UPDATED: AppGratis launches online petition to protest Apple App Store ban

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AppGratis has launched an online petition in an effort to persuade Apple (NASDAQ:APL) to restore its iOS application discovery service to the App Store.

Apple ousted AppGratis--which spotlights premium applications offered for free or at heavily discounted prices and promotes "freemium giveaways" like free in-app purchases and level unlocks--earlier this month. Apple later explained the app violated iOS developer clause 2.25, which reads "Apps that display Apps other than your own for purchase or promotion in a manner similar to or confusing with the App Store will be rejected," as well as clause 4.6, which says "Apps cannot use Push Notifications to send advertising, promotions, or direct marketing of any kind."

Last week, AppGratis CEO Simon Dawlat issued an emotional response to the ouster, arguing that Apple removed the app without much warning while assuring users and partners the firm will continue to update its service. The petition, which went live this weekend, tells consumers they can convince Apple to reverse its decision: "In an official statement to the Wall Street Journal on April the 8th, Apple said we violated two of its iOS Guidelines. But we know we haven't," AppGratis writes. "Today we believe it's you, Apple's customers, who should have the final word. Today, you can speak up. Tell Apple that you think different." As of this writing, the petition has garnered more than 528,000 emails.

Conor O'Connor, CEO of discount hotel app Hot.co.uk, initially told TechCrunch that AppGratis has solicited payments from developers in exchange for promoting their apps, but later retracted his comments, issuing a written apology for any damage done to AppGratis' reputation.

Dawlat also vehemently denied O'Connor's allegations, stating AppGratis has never used "any shady and/or incentivized tactics to grow our userbase" and adding "We have clearly stated that we have never used any shady and/or incentivized tactics to grow our userbase. NEVER. NEVER. NEVER."

For more:
- read this TechCrunch article
- check out the AppGratis petition 
- see this PocketGamer.biz story

Related articles:
AppGratis CEO 'sad and scared' about Apple rejection, company searching for solution
AppGratis' competitors escape Apple's knife--for now
Apple yanks AppGratis discovery service from the App Store
Where do chart-climbing apps come from?
Apple boots AppShopper for violating new App Store guidelines
Apple slams the door on third-party app discovery services

Updated April 18 to note O'Connor's retraction.

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