On TechCrunch, Chris Velazco has an interesting little post about iKamasutra, a Kama Sutra-based appbook that was pulled from Apple’s app store and Google Play for explicit material (which consisted of a few suggestive lines without much detail).
From my vantage point, [app developer] NBITE has complied with everything that Apple has asked of them (and more). Brown hair? Fixed. Potentially suggestive gray lines? Gone. So what exactly is Apple’s problem with the app now? Well, when Apple finally responded to the Cesur and the NBITE team, it was to say that there were too many Kama Sutra apps in the App Store.
The thing is iKamasutra has been in the App Store for years, and has racked up something like 8 million downloads in that time (Cesur tells me that it would’ve easily exceeded 9 million by now had it not been pulled). That there are plenty of Kama Sutra apps in the App Store isn’t really a question, and there are indeed plenty of lousy ones. There’s an argument to be made for good apps that happen to fall under that category though, and from my brief experience with it, iKamasutra certainly seems to be one of them.
Velazco raises the same concerns about subjectivity in the app review process that have dogged Apple’s app store for years.
And, though Velazco doesn’t mention it, this is not the first time that the Kama Sutra has caused trouble for e-book apps. In 2009 we covered Apple’s rejection of the Eucalyptus reader because it could download the Kama Sutra from Project Gutenberg. That e-reader was subsequently approved after Apple came to its senses, but it looks doubtful the same will be said of iKamaSutra.
The subjectivity of the app review process at Apple is still rather worrying. It’s one thing to reject outright porn, but what if you’re an edge case like this app? And why should there already being “too many” of a given kind of app be a criteria for rejection? But I suppose that’s just something app developers for Apple learn to live with.