12 Replies Latest reply: Apr 26, 2012 9:02 PM by Sputnik Slim
Edgar Level 4 Level 4 (1,145 points)

Does anybody know the exact meaning of this idiotic guidelines.  It seems to be written by Apple layers with the same competence level as the guys responsible for the iBooks approval process.

 

6.1.8. Competing Website(s)

The book must not include references or links to a website that sells eBooks or competes with iTunes or the iBookstore.

 

"a website that sells eBooks or competes with iTunes or the iBookstore". Isn't that almost every other website on the freekin' planet that sells music, books or apps? By that standard I cannot even link to my own website if I sell my own stuff there.

 

I got a previous ticket when I had a link to my mp3 files on Amazon. I understand that and I'm cool with it. Direct competition "buy this there and not here". Apple doesn't want that, no problem. I corrected that and yesterday after almost 3 month my book was  approved and showed up on the iBookstore.

If I wouldn't have checked the iTunes Connect site for my other book (2+ month) I wouldn't have noticed that I got another ticket again on the first book that was made available just yesterday, but today it was yanked from the store. Who is running that joint over there, really.

 

Now they demand to pull the  Amazon link from my book, that goes to my Amazon "physical" bookstore" with all my other books that are not even available on the iBookstore. No Kindles version nothing. Since when is Apple in the printed book market. Makes no sense to me. If someone would have an audible book, they couldn't link to it either?

 

What is your experience about that link paranoia? Is any Amazon link a violation (because it is a direct Apple competitor) even if it directs to page selling underwear? How about all those  books about the Kindle, Nooks and Androids in the iBookstore, shouldn't they be in there either.

 

Thanks

 

Edgar Rothermich


Final Cut Pro X, Mac OS X (10.7), DingDingMusic.com/Manuals/
  • 1. Re: Amazon link issues - AGAIN
    MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)

    Edgar wrote:

     

    6.1.8. Competing Website(s)

    The book must not include references or links to a website that sells eBooks or competes with iTunes or the iBookstore.

    I suspect that phrase means whatever Apple wants it to mean when it comes to objecting to book based on the links it contains

     

     

    If I wouldn't have checked the iTunes Connect site for my other book (2+ month) I wouldn't have noticed that I got another ticket again on the first book that was made available just yesterday, but today it was yanked from the store. Who is running that joint over there, really.

    I suspect what may have happened is that there are automated tools that scour the contents of the store for keywords, links, and other things that are seen as undesirable and flags them. Then a person presumably looks at each flagged item to decide what to do with it. The link probably slipped through the review process and then was picked up by the tool.

     

    The other scenario is that the rules change periodically and that things are re-reviewed after a change.

     

     

    Now they demand to pull the  Amazon link from my book, that goes to my Amazon "physical" bookstore" with all my other books that are not even available on the iBookstore. No Kindles version nothing. Since when is Apple in the printed book market. Makes no sense to me. If someone would have an audible book, they couldn't link to it either?

    Did they really "demand" that you remove the link? Or did they just say that the book was pulled because it contained that link? (These are not the same thing.)

     

    At any rate, I'd recommend to hang onto that message, just in case. I believe it is only a matter of time beforre there will be some sort of class action (whether justified or not; any enterprise of that size with this much control will eventually attract attention, if only to test the waters).

     

    Michi.

  • 2. Re: Amazon link issues - AGAIN
    Edgar Level 4 Level 4 (1,145 points)

    MichiHenning wrote:

    Did they really "demand" that you remove the link? Or did they just say that the book was pulled because it contained that link? (These are not the same thing.)

     

    Nothing at all. Like I said, I found the new ticket by accident looking or my other book. Automatic email notification seems to be such a high level rocket science that it couldn't be implemented by the pre-school genius who setup that system. No notification that the book was pulled, no notification that there was another ticket. I have to wait for my customer to let me know that I have a broken link on my website.

    On a three month wait, checking in twice a day, how much time (= $$$) you are loosing besides the lost sales on time sensitive material.

     

    I wish there would be an automated system that flags any questionable phrases. Unfortunately everything points to the opposite. It seems that this aforementioned disgrace of an Apple employee who's is in charge of this operation, sends out daily memos to let the team know what the modus operandi will that day. (Maybe he was the head of the infamous MobileMe department)

     

    Does anybody know if the approval department is located in Cupertino or in Bangalore? Either way they should hand it over to Foxconn which might seem to have the right "work ethics" to handle such a high work load in a timely matter.

  • 3. Re: Amazon link issues - AGAIN
    MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)

    Edgar wrote:

     

    Nothing at all. Like I said, I found the new ticket by accident looking or my other book. Automatic email notification seems to be such a high level rocket science that it couldn't be implemented by the pre-school genius who setup that system. No notification that the book was pulled, no notification that there was another ticket. I have to wait for my customer to let me know that I have a broken link on my website.

    Yes, the process was clearly designed by imbeciles.

     

    You didn't answer the question though. Did the ticket "demand" that you remove the link?

     

    Michi.

  • 4. Re: Amazon link issues - AGAIN
    Edgar Level 4 Level 4 (1,145 points)

    This was the text of the ticket

     

    Apr 26, 2012. From Apple.

    Ticket issue: -Link to Amazon on page iii (About).

     

    Which is the technically the same as "the powers of the almighty Apple demand that you remove the Amazon link or we shall let you wait 3 month before we publish your book" ... wait a minute... they did that already.

  • 5. Re: Amazon link issues - AGAIN
    MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)

    Edgar wrote:

     

    This was the text of the ticket

     

    Apr 26, 2012. From Apple.

    Ticket issue: -Link to Amazon on page iii (About).

    Hmmm… That's not a demand though. That effectively says that the book contains a link to Amazon and was rejected for that reason. The publisher guide clearly states that links to a competitor's website will lead to rejection.

     

    Now, whether the guide is legally binding (or legal, for that matter) is as yet untested. Seeing that the content of the publisher guide is not part the contract with Apple, it seems at least doubtful, because the content of the publisher guide can change at any time, effectively (if not legally) altering the meaning of the contract.

     

    Which is the technically the same as "the powers of the almighty Apple demand that you remove the Amazon link or we shall let you wait 3 month before we publish your book" ... wait a minute... they did that already.

    Effectively, yes, it meanst that you either remove the link or accept that the book won't be published. Them's the breaks for the time being…

     

    Michi.

  • 6. Re: Amazon link issues - AGAIN
    K T Level 7 Level 7 (23,700 points)

    Now, whether the guide is legally binding (or legal, for that matter) is as yet untested.

    What matters is the agreement, not the guide. Once accepted, it's binding.

  • 7. Re: Amazon link issues - AGAIN
    K T Level 7 Level 7 (23,700 points)

    Does anybody know if the approval department is located in Cupertino or in Bangalore? Either way they should hand it over to Foxconn which might seem to have the right "work ethics" to handle such a high work load in a timely matter.

    Could be Ireland or Vancouver or Salt Lake or... Last I heard, Apple closed it's tech center efforts in/around India.

     

    Foxconn is a hardware supplier, so that's not going to happen.

  • 8. Re: Amazon link issues - AGAIN
    MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)

    K T wrote:

     

    What matters is the agreement, not the guide. Once accepted, it's binding.

    I agree, the contract is binding. But the contents of the Publisher Guide don't seem to be. The publisher guide is not mentioned in the contract, so it's not clear to me whether the guide is legally binding, particularly seeing that it can change at any time without consent from publishers (which the contract cannot).

     

    Pragmatically, the publisher guide is binding, of course, seeing that a book won't be distributed if it violates something in the publisher guide.

     

    Michi.

  • 9. Re: Amazon link issues - AGAIN
    K T Level 7 Level 7 (23,700 points)

     

     

    And I concur about Apple interpreting on the fly - the App Review Guidelines, while verbose, always leave the reviewers room to define and pick the one that most applies. They avoid getting into debates as well, but at least we have an appeal process and can talk to an engr. on the phone. In my experience, I've found their points valid once explained in a give/take session.

  • 10. Re: Amazon link issues - AGAIN
    Edgar Level 4 Level 4 (1,145 points)

    I'm still not clear on the exact interpretation of the wording:

    "references or links to a website that sells eBooks or competes with iTunes or the iBookstore"

     

    1) does website mean i.e. <amazon.com>. This is a website that sells eBooks, but maybe not on that particular webpage. So I can link to a amazon webpage as long as it offers/sells underwear (and Apple doesn't decide to start competing in that market segment too)

     

    2) How about my own website? So I can link to my front page "website"  <DingDingMusic.com>  that doesn't have a buy button. But when I link to my specific page "website" that sells my product <DingDingMusic.com/Manuals> then I violate the guidelines. On that page, I sell pdfs of my book. Are these considered eBooks and I'm in direct competition with Apple? How about the link on that page that links to Amazon (a reference that links to a reference that sells ...)? But I also have a link to Apple's iBookstore. Does that make the "wrong" "right" again?

     

    Do I have to hire a lawyer to interpret the difference between a website and a webpage in the legal context. I just wanted to publish some books and not get tangled up in this kind a bu....it legal mambo jambo.

  • 11. Re: Amazon link issues - AGAIN
    MichiHenning Level 4 Level 4 (1,350 points)

    Edgar wrote:

     

    I'm still not clear on the exact interpretation of the wording:

    "references or links to a website that sells eBooks or competes with iTunes or the iBookstore"

    I'm afraid that the wording is loose enough to allow you (or Apple) to pick any interpretation that is convenient

     

    For what it's worth, "website" is probably interpreted to mean "anything that has a particular domain prefix."

     

    Michi.

  • 12. Re: Amazon link issues - AGAIN
    Sputnik Slim Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I don't get it. What is there to not understand? What I read is that Apple does not want you linking to, or referring potential buyers to, a competing site like Amazon, etc to possibly buy your book. It's not a lot to ask, is it? I mean they gave you their software  for free and they (once your book is accepted) allow you to sell it in the Apple bookstore for a healthy profit. They also do the adverts to get people to the iBookstore. It just seems so simple, don't use your IBA book to try and lead customers with links to another site where they can buy your book instead of the iBookstore. Everyone knows going into the IBA process that you are creating a book for a closed platform.

     

    Do different versions of your book on the different platforms to get your book in front of Amazon buyers, etc. and then social blast your great book everywhere with links TO the iBookstore, Amazon, etc. and let it sink or swim.