Has Apple Killed the Events App Industry?

The rules have changed. Apple’s latest attempt to clean up the App Store and stop scammers and spammers slipping through the cracks might have dramatic consequences for the events industry. This is because Apple has introduced strict new rules for app submission that could potentially spell the end for white label apps — those cloned from a generic template with only minor cosmetic differences. Already, Apple has begun to quietly reject some instances of these apps, which are frequently used by events professionals.

What’s the problem?

The move is ostensibly to stop bots and spammers from flooding the App Store with identical products. The problem is that Apple have no way — or perhaps no desire — to differentiate between these more nefarious apps and those used by events professionals, which, on the surface, operate on the same principle.

The white label model has long been used to provide events with functionally identical, but individually branded apps. Having a unique visual style has previously been an important part of giving an event its own identity, while keeping attendees connected and up-to-date. They have become an indispensable tool for events managers. As a result of Apple’s crackdown on these white label apps, event technology professionals will have to find new and innovative ways of providing this service.

So far, details of Apple’s rule change has been relatively scant, and this is where much of the anger of event technology professionals is coming from. Apple has given a little indication as to exactly what kind of apps will be affected, whether there are any sanctioned workarounds, and what the standards are for app rejection and approval. To add to the confusion, some providers have noticed that only low-quality, ‘spammy’ apps are being rejected, while others have had all their templated apps affected.

What’s the solution?

First of all, events professionals should check with their provider to find out whether their apps are being affected. Secondly, it’s time to look at alternatives. Apple’s own advice is to switch from templated apps to universal apps that provides a single point of entry to multiple events. This is contentious, while some prefer having their events segregated and uniquely branded, others cite the efficiency of a single, universal app as a good reason to switch.

One problem with white label apps is that they have a negative impact on engagement. Although having a tailored app for each event can be good for highlighting the company’s branding, it is also quite exhausting for attendees to have to trawl through the App Store in search of a new app each time they have a new conference to a end. By replacing this with a single point of entry, guests only need to go through this process once, which significantly increases the likelihood of them using the app to engage with the event.

Furthermore, having a single, secure, universal app does not prevent partitioning, meaning that events could still have their own unique, branded spaces, with the added benefit of cross-event functionality. Not only would users only have to sign up once, but they would be able to pull information from earlier events, and maintain contacts between them. It’s a far more efficient, effective, and easy way to operate. The lives of developers would be easier too. Developers would only have to deal with one app, rather than updating and maintaining hundreds.

It’s even possible to improve networking through a universal app, mostly by maintaining a persistent profile led across multiple events. For instance, integrating attendees’ LinkedIn profiles would help guests stay in touch with new contacts, and build lasting business relationships. This is a functionality that’s lacking in a throwaway white label app, that doesn’t allow communication beyond the few days after an event.

How Eventogy can help?

Ultimately, this isn’t an unreasonable move on Apple’s part. The white label app policy model has been abused too often, and, from Apple’s perspective, the impact these new rules have had on the events industry is merely incidental. As a result, it’s important that events professionals adapt to the new reality. This can’t be a bad thing: as we have discussed in this blog, the additional efficiency and functionality of a universal app represents a much-needed step forward for the events industry.

With this in mind, it’s easy to see how Apple’s new rules can in fact be a great opportunity for developers and events professionals. Eventogy is always thinking of new ways to transform the events experience and efficiently deliver our service to our customers. To find out if Eventogy’s innovative solutions are right for you, contact our team here.

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