RIM releases a BlackBerry App World Vetting Criteria document for developers

RIM releases a BlackBerry App World Vetting Criteria document for developers
By DJ Reyes on 12 Oct 2012 12:10 pm EDT

If you develop apps for the BlackBerry platform and submit them to App World, you'll know that the app needs to be reviewed this can happen. Within your BlackBerry vendor account there are guidelines to be found that gives you an outline for things your app should comply with but there was never any clear indication of why your apps could be denied.

Today that changes. RIM has released a BlackBerry App World Vetting Criteria document which lays out all the criteria needed to develop apps suitable for selling in App World. The five page document includes what kind of images are not acceptable, privacy guidelines, ads, functionalility and a whole host of other things.

So, before developing your app for BlackBerry App World, give the document a read to be sure it will get accepted.

Download the BlackBerry App World Vetting Criteria 

Reader comments

RIM releases a BlackBerry App World Vetting Criteria document for developers


I'm curious about something. Does RIM review the descriptions for an app before posting them? More often than not, the English grammar and spelling are atrocious. Doesn't make a good impression when you go to download an app and see poor language in the short introduction paragraph.

Well I actually think they *should* be the grammar police. Because it reflects poorly on RIM when they have AppWorld apps that look sloppy/unprofessional.

If we have to wait until an app becomes available on AppWorld before advising the developer that they don't know how to spell, the damage to RIM's reputation has already been done when people encounter that stuff.

This is a good heads-up for developers. Now, you know quality is wanted, more than quanity. Awesome for RIM to publish a document developers need and want. :D

I'm a developer with several approved apps. I read the vetting guidelines.... All pretty much standard common-sense stuff! RIM is actually very open to developers, much more so than Apple which has much tighter rules.

Go RIM Go!

It's censorship to the point that people should publish only web apps (on the web) rather than in the app stores, if they're all going to become like this. Imagine if computers become like this also! No freedom of publication, no freedom of utility. Corporations turning into legislatures -- but you don't get a vote in who's in office. What next? Can the car manufacturers have the cars decide where you may go? You can't for example drive down a street where there might be unlicensed peddlers selling bootlegged music or movies? You can't drive the car onto the lot of a competing dealership? You can only drive it to places approved by the Company? After all, it's their product and they get to decide how it's used, not you the buyer.

This will just drive developers and customers away from App World and onto the mobile web.

What are you talking about? Did you actually read the vetting guidelines or just commenting without any base or fact?

The guidelines are only 5 pages, easy to read.

RIM basically says what everyone agrees:

- app must work (no kidding)
- app description must be accurate (common sense)
- app must allow you to quit the app (duh!)
- app can't spy on your conversations
- no broken links or cause damage to battery or drain
- no drug/alcohol/illegal activity promotion
- no explicit sexual content, child porn, etc.
- no trying to get high ratings by "bribing" people
- no obscene or gratuitous violence
- no brand infringements or promote illegal downloading
- no spoofing apps, prank call/message apps
- no ROM/game emulators (most ROMs are illegally downloaded)
- apps that cost ridiculously high amount for no reason

... and a few more ...

Come on people, you call this censorship? Or maybe creating a secure professional mobile platform that we all want to share as a community in a safe way?

If you want all that crap above, go to Android and disable the security features to download from non-Google app stores. Then get virused, or do it on your PC at home. Not on my Blackberry!

There are several things in there that are nothing other than censorship of basic freedom of speech, freedom of the "press" (which was really meant in the constitution to refer to freedom of publication, not just freedom of news organizations), and also censorship of the free market.

i.e. "The app cannot mention any other smartphones, tablets, products, brands or store fronts." Great, so I cannot mention "also available for Android and iPhone" so they can share it with their Android and iPhone-toting friends. That right there is reason enough to do it via the web rather than as a native app.

RIM's motive is clearly to ensure that no-one can criticize RIM for what arrived on their BlackBerry from RIM's store. But the problem is that the corporation-turned-legislature is taking away some basic rights, since that will be the only place to get apps from on BB10. For example, your app could not express (in any way) your real views on a number of topics due to the restrictions, they could say "oh, that could be offensive or promote others targeting [whatever] for more criticism."

The same restrictions applied to books or music or even movies would result in many popular works banned, and would be condemned as censorship. But they feel free to apply such restrictions to apps, and people think that's OK?

Then we have, "Apps that allow a user to download torrents, binaries from Usenet, or files from a source that is high risk for piracy will be denied", and that's like your car manufacturer saying you can't drive it downtown because there's a high risk of bootlegged movies sold on corners. What if you wanted to go downtown just for dinner? Too bad, because of the temptation we can't risk letting you.

So RIM has become your nanny government, one where you don't have a vote. It's gone beyond banning illegal things, now it's banning anything that is often used for illegal purposes, and also moving on to banning anything that could be seen as possibly promoting an illegal purpose.

Big Brother is in your pocket... and you love him.

"Apps that enable a user to record radio stations", so Corporate Canada has now banned the tape recorder.

"Apps that enable a user to [save] audio and/or video from online websites", what if VCR's were illegal in some country, we would say it's oppressive government, right?

"Copycat apps which are identical to an existing app in either look, feel, or functionality", so now you effectively get a patent when you submit an app. What if someone else saw your beta, copied it, and published first? Your own original is now banned unless you have proof of originality -- unlikely. What about free-market competition? "identical in [...] functionality", that means I can't make a cross-platform messenger to compete with WhatsApp, they own the market. Also, the first dev who makes a Chess implementation on BB10 is guaranteed to own that market, no-one can compete. They fail to make any mention of, the protected app must be innovative, unique, and non-obvious. See what I mean about the company trying to make itself a legislature? RIM has usurped the function of the Patent Office... badly. In fact the irony is they are publishing many apps that are clear patent violations. So they ignore the real patents and invent their own.

"Primary function is to act as a marketing or advertising tool", that puts most free apps in technical violation, especially the free trials.

You all can do what you want of course, but for me this makes the decision to abandon native development for BB10, I will make HTML5 apps so that if App World bans anything I can still publish it as an offline app via the mobile web. Next I suppose they'll ban downloading web apps for offline use unless they're approved.

The one move by RIM that did really aggravate me in re: to app approval was when they removed/banned apps designed to track things like roadway speed-traps or traffic-cams.

I really don't think it's the business of the platform-owner to censor that stuff. It's not like they were using the app to build terrorism bombs or something - it's public information. It's like telling people they are prohibited from sharing information about which places have the cheapest gas prices.

So is there a clause in their new rules prohibiting speed-trap databases? :-0