iGarageSale – Mature audiences only???

We have received a number of questions wondering why iGarageSale has a 17+ mature content rating. The short answer if that iGarageSale provides access to garage sale postings from sites such as craigslist, and we have no control over the content on craigslist. Therefore, Apple requires a 17+ rating, and anyone who downloads our app will first be presented with this dialog:

Warning Dialog

In addition, our product description ends with the following information in the rating section:

Rating: Rated 17+ for the following:  Frequent/Intense Mature/Suggestive Themes; Frequent/Intense Alcohol, Tobacco, or Drug Use or References; Frequent/Intense Profanity or Crude Humor

The long answer is a bit more detailed…

When we originally submitted iGarageSale to Apple, we used a questionnaire provided by Apple to determine the rating. We came up with a 12+ rating, citing Infrequent Mature/Suggestive Themes and Infrequent Profanity/Crude Humor. Understand, though, that we were doing this to err on the safe side. We have yet to see a garage sale listing with profanity, crude humor, or mature/suggestive themes. However, it could happen and likely will at some point, so we thought a rating of Infrequent Profanity, etc. / 12+ would be safe.

Nine days after submitting our first copy of the app to Apple, we received a rejection notice by e-mail. The rejection notice stated: “iGarageSale 1.0 allows unfiltered access to Craigslist, which include frequent mature or suggestive themes. Applications must be rated accordingly for the highest level of content that the user is able to access. Please see the attached screenshot.” Here is the attached screenshot (if you’re concerned, it’s completely safe for work):

Screenshot from Rejection Notice

Fortunately, 8 days after resubmitting the same app with the 17+ rating, we got an approval notice from Apple. 17 days felt like an eternity to wait, but in the end, at least the app was accepted.

There is still concern, though, that the 17+ rating misleads potential customers on the nature of our app. On the one hand, Apple accurately determined that it is possible to get to a search box for all of craigslist within the iGarageSale app. However, the primary purpose of the app is to browse and search garage sales, and it takes a considerably more effort to get to a search box for all of craigslist, than it would to simply open up Safari and browse to craigslist.org.

Here is a quick visualization of how many steps it takes to get to a search box for craigslist:

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5

You have to open a garage sale listing, do a lot of scrolling, and finally click in the site path / “cookie trail” to open up the broader craigslist site. From there, you could conceivably look or search for anything on craigslist.

Curiously enough, there are a few craigslist apps in the App Store that have a 4+ rating (Thirsty Pocket: Craigslist) or a 12+ rating (CraigsMobileList, Craigs Ads – The CraigsList). Other popular apps provide search access to user-generated content sites, and also have a 4+ rating. For example, Quik Search Lite (search Urban Dictionary, craigslist, etc.) and Tweetie (infamously rejected for showing a swear word from a trending topic on Twitter).

In the meantime, we would like to hear from existing and prospective customers. For future releases of iGarageSale, would you like us to add more filtering and restrict the links that can be clicked within the app in order to try and obtain a 12+ or even a 4+ rating for our app? Or, would you prefer we leave the app as is?

UPDATE: The latest edition of iGarageSale only has the “Frequent Mature/Suggestive Themes” label. Still looking for feedback, though… Should we limit the apps capabilities, add filtering, and remove the 17+ label? Or, keep things as-is?

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