about the ways in which we could conform to this set of unwritten policies. We asked to have a week to figure out a way to change A Real Tree to conform to these unwritten policies, but have been instead given only until the end of day March 10th. We asked again if we could have a week, then he said that he would talk to his management team. So far the app is still up.
photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/oregondot/3134019512/
Thus, we decided to reach out to our fans, customers and supporters, who understand the concept and value of A Real Tree. The more brains behind this, the more likely we will be able to solve the problem before the end of the week. Please leave your suggestions in the comment thread.
We appreciate the opportunity that Apple has given us with the AppStore and we would like to keep the opportunity alive.
At mokugift, we are just a few guys dedicated to helping the United Nations Environment Programme empower more people to easily plant a tree as part of their Billion Tree Campaign. Please help us. As a token of our gratitude, we will plant 100 trees for the first person that gives us the solution that allows us to stay on the App Store.
Special thanks to Darrell for the first suggestion: Apple chops down A Real Tree.