Apple has changed the rules for what passes as a valid app (Will Apple’s App Store New Guidelines Trouble Event Apps?) and has started removing hundreds of thousands of apps based on these new guidelines.
What this means: If your race has a light weight app that is basically content, or is created from a core app specifically white labeled for your race, then you are at risk Apple will remove your app from the App Store. (And good luck getting specific guidance from Apple on whether your app will ever be removed at some future release or in some random housecleaning they do.)
DoubleDutch has a very positive spin on this – Event Technology Just Took a Giant Step Forward (With a Little Help from Apple).
We’ve long known that the White Label Event App model (siloed, disposable apps for each customer) was not ideal. It was bad for attendees, overly complex for our customers, and inefficient and inelegant as a way to deploy software. Apple is now pushing mobile event app vendors away from the White Label Event App model towards a Slack or Gmail-like model; a single, secure, vendor-branded app that lives in the App Store containing all of the accounts and event instances within a single app (we’ll call this the “Universal App” model).
Of course, we have disappointed many race directors over the years declining to “white label” RaceJoy. We did this for a number of practical reasons:
- If we had 1,200 (the number of races who provide RaceJoy to their participants) white label apps for individual races, each time we had a release of the software we would have to upgrade 1,200 apps. And because there is so much functionality in RaceJoy and we continue on a very aggressive product roadmap, we have a lot of releases. The model would simply not be affordable or scalable.
- Runners expect more from an app than web pages – even if those web pages are split times on a course.
- This won’t be popular to say, but there are very few races who have the brand equity to afford the investment in a real app.
- Runners don’t want 1,200 apps.
One final word of caution – if you are using a vendor who is white labeling their app for your race, and you are doing a lot of promoting of that app – make sure it does not disappear from the Apple Store (and get that in writing from the vendor and from Apple).